Girls, boys, and in-betweens of the Jack-verse, I recently had the privilege of interviewing Annetta Ribken for the 12 Days of Creepfest. Are you scared? You should be…
AR: Yes. He’s in my flash fiction story titled, “Wickedly Smooth”, found in my flash fiction collection titled, “Not Nice and Other Understatements”. That story came out in one sitting, and I don’t think I even changed one word. I have no idea where he came from, and his psychotic, soft voice scared the ever-loving bejeezuz out of me. I was so deep when I wrote it, it was weeks before I was able to shake that feeling of horror, and I still get chills when I read the story even now.
JW: Do you prefer real-life killers or monsters? Which frightens you the most? Which do you prefer writing
AR: Do you mean as houseguests or visitors? Heh. They both scare me. Real-life killers scare me because you only have to pick up the paper or watch a new program to know they could be anywhere. Monsters scare me the most because ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE with the power of imagination. I can really scare the hell out of myself when left to my own devices.
JW: If you could choose one monster from the entire horror genre to have created, which would it be and why?
AR: Vampires. Because vampire characters have enjoyed a long, long life in the minds of readers through many incarnations. They’ve been depicted as scary monsters, comic heroes, romantic leads in both movies and books. They’re believable enough to scare the britches off of people and most are familiar with the mythos which means you don’t need a lot of backstory to explain to readers. My favorite vampire story of all time is Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot because he made me believe Danny Glick was actually hanging outside Mark Petrie’s window. It was totally realistic because he set up the logic of the vampire mythos so well. Asshole.
JW: Do you fancy your style of twisted reality and character to have been influenced by anyone one thing, writer, movie, etc?
AR: No, I can’t pin it down to any one thing, more a culmination of things. Life experiences, books, movies. If I were to choose one author who has influenced me the most, it would have to be Sai King because of the way he sucks you into a story, no matter the premise, through character.
JW: If you had to face down a killer or monster, which one would you rather NOT have haunting you in your nightmares?
AR: Dude, I am a chicken-shit, okay? You would never find me facing down a killer or a monster. I’d be hiding under the bed, drenched in sweat and other bodily fluids I’d better not mention, waiting to get eaten. The monsters that scare me the most are ghosts or other bodiless entities. Freaks me out.
JW: What has been your favorite means of offing a victim?
AR: I tend to lean toward sharp implements which rend and tear.
JW: Most of us have inner soundtracks for writing. What is your type of music to listen to when working on horror? Do you have a soundtrack that plays in the back of your mind?
AR: I guess I’m the odd one in the group because even though I am a music ho, when I work it’s usually to dead silence.
JW: Killers don’t speak in the standard rhythms and syntaxes as do normal humans. Do you have a favorite device to use for crafting the words for your killers/monsters?
AR: Well, I don’t know if it could be considered a device, but when I’m writing a killer/monster somehow I get inside their head and am able to tap into their particular voice. This is why writing “Wickedly Smooth” scared me so much. And actually, the more standard the rhythms and syntaxes for human killers I think the scarier they are, because you can’t tell them apart from normal people. And how scary is that?
JW: Do you ever kill off people from your real life in your books?
AR: I have been known to skewer a character or two in this manner. Heh. It’s quite satisfying, actually, and keeps me out of prison. So far.
JW: What upcoming project are you most excited about
AR: I am currently working on Book II of the Agean Trilogy, titled “Athena’s Chains”. I’m really excited because Pallas is such a blast to work with, and she’s got some big problems coming up. I’m also trying to eke out enough time to work on a trilogy of stories based on the Tarot with two close friends for a collection. And, there are several publications coming out soon I’ve had the pleasure to edit, and that’s always exciting.
Annetta has been writing since words were carved on stone tablets with chisels. Not only does she write her own words, Annetta is also an accomplished editor which means she gets to play with other people’s word, with their permission. She lives just outside of St. Louis with her evil feline overlord, a rescued shelter cat named Athena.
Synopsis: “No matter what it takes.”
As the front desk manager of a hotel on the edge of Zombietown, Pallas is used to dealing with angry centaurs, surly trolls, and zombie housekeepers. The trouble really starts when one of her guests ends up dead. But that’s not her only problem.
A cop with an attitude – can he be trusted to be more than just a pain in her ass or does he have a more sinister agenda?
A new Guest Services Manager, out for her job and ready to sacrifice anyone in his way – what does he really want?
The attractive maintenance guy, endangering the promise she made out of necessity to the Goddess Athena – does he know more than he’s telling?
A mermaid diva, whose show at the Sparkling Butterfly must go on – or else.
Pallas needs to find the killer, and fast, or she’ll lose her job, her home, and the ragtag family she’s adopted out of her crew of “critters”.
In the course of the investigation Pallas uncovers connections to a nasty Oddities dealer deep in the heart of Zombietown, forcing her to expose a trauma from her past which could threaten her future. With everyone and everything she loves in danger, the promise made to the Goddess Athena may well damn her if she breaks it, but she is bound and determined to save her friends, her home, and everything she’s built.
No matter what it takes.
Where to stalk Annetta: