What was the inspiration for ‘Black Christmas’?
I’m a sucker for anything cute-scary. Fairies that suck blood, serial killers who fall in love, adorable monsters under the bed. “Black Christmas” was going to be a “nice” tale, but I just couldn’t keep the darkness out. I blame the black cat that sat, staring at me during the hour it took to write. The witching hour, I might add.
Have you ever written a character based on someone you know?
I haven’t. Most people I know wouldn’t inspire interesting tales. There would be a lot of golf stories. I have used my favourite pubs, past workplaces and national parks as inspiration.
Which character(s), created by you, do you consider as your masterpiece(s)?
All of them. I love all my characters equally.
Are you a plotter or a pantser when it comes to writing, or somewhere in between?
I plot every step of longer stories, but I let flash fiction write itself. Longer stories are like a main meal. I must make sure I get my three veg and protein. Flash fiction is like reaching into a bag of mixed lollies. True, that sometimes means you get those black jellybeans but some of us like that kind of darkness.
How do you find the editing process once you’ve finished writing?
I try to write a clean first draft so there is little editing to do.
How did you celebrate your first story acceptance/publication?
My first achievement was actually a short story contest. I placed third. My partner was so impressed, he bought me an expensive bottle of tequila. The decorative (empty) bottle now sits on a shelf like a trophy.
Do you find writing is energising or exhausting?
I have to choose one or the other? When it’s coming together well, writing is the ultimate high. When everything you attempt pukes out like gibberish… then not so much.
Do you think someone has to feel emotions strongly or be highly empathic to be a writer?
I think authors need to have a good grasp on logic. They need to know the right moment their character should cry or shout. Overreactions and under-reactions can drag a reader out of the story. Same goes for characters who are blind to the obvious for no reason other than it’s convenient to the plot.
How many unfinished stories do you have?
Too many to count, but I have a good excuse. When an idea hits, I quickly make a file and jot down the opening paragraph or two, so later, when I finally get a chance to write that story, I can slip right into it.
Black Christmas by GB Burgess features in Tall Tales & Short Stories Volume One.