Charlotte Munro, C.M Maria: Lover of horror
Meeting the rising writer No. 28
Charlotte Munro has a specific interest in horror both as a writer and a reader. It’s through her journey that she has learned a great deal about what she wants, as a reader, in her writing, as well as what she needs from herself as a writer. She is from England, and she uses her pseudonym, C.M Maria to differentiate between her childhood publications and her current ones.
Today, Charlotte has agreed to a virtual interview with us from which we’ll learn a lot about what she says and does in her writing.
Charlotte Munro, however I am using a pseudonym of C.M Maria at the present.
What genre do you enjoy most, and what draws you to the genre you write?
I write primarily paranormal fantasy with horror elements. I enjoy reading something that is otherworldly, as it takes you away from the real world and for a moment, things are different. I add the horror element as I have grown up with a love for the dark and scary. Nothing beats an adrenaline rush of fear. Hiding behind your book, waiting to see what lurks beyond.
What is important to you about writing horror?
I know it is strange, but there is something about horror that I’ve grown up with. Having a childhood surrounded by bullying and illness, it was both the horror movies and horror books that got me through it. It is so different from reality that you can’t help but get lost in the frights and terror. Also, there is something quite therapeutic imagining those that have wronged you, on the delivering blow of a killer or demonic entity . . .
What do you expect from a horror novel, as a reader?
I want to be scared. First and foremost, I want to be creeped out and dare to sleep without the light on. Also I like the feeling of foreboding. That old abandoned house no one should step into? Okay, we’ll go there. I like the adrenaline rush of turning the pages and not knowing what’s going to happen to the characters.
How often do you read and how does that affect your writing?
I try to read at the very least a book a week. I feel that as a writer we need to have a break, get lost in someone else’s world for a while. If I read a good horror of a paranormal book, I’m trying to figure if I could use elements from it in my own. Be inspired by a flawed character that remains standing, when everybody else dies. Or a not so ordinary paranormal who has strange human quirks. I take inspiration and put my own stamp on it.
When did you start writing?
I started writing, what you would call “properly,” at 15, although I’ve written little stories in foldable paper books since I was five.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I read if I am not writing. I also spend a lot of time outdoors as I have a horse and a dog. I love the outdoors, the woods, the seaside.
What are you currently working on? How did you begin working on it?
I have been working on the Requiem City sequel, also dabbling with my paranormal romance WolfBlood and toying with the plot and story of an untitled project. My method is to get down a skeletal outline and fatten it up as I go. As long as I know the beginning, the middle, and the end, the rest manages to fit into place. I find sometimes ideas come to me but that is it, and I don’t know quite what to do with it so I store it in a large folder on my computer under “Ideas” and when I’m feeling like something new, I take one of the ideas and broaden it.
What is Requiem City about?
The Butcher is the first in my Urban fantasy series. It revolves around Felicia Hart, a paranormal detective working in Requiem City. She has had a trauma affect her both in her home life and her career. A promising rank riser, she was demoted to mere office duties after the death of her partner and husband. Felicia starts receiving notes from the serial killer that is plaguing the city, telling her who would be next. Taking parts of the paranormals, he had earned the title The Butcher. The city, fearing the Butcher goes into anarchy, and when her close friend, the mischievous faerie, Vanian Quill gets involved, she uses all her strength and power to defend him and find the real butcher, but when Felicia is up against her own police department, the city and her own feelings, who is really the killer, and how can she find him.
Give us insight to your main character. Who is he or she? What is his or her purpose?
Felicia Hart is what I like to call one of the nails in the wooden frame. Without her, the frame will fall apart. She wants answers and stops at nothing to get them. As much as she is a strong character and has a tough exterior she has started to have cracks form, which makes her appear more human in a world full of paranormal crooks, I like to think.
What inspires your writing?
Emotions. People’s emotions, my emotions. I can people watch for hours, just learning and being inspired. If that’s not working then I will go for a long walk as I find nature really helps, as well as being on my own.
What/who are your favorite or most reliable support groups?
I haven’t really had many support groups before. But, I will say with a huge recommendation that the Authors’ Tale group has got one of the best, if not the best, support systems I know. Everybody helps one another and is always there to lend a helpful ear and is so knowledgeable and friendly.
What is the biggest mistake you think you make while writing? How do you overcome it?
I write too fast and don’t read as I go along. I don’t go back and check my writing until I’m done and sometimes that hinders me. Especially if autocorrect has reared its head and changed some words, so that my piece doesn’t read well anymore. I’m trying to stop every few paragraphs and reread as I go now and it is helping.
Were you always good at writing?
I’ve always loved writing, ever since I was younger. I loved making up stories and would spend hours just jotting down, sometimes incomprehensible things, but it was the sheer joy of getting something down on paper, something I could read back and show others. I’ve always loved story-telling, and I hope that because of my love for writing, that I can grow better each time I finish a project.
What do you hope to achieve with your writing?
I long for the sense of satisfaction. The satisfaction someone feels when they’ve read a really good book. I want someone to feel and still think about my writing even days after they’ve finished it. I want to inspire others and help those get lost in a world where nothing is like the real world. If I can help make someone’s day better, that is my achievement fulfilled.
Which authors inspire you?
I am inspired by the classics. Shakespeare and Poe, but also Clive Barker, Richard Laymon, Chuck Palahniuk, Christine Feehan, and Anne Rice. Stephen King and R.L. Stein took me places when I was younger, and I am inspired always by them for that ability. It makes me strive for that.
Have you ever worked with a writer on a project?
No, but I would love to. I love the idea of one writer starting something and then passing it on to the other to write some and it becomes a chain, to and fro. I wouldn’t say no if someone suggested it.
Are you reading any books right now? If so, what are you reading?
I’m reading Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box and I’m enjoying it immensely.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Regardless what people will tell you, you are as good as you allow yourself. Never let those people talk you out of it and never let them win.
Do you have any advice you’d like to give other writers?
Please, don’t give up. I know it’s a tough journey. We throw things down, saying we’re done, but we’re never done. Not until the last word has been written, and there are plenty of words to write. Don’t give up.
What is your greatest fear?
My biggest fear is not being worthy. I always doubt myself because I’m not worth something to somebody, I live to make others happy and my fear is not doing that. I also have a phobia about walking on piers. I don’t do heights well and I’m not a great fan of the water.
BONUS QUESTION: Do you ever write your characters on a pier? If so, how does the scene play out?
This is a brilliant question. Because I have! There is a large, important scene on a pier in Requiem City. I made it a prominent feature as being afraid of them it works as a form of therapy. If my characters are managing to do a complete scene on a pier, then it can’t be all bad. The scene in question is at the end, part of a prominent fight scene in my story, but I also made the pier become quite a fixture in Felicia’s life. She had been there for a few of her firsts, her first love declaration, a love ending, and a proposal. It seemed right for the epic fight scene at the end happen at some place she has felt so many emotions. The same goes for me.