An interview with Hannah Strom-Martin , author of “Father Peña’s Last Dance” (BLOOD SISTERS)

Blood Sisters (Night Shade Books), a brand new anthology featuring vampire stories by women, just came out this week, and throughout May, I’ll be posting interviews with a few of the authors!

Today, Please welcome Hannah Strom-Martin to the blog!

Will you tell us a bit about your story in Blood Sisters and what inspired you to write it?

I’d had a vivid dream about dead people dancing in a graveyard and I wanted to do something with that image but when I tried to think of a setting for said graveyard, all I could think of was old world European stuff—which obviously we’ve seen done before. Then, one of my friends at the Odyssey Writer’s Workshop showed me some pictures she’d taken in La Recoletta Cemetary in Buenos Aires. When she told me about strolling past the giant mausoleums while packs of feral cats ran between the tombs, I felt that would be a great setting for this story. As I did my research, the characters, theme, and inclusion of the tango all grew from that setting.

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?

First and foremost I want good writing–and vivid imagery that makes you feel like you’re there. Some of my favorite novels are The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, Possession by A.S. Byatt, and Winter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip. These are all authors with incredible narrative voices and, as both a reader and a writer I’m always looking for that voice that is going to draw me in.

Is there anything that will make you put a book down, unfinished?

Bad writing.

What do you enjoy most about reading, and writing, SFF and Horror?

I read and write speculative fiction because it delivers me from the mundane—but any good writing is going to do that no matter the subject matter. I really like horror because of its symbolic capacity. A house is never just a house. A demon is never just a demon. A dance is never just a dance. Horror is our dark mirror and it can be a fascinating look.

What’s next for you?

I’ve got a poem coming out in Mythic Delirium later in the year and I’m working on drafts of a high-fantasy short story and an urban fantasy novel set in my current hometown, Sacramento, CA.

About Blood Sisters:

Bram Stoker was hardly the first author—male or female—to fictionalize the folkloric vampire, but he defined the modern iconic vampire when Dracula appeared in 1897. Since then, many have reinterpreted the ever-versatile vampire over and over again—and female writers have played vital roles in proving that the vampire, as well as our perpetual fascination with it, is truly immortal. These authors have devised some of the most fascinating, popular, and entertaining of our many vampiric variations: suavely sensual . . . fascinating but fatal . . . sexy and smart . . . undead but prone to detection . . . tormented or terrifying . . . amusing or amoral . . . doomed or deadly . . . badass and beautiful . . . cutting-edge or classic . . .

Blood Sisters collects a wide range of fantastical stories from New York Times bestsellers Holly Black, Nancy Holder, Catherynne M. Valente, and Carrie Vaughn, and critically acclaimed writers Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and Tanith Lee, all of whom have left their indelible and unique stamps on the vampire genre. Whether they are undeniably heroes and heroines or bloodthirsty monsters (or something in between), the undead are a lively lot. This anthology offers some of the best short fiction ever written by the “blood sisters” who know them best: stories you can really sink your teeth into.

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