Indie Horror Month 2022 Q&A: Author Christi Nogle discusses writing her new novel BEULAH and her upcoming collection THE BEST OF OUR PAST, WORST OF OUR FUTURE
A young woman who can see ghosts discovers that her little sister is also attuned to the supernatural in Beulah, the new novel by author Christi Nogle. With Beulah now available in pocket book and Ebook from Media Cemetery Gateswe had the pleasure of finding Christi in a new Indie Horror Month Q&A feature to discuss his debut novel, working with Joe Sullivan at Media Cemetery Gatesand she also talks about her next collection The best of our past, the worst of our future.
You can read the full Q&A with Christi Nogle below and learn more about Beulahto visit Gates of the Media Cemetery!
Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions for us, Christi, and congratulations on the recent publication of your new novel, Beulahnow available from Media Cemetery Gates! When did you get the idea for Beulah?
Christi Nogle: Thanks for contacting us!
I guess the first ideas of Beulah I came back to college when I first tried writing fiction. I wrote difficult characters like Georgie in Beulahand I always wanted to give them more time to grow and develop, but at the time I barely understood how to approach a short story and didn’t trust myself yet to start a novel
About how long did it take you to write Beulahand how many drafts did you go through before it was sent to the printers?
Christi Nogle: The book lasted about four years, but that might be a little misleading to say since I was also writing a lot of short stories during that time. It only took two complete drafts. At the end of 2017 for NaNoWriMo, I wrote a draft of a book called Beulah, but it was very different from the current novel. In 2019 and 2020, I rewrote the book entirely, one chapter per month, alongside members of my writing group who were more accomplished novelists. I finally submitted it for publication in early 2021.
Beulah is now available in print and eBook via Media Cemetery Gates. How has it been working with Cemetery Gates Media to bring Beulah in the world?
Christi Nogle: I am grateful for the smooth working with Joe Sullivan at Cemetery Gates Media. I submitted to their first open call for early horror novels (which should be reopening soon), received an offer, reviewed the contract and signed, reviewed Joe’s edits, offered ideas for coverage, approved coverage, and that was pretty much the extent of the process. They made it easy for me as a beginning novelist, and I would recommend others check out CGM. They also do a range of anthologies, collections from the likes of JAW McCarthy and CW Briar, and novels from more established novelists such as Gemma Amor.
The superb cover of Beulah was created by Luke Spooner at house of scavengers. What was your reaction the first time you saw Luke’s work for Beulah?
Christi Nogle: I’ve long admired Luke Spooner covers and artwork, and so when Joe mentioned him among a few other artists who could do the cover, I was excited — and absolutely thrilled — about the finished cover. Beulah is set in an old stone schoolhouse in a small town in Idaho, and the focus is on the setting. Vibrant colors and rugged textures perfectly capture the area. I love the paranoid feel of the image – Georgie hovering, walking away from everyone and everything, then the menacing ghosts (or are they judging townspeople?) staring at her. I also love how distinctive it is – I never have trouble telling it apart from a collage of other covers.
Beulah is your first published novel (in addition to having written many short stories in your career). What did you learn through the writing process Beulah that you could apply to future projects?
Christi Nogle: It’s good to start over. The standard advice is to write a draft, then keep working to refine and edit that draft. That’s solid advice most of the time, but with this book plus some short stories, I wrote a draft or partial draft, then put it aside and rewrote the article entirely. It sounds daunting, but it’s also very liberating to realize that a work can be redesigned and not just polished.
In writing Beulahwere you influenced or inspired by other books, movies, tv shows, comics or video games?
Christi Nogle: I revisited old favorites while writing Beulah. I think it was about asking myself, Wait, what is a novel again? What makes a novel work? These questions led me to re-read Shirley Jackson The Haunting of Hill House and We have always lived in the castle, by Stephen King Pet sematary and the brilliant, and many other older favorites that had something of the vibe or atmosphere I was working towards. Even when I wasn’t re-reading certain novels in full, I often skimmed through them trying to remember what I liked about them.
During the time I worked on BeulahI was also reading new books by authors such as Stephen Graham Jones, Silvia Moreno Garcia, Gwendolyn Kiste, Grady Hendrix and SP Miskowski and trying to keep up with all the great fictional short stories from places like Grimscribe Press, Undertow Presse, Nightmarish Magazineand black static. I am sure that all these readings have also inspired me in more subtle ways.
Your new collection, The best of our past, the worst of our future, will be released in 2023 by Flame Tree Press. What kinds of stories can readers expect to see in your next collection?
Christi Nogle: The best of our past, the worst of our future is a comprehensive collection of my best horror and weird stories. They are all contemporary, although many of them have a gothic touch. They focus on my main concerns such as haunted places and ghosts, psychological horror, unreliable narrators, existential terror, disturbing places, the weird and the surreal. I’m thrilled to be working on this book with editor Don D’Auria! A few stories have already appeared in Flame Tree anthologies, so it seems the work fits well with what the press is doing.
What is your writing routine? Do you plan to write a certain number of words or hours per day, or do you just write whenever you can?
Christi Nogle: It works best for me to draft in the evening, usually on the living room couch with the TV on and my giant dogs sleeping on either side of me. I try to write a thousand or more words a day, but it doesn’t always work out that way. If I’m really involved in a story, I can also write in the morning, but I usually set aside time in the morning for activities that don’t require as much concentration, like editing, reviewing, and submitting stories to magazines. Of course, if I have ideas while I’m on the go, I’ll try to jot them down, usually on my phone.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Christi Nogle: As a long-time teacher and HWA mentor, I like to give a lot of advice (see detailed information for new writers in the “Get Started” area of my website), but if I can offer just one suggestion: try to make meaningful connections with other writers. You can socialize with them, give and receive support and advice, read each other’s work, and more. It’s so motivating to see their career progress alongside yours.
Are there any other projects you are currently working on that you can tease for our readers? Also, where can our readers go online to catch up on your work?
Christi Nogle: I’ve got quite a few new stories coming up and I’m writing a new novel – kind of a psychedelic cult novel centered around a group of middle-aged friends – titled All My Really Good Friends.
I also work as an Associate Editor on the Horror Fiction Podcast PseudoPod and as co-editor with Willow Dawn Becker for the Weird Little Worlds anthology Mother: Tales of Love and Terrorwho will receive submissions from April 15 to May 15, 2022, details on the submissions page.
I am active on Twitter @christinogle and likes to follow readers, writers and artists. You can learn more about Beulah and read many of my short fictions, or listen to the podcast stories, at http://christinogle.com
Thank you very much for your time, Christi!
Christi Nogle: Thank you for this opportunity! I really appreciate that.
To go HERE to catch up on all of our Indie Horror Month 2022 features and to learn more about Beulahto visit Media Cemetery Gates!
Beulah synopsis: “Beulah is the story of Georgie, an eighteen-year-old girl with a knack (or affliction) for seeing ghosts. Georgie and her family have struggled since her father’s death, but she and her mother Gina and her sisters Tommy and Stevie get a fresh start in the small town of Beulah, Idaho, where Gina’s wealthy friend Ellen sets them up to help renovate an old stone schoolhouse. Georgia experiences a variety of disturbances – the town is familiar from the dreams and she seems to be experiencing her mother’s memory of the place, not to mention the spooky ghost in the school basement, but she is able to maintain, at her terse manner, until she notices that her little sister Stevie also has the gift of a malevolent ghost, and Georgie tries to help, but soon Georgie is the one in danger.”