Today we're talking with Cynthia Morrison, one of the authors of Scary Story: An Anthology
FQ: First why the horror genre? What drew you to it, what keeps you coming back?
MORRISON: I was drawn to the Horror genre at an early age through Hollywood productions of Edgar Allan Poe and Jules Verne type stories. I love the suspense involved and the anticipation of what may be just around the corner.
FQ: Along the same lines, why short stories? People don’t appreciate just how hard it is to pull off a good short story. Do you find it more of a challenge, than say, writing a novel?
MORRISON: Not a challenge at all. I stumbled upon a call for submissions of short stories when I was searching theatre submissions. I am also an award winning Playwright. My short stories have received great interest and I do plan a novel in the future.
FQ: Before we talk about your story, would you tell our readers a little about how Scary Story: An Anthology came about? How did you get involved?
MORRISON: The publisher of Scary Story: An Anthology contacted me after she had read a work of mine on a literary website. I then submitted “Fire of Faith“ to her and the work was accepted to be part of her project.
FQ: Now on to your story, "Fire of Faith." May I first say that the story had a definite creep factor and I wanted to bat Morgan, the wife, over the head (this is a compliment to your writing!). It is truly a unique tale. Without giving too much away, where did the idea come from?
MORRISON: I hold a Baccalaureate degree in Theology. Therefore, having knowledge of the Biblical reference of the earth being destroyed by fire, I used this to create a phobia for the Doctor in my story. Also, my being a history buff I chose the Victorian era as my setting. I combined the fire phobia and the bizarre types of experiments for the possibility of human flight to escape the burning tragedy. Hence, Fire of Faith.
FQ: I found Morgan, the all-too-trusting wife, a very interesting character. As the title says, the story really depends on her faith. Faith in her new husband, faith in what he could do, that he would protect her and that she would be helping humanity. Why was she so trusting?
MORRISON: Morgan’s decision to be her husband’s “Guinea pig” was not entirely based on trust alone. She decided to hand him her trust based more on the decision of not wanting to lose her position as a Physician’s wife and all the social grandeur that is part of that status. She also considered her Family’s approval of the marriage and didn’t want to disappoint them. We must remember that Victorian era thinking for women was based on certain principles of an antiquated cultural society. At least Morgan’s “character” had thoughts along those lines. Basically, Morgan’s faith was spawned by her own fear of losing social status. Phobias are ever present within “Fire of Faith.” Phobias are found to be a strong factor within mad scientist tales as is desperation to find a means of ending the madness.
FQ: How much of Morgan’s decision was based on trust and how much was based on her belief that success meant an increase in social status and an “influx of wealth” ?
MORRISON: Answered above.
FQ: Edward, the husband and aspiring physician, was a rather selfish character, particularly since he was willing to put his wife’s life at risk for his experiment. Did you want your readers to dislike him?
MORRISON: Edward, in “his” mind, was not selfish. Edward is controlled by an over bearing phobia that stems from his childhood when he learned of the earth burning someday. I personally hold sympathy for Edward. His attempts, although deceptive through the eyes of normality, are actually driven by a psychological force that has altered his judgement. Then ultimately losing a loving wife and career due to his untreated state of mind.
FQ: You write about tendons, muscles, and use some medical jargon. Did you have to do research before coming up with Edward’s experiment?
MORRISON: Remnants of High school Biology class I suppose.
FQ: I see that you are a three-time International Jousting champion! Tell me how that has played a role in some of your writing? (I have 12 horses and would love to try jousting so I had to include this question!)
MORRISON: Twelve Horses?! Where do you find time for Interviews? So far I have only brought Jousting into a Poem and a Monologue. I have no plans on bringing it into a tale but one never knows what the future may hold.
FQ: I found your bio quite interesting, particularly since you are a woman of many varied talents. Writing, acting, film production, and composing musical scores to name a few. Wow! Do you have a favorite or do you like to jump around from one to another?
MORRISON: I simply attribute this to being an Artist. This has long been a part of my being in different areas. I am also a performance artist which involves being “the human firecracker” (igniting thousands of firecrackers upon myself while protected by leather), fire eating and knife throwing with human target.
FQ: Are you working on a new project? Another short story? Would you give our readers a sneak peek?
MORRISON: Yes. I recently finished a murder mystery! A short story based on my own experience of an attempt to wake a man who I thought was asleep on the beach but the Police announced his status differently. That was a chilling experience to say the least. Readers may stay tuned for “Lady Luck”!