Interview with Krystal Garrett

Krystal Garrett

What are cemeteries like in the USA where you live?

Most headstones here are rectangular,  made of marble or granite. In some cemeteries, the headstones sit above ground, in others, they lie flush with the ground.

Do you know where your ancestors are buried? Do you visit their graves?

Although I know where my ancestors are buried, I do not visit their graves as often as I should, and I plan to change that.

I have an aunt who passed away as an infant and, to save expenses, was buried in the same plot as a great aunt of mine.  Now that our family have the money to bury her separately, we cannot, because other family members do not want to disturb our great aunt’s final rest.

There is no headstone for the infant, no inscription, nothing. Unless word gets passed down through oral tradition to the next generation, nobody will know she is there.

How would you like to be buried?

The idea of being buried in a casket six feet under the ground for all eternity terrifies me, so I want to be cremated.  I would like my ashes to be sprinkled in the oceans and mountain tops.

Have you ever been to a haunted place? What was it like?

Our town has a famous haunted graveyard: Greenwood Cemetery. People claim that ghosts still hang from trees there. 

One Halloween, we took a tour of the cemetery in the middle of the night to get a glimpse of those ghosts.  Did I see any? No. However, there was a creepy feeling about the place, and my senses were alert, screaming at me all the time not to look over my shoulder. 

I did look over my shoulder. I didn’t see anything, but the creepy feeling never left.

What scared you when you were a child?

Dolls, especially porcelain dolls. I stayed the night at a friend’s house one night and she had a room full of them.

Four or five of us were sleeping in that room, surrounded by creepy porcelain dolls wherever we looked. We all woke up in the middle of the night at the same time… and saw that the dolls had moved! Not just one or two of them, but every single doll in the room.

They were motionless now – but they had changed their positions and locations. Their lifeless eyes and pale faces stood motionless watching us with their blood-stain coloured lips.

Had one of the kids secretly moved the dolls while the others were asleep? Naturally, they all denied it, and I believe them.  How could a child move all the dolls in the entire room around, acting in full darkness, without waking at least one of us?  I have no rational explanation.

I still don’t own a porcelain doll and never bought one for my children.

As a reader, what kind of short stories you enjoy most?

I enjoy horror short stories. Any kind of horror really. I appreciate it all from gothic to gory.

What do you like about the Horror Genre?

Being scared. Hands down.  I enjoy that.

Who are your favourite Horror authors? What do you like about them?

Stephen King. He is able to portray the darkness of humans in his work. He focuses his work on neighborhoods where we should feel safe. He keeps us enthralled in the writing, waiting until the danger strikes.

How do you go about research for the fiction you write?

As a paramedic, I have a pretty good idea of the limitation of the human body so I apply that when writing a gory scene. If I need to know anything else, for example, how an officer would react in a certain situation, I interview people who have experienced this.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on a creepy horror novel about a dark curse on a witch, inspired by a dream I had. 

Do you ever wander around cemeteries, read the inscriptions on strangers’ headstones, and wonder what their lives were like, how they died, what families they left behind?

When I was a child, my mum and I used to walk around and talk about the people we thought were buried there. We were always  a little sad when we read the headstones that belonged to children.

Has a real-life cemetery, grave or headstone ever inspired you to write a story?

Whenever my mother and I visited the cemetery, I was intrigued by the widow’s chair. It is said to bear a curse:  whoever sits in it will die exactly one year later.  I’ve never put this curse to the test, but it has inspired me to write a story about someone who is brave enough. The story is not finished yet.

What scares you? 

Spiders! They are the only thing that has the power to terrify me. When I see a spider, my heart speeds up and I lose the ability to function as a normal human. What if this eight-legged creature crawls on me  its tiny legs tickling my skin and its fangs feasting on my flesh? After a bite from a brown recluse spider my skin will first redden, then turn bluish black with  ulcers, then rot away… The thought paralyses me with panic.

What are your literary influences?  

I have always been a huge fan of Stephen King and Dean Kootz. As I ventured into short stories, I came to admire Rayne Hall and how she uses the environment around her to create stories. I never knew that Gothic Horror was a subgenre of Horror until I took a writing class and was introduced to her work.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

It was a writing contest entry. I’m a paramedic, and I  wrote my story from the perspective of a paramedic, showing how the job makes us susceptible to so many deadly things. It didn’t win, but I learned so much that I could use to improve my next story.

