This time we talk with Yawatta Hosby, who wants to tell you about the things that go thump in the dark.
Who are you? Where are you? What kind of stuff do you write?
Hi, I’m Yawatta Hosby, a sassy leo, a quirky INTJ, a creative soul. I like keeping people on their toes, which gets me into trouble sometimes ha ha. I live in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, and I write dark and creepy stuff. The monsters in my books are always human.
For those who don’t know the lingo, what’s “INTJ”? And how do you think that impacts your life as a writer?
INTJ means I’m very introverted, always in my head. I’m curious about everything and go out of my way to explore all answers. I like to think outside the box, and I’m always seeking the truth. INTJ means I’m a determined strategist.
Being this way definitely impacts my writing. It makes me write in a straightforward way, perhaps too fast paced. I’m not emotional, so I rely on my critique partners and beta-readers to let me know when my scenes lack emotional drama or when a character is acting too calm during a situation when they should be upset, depressed, happy, etc.
Tell us about your most recent book, story, or other project.
I published Twisted Obsession, which is a dark suspense novella. Miki traps his ex, Finia, into having a baby with him. The more she refuses to love Miki, the more he lashes out. He believes Finia is the perfect woman and Jahlin is the perfect son. He’ll do anything necessary to get his happy ending.
In what genre do you primarily write? Why did you choose that one?
I primarily write in the horror genre. I chose it because it’s fun to scare myself. I get inspired by my fears, so I can relate to my characters. I absolutely love slasher films like Wrong Turn, Scream, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The more bloody gore, the better. When I write my stories, I always think in terms of what I’d like to see on the big screen.
I always have a hard time defining “horror” as a genre – what does it mean to you? Where’s the dividing line between fiction about bad people doing bad things and horror?
To me, horror means the book scared me to death. It gave me chills or it disgusted me (in a good way). The dividing line between fiction about bad people doing bad things and horror is horror will bring out the fear in you. Horror will give you nightmares or force you to keep the lights on. Fiction about people doing bad things can be suspense, thrillers, or crime fiction. It’s scary or creepy, but it doesn’t really go there in terms of being offensive or frightening.
When I watched The Strangers with Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler, I had nightmares for two weeks and was afraid to answer the door if someone knocked. The Strangers is horror. Fear with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Wahlberg was an awesome movie. Mark played an awesome villain. In fact, he creeped me out, but I didn’t have nightmares afterwards. I’d label Fear as suspense, a movie about people doing bad things.
Tell us briefly about your writing process, from once you’ve got an idea down to having a finished product ready for publication.
I have two notebooks–a book of observations and a story ideas one. Whenever I get an idea, I write it down. I usually work on multiple WIPs at once. I’m addicted to notebooks, so each story gets written in its own notebook. I don’t attempt to type anything in Google Docs or Microsoft Word until I write ‘the end.’ This helps me stay in writing mode, turning my inner-editor off.
After my story is typed, I revise it. Then, I get feedback from critique partners. I keep making rounds of edits until I’m satisfied after listening to beta-readers and an editor. My first two books I had a line by line editor. With Twisted Obsession, I took a chance with a developmental editor. She was worth every penny, making my book a creepy one to the max.
What did your developmental editor did that surprised you or really make you say that was the right decision?
My developmental editor Monica loved my Chapter 29 of Twisted Obsession. Some of my beta-readers had urged me to change the ending, but Monica said what happened to the son had to be done. She suggested I add scenes to make Miki a even more vile, creepy, demented villain. Monica really pushed me to keep the dark and twisted mood throughout the novella.
Who is the favorite character you’ve created? Why?
My favorite character is Rae from my debut novel, One By One. I felt so bad for her. She watched killers torture her parents right in front of her face. Ten years later, her brother asks her to visit their vacation home, seeking closure. She’s depressed and withdrawn at the beginning of the book, but learns to toughen up and fight back towards the end.
What’s the weirdest subject you’ve had to research as a writer that you never would have otherwise?
The weirdest subject I’ve had to research was if there’s a death penalty in Ireland. I have a story idea where a little girl grows up to find out her dad was a serial killer. He’s not dead like her family told her. He’s actually rotting away in prison. It makes sense why she has certain urges.
So? Do they have the death penalty in Ireland? I think I know the answer, but . . .
Ha ha, they don’t have the death penalty in Ireland anymore. I believe it was abolished in 1964.
What’s the one thing you’ve learned, the hard way, as a writer that you’d share to help others avoid?
Writing takes discipline and hard work. You have to set a writing schedule and protect your writing time. Trust me, the people in your life will test you! I’m a fast writer, finishing a first draft within a month and a half. But, I’m a slow reviser. I lack motivation during this stage. Maybe because it’s a lot of pressure to get the pacing and flow of the story right. I urge writers to find motivation when creating projects. Writing doesn’t have to be a lonely activity.
Do your schedule your writing so that you write for a specific amount of time or do you try and reach a certain quota each day?
I schedule my writing so that I write for a specific time. I find that I’m more productive in multiple fifteen minute increments throughout the day.
If you won $1 million (tax free, to keep the numbers round and juicy), how would it change your writing life?
That would be grand! I’d quit my 9 to 5 and write full time. I’d travel the world to become a traveler blogger for a while, then I’d share my short film scripts with local actors, or anyone interested in the production side of things to direct my own films and put up on YouTube. Hopefully small indie projects would help land me a staff writing position for a popular tv show. Once I got tired of LA (if that’s even possible!), I’d buy a vacation home in Maine so I could focus on writing novels.
I’d go to writing conferences and wrifing retreats. Since I’m shy, I’d pay for a writing buddy to go with me. Somewhere in this fantasy, I’d focus on creating comics and graphic novels too. If only money could buy more hours in the day ha ha.
What’s the last great book you read or new author you discovered?
I really enjoyed Homesick by Richard Simms. He had a way of bringing his characters to life with their narrations. A family moves into a house with a dreaded history. A history that repeats itself. A history that shows no mercy.
What do you think you’re next project will be?
My next book will be the sequel to One By One. It’s called Six Plus One. In the first book, Detective Brown vows to keep his daughter, Alta, safe. He can’t keep that promise. Alta and her friends take a road trip to Green Bank, West Virginia. The quiet town with no WiFi known for its satellite used to find signals from extrasserials. Filming their alien-centric web series in the woods should be an in and out situation, but a killer has other plans in mind. The crew of Aliens R Us disappears–not from the town’s legend.