Greetings from the Ether,
With the release of Hinnom Magazine Issue 006, we wanted to take a moment to spotlight some of the authors involved in the project. P.L. McMillan’s story “The Space Between” is a wonderful cosmic horror tale with a lot of mysterious intrigue. Join us as we dive into the crafting of the story, and what the future has in store for the author.
CP: For the readers who may not have read your first spotlight with us, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How you came to write horror fiction?
PL: Of course! I became immersed in the horror genre at a very young age – simply put, the thrill I got from a good scary story or creepy movie was addicting. I started out loving the simple ghost stories and urban legends that populated young adult horror, then stumbled on the Gothic and cosmic horror genres. To this day, I am still seeking out that thrill of a good scare.
Horror as a genre is so flexible. It’s a medium that allows complete freedom in experimentation. The mundane becomes sinister, the ordinary becomes untrustworthy, everything that shouldn’t be, can be. Horror can be dark and grim or silly and fun – it just doesn’t have some of the restriction other genres do.
So, I decided I wanted to contribute to the world of horror. I had my own ideas of fear and horror that I wanted to explore and share, and I’ve gone about trying to give those ideas life.
CP: “The Space Between” is awesome cosmic horror, which you have handled masterfully before with your tale “Godmouth” in Hinnom 002. This piece departs from the madness of “Godmouth” and instead focuses on more mystery and a hallucinogenic journey that becomes terrifying pretty fast. Can you tell us how it came to fruition? What inspired the story?
PL: I would say the two big influences of this story came from “The Damned Thing” by Ambrose Bierce and Lovecraft’s quote: “The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be. Not in the spaces we know, but between them, They walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen.” Both intrigued me. In Bierce’s story, two men are stalked by a beast that cannot be seen because it is of a colour that human eyes can’t perceive. With Lovecraft’s quote in mind, I explored the idea of what the spaces between space might be like, what form it might take if it appeared on Earth. So, with the combination of colours unseen and the landscapes that might exist between the very atoms we know, I came up with the Space. After that, it becomes just a classic story of exploration with a few cosmic surprises, of course!
CP: What all has happened since your last encounter with G&H? Any new stories or publications? Works in progress?
PL: I’ve had a couple short stories published, but I’ve mainly dedicated myself to working on two larger projects – an anthology and a novel – so I’ve not had much time for anything else. Sometimes I just can’t resist writing and submitting another story though, which is what happened when I saw the submission call for Hinnom 006.
CP: Do you have plans to, or have you already, branched out into other genres? If so, which ones?
PL: I have dabbled in science fiction and dark fantasy, but it seems that I can’t help but inject some darker undertones or themes in whatever I write. I’ve started projects, like a graphic novel I drew one summer and had published, that started with a playful and upbeat tempo. As I continued on with it, I ended up giving it a tragic ending – almost without realizing I was doing it. I suppose I just can’t help it!
CP: What do you think is the most important aspect of writing short fiction? What makes or breaks a story?
PL: By far, when it comes to writing short fiction, it’s vital to master your pacing. Short fiction is meant to be powerful, an uppercut in words, with no room for filler. Empty dialogue, extraneous characters, and meaningless events have no place in short fiction. Just as a poet must make every word have meaning in a poem, so too does a writer have to trim the fat from their story. Too much fluff and you lose your readers, period.
CP: What has been your favorite moment thus far, as a writer?
PL: That’s a difficult question! Having “Godmouth” chosen as the featured story in the Lovecraft issue of Hinnom Magazine was a big milestone for me because Lovecraft is such a huge influence on my writing so to have my cosmic horror accepted and honoured in such a way was an extremely amazing moment.
CP: We always like to end our interviews with a little tidbit of advice for the many readers who are writers themselves. Do you have any new advice for budding authors out there?
PL: One thing I struggle with and always have to remind myself is to celebrate the little accomplishments as much as the large ones. Be proud when you write something, anything, and be proud of it regardless of the word count. If you make the effort then you’ve done better than a lot of other people, who couldn’t even get themselves started. So be proud and keep writing.
P.L. McMillan is a Canadian expat living in the States, after having taught English for three years in Asia. She is a victim of a deep infatuation with the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Algernon Blackwood. To her, every shadow is an entry way to a deeper look into the black heart of the world and every night she rides with the mocking and friendly ghouls on the night-wind, bringing back dark stories to share with those brave enough to read them. Some of these chilling stories have been published before with Neat Magazine, Fundead Publications, and Sanitarium.
Thank you so much for stopping by. Make sure to order your copy of Hinnom Magazine Issue 006 and read McMillan’s cosmic tale, “The Space Between.” Check out our Patreon as well for some awesome rewards.