An Interview with E. Catherine Tobler, author of “The Threshold of Waking Light” (GIALLO FANTASTIQUE)

Giallo Fantastique edited by Ross E. Lockhart will ship in May, and I asked if we could do some spotlights on some of the authors and their stories. The authors, and editor Ross E. Lockhart kindly complied. I’ll be posting these throughout April to get the buzz going, so keep an eye out for more this month.

Today, please welcome E. Catherine Tobler to the blog!

gialloWill you tell us a bit about “The Threshold of Waking Light” and what inspired you to write it?
I wrote a story set in an alternate-universe Chicago; think mobsters, automats, the 1930s and 40s, but it’s also a world that is literally black and white. Colors exist, but in their own realm. Only shine girls can access this realm. Mob bosses have taken to using shine girls to mark people who’ve broken their laws–marking them with color. I didn’t explore as much of the world as I wanted to, so kept writing.

In “The Threshold of Waking Light,” Our Hero, Kasper Mack, is tasked with bringing a shine girl to his boss, but all the while, he’s under the influence of a strange woman named Alethea, whom he absolutely cannot explain, but needs to if he wants to live (and save the world, of course!).

Have you always wanted to write? Will you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I have written since I was a teenager–it definitely started by accident, with a story I wrote in my sophomore year of high school. I needed extra credit to pass the class, so was offered a story to write. I wrote it (it was terrible, about mummified rats coming to life and eating people in a museum), and was transfixed by my teacher’s horrified reaction. From then on, I wrote. I think being raised as an only child–except for summers when I was forced into visiting my brother/other family–shaped a lot of my approach to writing; understanding conflict and solitude as just two sides of the same coin.

What do you like to see in a good story, and what authors or novels have influenced you the most in your work, and your life?
I like stories with beautiful prose–Alice Hoffman, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jason Gurley, K.M Ferebee, Shirley Jackson. I like stories where women are shown as being fully human, fully capable. If I had to point to one specific influence, it would be Ray Bradbury; he showed me a thing could be beautiful and could still knife you in the gut when you least expected it.

What do you enjoy most about reading, and writing, dark fiction?
Reading–no matter the genre–feeds my muse. I’m not sure how well I would write if I didn’t read a lot, and broadly. (Not sure how well I would write, either, if I didn’t argue with friends over what we read, too.)

What’s next for you?
A trip to Paris! Oh wait, that’s alternate-universe me. This me is continuing to write in the Victorian steampunk Paris/Cairo world I started in Rings of Anubis. I’m also (always) working on a handful of new short stories, and keeping my fingers crossed about a couple things I can’t yet talk about.

Keep up with E. Catherine Tobler: Website | Twitter

About Giallo Fantastique:
An anthology of original strange stories at the intersection of crime, terror, and supernatural fiction. Inspired by and drawing from the highly stylized cinematic thrillers of Argento, Bava, and Fulci; American noir and crime fiction; and the grim fantasies of Edgar Allan Poe, Guy de Maupassant, and Jean Ray, Giallo Fantastique seeks to unnerve readers through virtuoso storytelling and startlingly colorful imagery.
What’s your favorite shade of Yellow?

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