This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.
Morgen Knight is an award-winning horror/thriller writer whose short stories have appeared in numerous publications. She is a mother of two, lover of the macabre, and enjoys vampire hunting. You can find her in Kansas City writing short stories and her novels. Her short story “Lessons of My Brother” appeared in our inaugural issue. You can read more of her work at her website (morgenknight.wordpress.com) or on Facebook.
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3288 Review: How did you get your start writing? Was there a particular event or moment which inspired you?
Morgen Knight: Since childhood I’ve always been reserved and demure—Holding a lot of things in. Writing is an escape for that. It lets me live any way I want, say the things I couldn’t, and in some ways control the outcome. My whole life has had events that fuel my writing. They say “write what you know” and that’s exactly what I do; I just fictionalize it. I grew up writing my feelings instead of expressing them, and now I convey them through fiction.
3288 Review: Your story “Lessons of My Brother”, has a strong feeling of being drawn—at least in part—from “real life”. How much of your work is created by fitting personal experiences into a new narrative? Or to ask it a different way, do you use your work to explore what might have happened if some part of a real-world event had happened differently?
Morgen Knight: Absolutely. Almost all of my writing is drawn from some kind of personal experience. I believe that it adds feeling and tension to the narrative. It makes stories more relatable even if the plot isn’t something a reader has been through.
3288 Review: You are also a successful horror writer. Is that your primary genre? And what are some stories have you published?
Morgen Knight: I write mostly horror and thriller genres. But that’s the fun thing about writing I get to intertwine genres. I mixed in a love story, or a little science fiction in some. No matter what genre an author writes you can always mix in other genres and have an amazing story. I think it makes the story more dynamic.
There are many of my short stories published online and in print. My story blog has most of my previously published stories to which I have regained rights.
3288 Review: Are there any writers or stories which are particularly influential, or which you turn to for inspiration?
Morgen Knight: Reading any book or story, well written or not, always gives me a little inspiration. I can always take something away from what I am reading and make it influential in some way. It could be an idea that I like, or a writing style I enjoy. There’s always something you can take away from a story once that last page is read. But my favorite authors, and the ones I turn to often, are Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, John Steinbeck, Marisha Pessl, Nick Cutter, and Pierce Brown. When I am in the mood for something light I read Charlaine Harris.
3288 Review: What drew you to the horror genre? And are there particular types or sub-genres which you prefer?
Morgen Knight: I’ve been in love with being scared since the age of eight when I watched the original Children of the Corn. I just couldn’t get enough. I would sneak watching horror movies, or anything that got my adrenaline going. It’s an oddly fun, strange addiction. The quickening of the heart rate, wanting to look away but for some reason you just can take your eyes off the screen (or page). Then coming away from that experience and you can’t stop thinking about what a rush it was, like seeing something unexpected out of the corner of your eye. Any genre that keeps me on the edge of my seat is thrilling. I enjoy a good love story as well, but if I had to choose, I’d always go with the thrill first.
3288 Review: Given that you try to draw your ideas from real life, and you are a successful writer of horror and dark fiction, how do you go about constructing one of your stories? Do you take an otherwise mundane real-life situations and ask “What if something went wrong here?” Do you invent a story and then imagine what real-world people would do in that situation? Or is there another process you prefer?
Morgen Knight: A little of both. Sometimes I just let my mind go and see where the story will take me; kind of like watching a movie in your mind. I enjoy thinking of a twisted plot then adding human reactions, thinking about how far I can take this character and how much they can change.
3288 Review: What are you working on now? What’s the next piece you will be releasing to the world?
Morgen Knight: Next month I have a story being published in an anthology titled Love Hurts. My story “Alice” is pretty dark and somber. I am working with my literary agent to polish up my manuscript for it’s debut release. Anyone call follow me on Facebook and you’ll get updates and new story releases from me when they become available.