Down with the Sickness and Other Chilling Tales: Author Interview

Author Interview

Book Title: Down with the Sickness and Other Chilling Tales

Author– Gabriella Balcom

Interviewer: Blaze Goldburst


1) How was your experience in writing the book “Down with the Sickness and Other Chilling Tales?”

I’m a pantser, meaning I don’t plan or plot out my stories. Rather, things “come” to me as I write. Sometimes my characters pop into my mind fully-formed and I just know them. Other times, I envision scenes, conversations, interactions, etcetera. My book is a collection of short stories—all horror/fantasy—and each person I’ve written about is quite real to me. Writing their stories was amazing!

2) What is the future of Horror Fiction? Are the stories from the book, “Down with the Sickness and Other Chilling Tales”, inspired by real-life events?

Horror is a popular genre, and I believe it will have a great future, too. People love it for any number of reasons, including experiencing shivers and fear, having temporary escapes from reality, and knowing they’re safe while focusing on things that might be disturbing. Horror can be cathartic and helps individuals look beyond the known or obvious.

None of my stories were drawn from reality, but some of my characters’ personality traits were.

3) How was your journey to becoming a published author? What struggles did you undergo?

I wrote all the time when I was younger, but stopped when I went to college; school, work, and then marriage and children kept me busy. Divorcing my husband and dealing with single parenthood had me even busier. But ideas had always flooded my mind, and I reached a point in 2012 where I couldn’t hold them back anymore. They poured out of me as if floodgates had been opened. My writing was cathartic at first, but turned creative. In 2018, I wondered if I could do something more with my writing—maybe even earn money with it—and I joined my first Facebook writing group. I discovered a submission call, wrote two stories for it, and hired my first editor. I submitted my works and one of them, “Bobby—You’d Never Guess” was accepted for A Contract of Words. My second, “Suzie’s Wish,” later came out in Athena.)

Since then, I joined other writing groups and began to regularly submit stories for anthologies and magazines. I’ve had a total of 360 pieces accepted for publication, and every single acceptance has thrilled me.

My greatest struggles have revolved around not having as much time as I’d like to work on my writing, needing money for things like editing and book covers, and dealing with personal family issues (One of my sons married an awful woman who pushed him to do everything—everything—while she lazed around. He worked his behind off while she did practically nothing. They have sons together, but he eventually learned she was cheating and had been for years. He tried to kill himself several times, and we’re still dealing with the fallout.)

Overall, though, my writing journey has been rewarding. I’ve met wonderful publishers, have a great editor, and I’m proud of all the books in which my work appears. I feel truly blessed.

4) How do you deal with haters in the Book Industry?

I’m happy to say I haven’t met many haters. However, I once encountered a woman trying her hand at “editing.” She failed to edit the story I sent her, but wanted full payment. Needless to say, I never used her so-called services again. On another note, I learned of someone who didn’t think much of one of my works. I doubt he read it fully, because his opinion included things that weren’t even accurate. Overall, I’m happy to say that most of the people I’ve encountered have been amazing and supportive.

5) What message would you like to give to your potential readers?

I’d like them to know many things exist in the world that can’t be explained. Karma is real. Miracles occur. Terrifying events do, too.

I hope you’ll purchase my book, and I believe you’ll enjoy my stories.

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