Author Interview – E.J Dawson

More From This Author

Story Art Sneak Peek

Amazing Artwork By Daniela Rivera

"The Promise"

Anthology: The Devil Who Loves Me
Release Date: June 23rd, 2023
Preorders: Paperback | Kindle
About the Author: Beginning a writing journey with an epic 21 book series, Ejay started her author career in 2014 and has taken on the ups and downs of self-publishing with her fantasy series The Last Prophecy since 2016. At the start of 2019, she put the series on the backburner to write Behind the Veil in 25 days, and signed a publishing contract for the gothic noir novel to independent publisher Literary Wanderlust. She resumed self-publishing a scifi series, Queen of Spades released across 2020 and 2021, as well as signing another contract with Literary Wanderlust for NA fantasy, Echo of the Evercry. Believing in more than one path to a career in publishing, Ejay pursues self-publishing alongside querying traditional publishers with multiple manuscripts.
Q & A

How does it feel to have this story published for the first time?

This story covers a lot of bitterness and betrayal and finding faith in things that everyone else left behind, or were afraid of, which I found very validating when Grendel accepted the story. It's my first fiction short story acceptance, and there has been a lot of emotion over the last few days. Elizabeth's voice was very specific to this story, she almost wanted to be a novel but wasn't, so I'm very happy Grendel have made a home for her.

What inspired the idea for your story?

This story almost snuck up on me. Initially a friend and I were writing short stories around Halloween and I wanted to do something darker but totally unplanned, and I happen to love old houses with secrets. The slow and twisted wreathes of family history untangled in a way I didn't expect, Elizabeth's voice strong and careful, but ultimately very bitter and disillusioned about her world. Hungry too, which was a surprise but worked with the elements of her life and what she was going through.

We know that writing can be a tumultuous journey with a lot of obstacles, what is your kryptonite as a writer?

Rejection. As an autistic writer I often find that despite applying myself very diligently, it can be a gut instinct as to whether an editor is going to like your work. The "no" to one story may be a "yes" to others, and it's nothing against me as a writer, but sometimes that's hard to see. Last year I got a tattoo of a monogram of the alphabet, with an infinity symbol and semicolon to help bring clarity to my writing journey, to remind myself that I'm made of infinite stories.

Clearly, you’ve succeeded at writing a captivating story for GrendelPress, but we all start somewhere. What advice would you give yourself as a young writer?

Become comfortable with criticism of your work. Your own thoughts and other peoples. Listen to feedback, and know it isn't about you as a person. Learning to improve as a writer can give you a lot more confidence, especially because it can be hard trying to get published. This is where you can learn to break the two apart - publishing is a business, and writing is something you love doing. We can be good at one, and not the other. Getting that support and feedback, those rejections or editorial letters, they're all lessons we can learn on how to be better writers.

We’d like to argue that every good story makes both the author and the readers feel something. What perspectives or beliefs have you challenged with your story?

That not every being that haunts a house is evil or sad. So many of the stories we hear about hauntings and ghosts and things imply that there is a malevolence. An evil. In this story it is the living who are the ones who were wrong, and it wasn't some great tragedy or sin that caused the family strife. That the being itself holds no ill will, no hatred of those in the house, of the family it's sworn to protect.

What do you love most about your story’s genre?

Since I was a teenager and found my mother's bookshelf of murder mysteries by MM Kaye and romance by Mary Stewart I was drawn to dark romance, but I'd also held my own fascination with haunted houses. I grew up in a house on the edge of an abandoned mine, surrounded by pine forests (unusual for Australia), with the neighbors owning huskies who'd howl at the moon. I didn't fall in love with romance per se but the dark, the paranormal, long lost secrets and everything gothic. There is a lot to explore in these stories as they tend to be gentle too, in pace and flow, which I love to immerse myself in.

Tell us about your favorite author. What about their book(s) call to you and how do they inspire your own writing?

My favorite writer is Sir Terry Pratchett, but that's just as a reader. I love his work for the frank manner he brings complicated circumstances and simplifies them in a way that teaches, and makes you snort into your tea with giggling. As a writer there are so many new voices that are absolutely ensnaring me with their words, to name a few Al Hess, Natania Barron, Bethany Mangle, Hayley Reese Chow, J. Elle. As a writer I admire their talent with words a lot, and it encourages me to keep writing.

What are some other genres you’d like to break into and why?

Science fiction would be wonderful. There is a serious lack of female scifi writers and especially ones who write disabled science fiction. Its been good in the last few years to see more of it, and I definitely have more autistic stories I want to tell across science fiction but also fantasy.

If you had to pick another story of yours to share with your readers, what would it be?

If you like the atmospheric and dark of my writing style, you may enjoy Behind the Veil, a gothic thriller set in 1920's Los Angles. It's about a psychic who uses her gift to give closure to grieving war widows, but finds herself getting involved with a family who's daughter is slowly going insane. She will have to choose between saving the girl, and risking her own sanity tangled up with her dark past.
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