Describe your writing voice.

My author’s voice is creepy, thrilling, suspenseful, scary, and a little bit magical.

For your story ‘1999’ in the book Among the Headstones: Creepy tales from the Graveyard, where did you get the inspiration

I gained inspiration from a scary story I heard as a child. The story involved a painting of a cemetery. Every time someone walked past the painting, a deceased person began crawling out of the grave.  The story ends with the zombie coming through the painting.

I wanted to create a story that brought to life the idea that maybe we aren’t as safe walking in a cemetery alone at night as we think we are.

Thank you, Rayne, for facilitating the interview!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Krystal Garrett lives in Midwest USA with her husband and three daughters. Her love affair with horror began as a child when the good guy doll, Chucky, graced her TV screen. She loves all things horror. She is a paramedic by day and a writer by night.

ABOUT THE BOOK

This book, edited by Rayne Hall, presents twenty-seven of the finest – and creepiest – graveyard tales with stories by established writers, classic authors and fresh voices.

Here you’ll find Gothic ghost stories by Robert Ellis, Lee Murray, Greg Chapman, Morgan Pryce, Rayne Hall, Guy de Maupassant, Myk Pilgrim, Zachary Ashford, Amelia Edwards, Nina Wibowo, Krystal Garrett, Tylluan Penry, Ambrose Bierce, Cinderella Lo, Nikki Tait, Arthur Conan Doyle, Priscilla Bettis, Kyla Ward, Edgar Allan Poe, Paul D Dail, Cameron Trost, Pamela Turner, William Meikle and Lord Dunsany who thrill with their eerie, macabre and sometimes quirky visions.

You’ll visit graveyards in Britain, Indonesia, Russia, China, Italy, Bulgaria, Thailand, USA, Australia, South Africa and Japan, and you can marvel at the burial customs of other cultures.

Now let’s open the gate – can you hear it creak on its hinges? – and enter the realm of the dead. Listen to the wind rustling the yew, the grating of footsteps on gravel, the hoo-hoo-hoo of the collared dove. Run your fingers across the tombstones to feel their lichen-rough sandstone or smooth cool marble. Inhale the scents of decaying lilies and freshly dug earth.

But be careful. Someone may be watching your every movement… They may be right behind you.

Purchase Link: mybook.to/Headstones

The ebook is available for pre-order from Amazon at the special offer price of 99 cents until 31 January 2022. (After that date, the price will go up.)  A paperback is about to be published.

33 thoughts on “Interview with Krystal Garrett

  1. meryem7turkmen says:

    I have very similar memories with my rag dolls. Although they were certainly not creepy at all, I was frightened by them in several incidents. And out of all the toys, it is nearly always the dolls who manage to be part of a paranormal childhood experience. Those innocent and cute-looking faces are supposed to entertain us, but they can give us nightmares. Maybe, as children, we put too much meaning on our little friends and our subconscious decides to use it against us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree! It didn’t help as a child that there are so many movies of those little things coming to life. I just can’t shake the fear. My children are much braver. My middle daughter begged for a long time to have her own good guy doll.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Talha Efe AY says:

      Maybe dolls are a much more common childhood fear because they do look like us, and for a child, it might be harder to separate them from reality.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahmet Sencer Alpay says:

    I had a cousin who passed away as an infant and buried with my grandpa because of similar reasons. I learned it when i was 15 and probably next generations of our family won’t even now he existed. I think being forgotten even by your family members is like a horror story itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is sad to think about. A lot of my family is moving out of state and I definitely worry that Janet will be forgotten. Thank you for sharing your story! I always thought we had to have been the only family to do that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ahmet Sencer Alpay says:

        Same problems in seperate continents. You did not forget about Janet and now we also know her story same goes for my cousin Kursat. Even our families forget, at least the internet will remember them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ahmet Sencer Alpay says:

        The thing is that, it was out of my mind for the past years until I read Janet’s story. It is actually possible for his parents and siblings to add a second tombstone now but you know how people are. I hope i will have a chance in future to do so.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lana says:

    Your story with the porcelain dolls gave me chills. I’m still terrified of them, although perhaps, it has to do with the number of horror movies that use them. But I remember going on a tour around a theater, and they had a room full of dolls. Mostly, there were puppets used for performances, but they had a lot of pretty porcelain dolls as well, some big, some small. Half of the adults in this tour were creeped out.
    The widow’s chair now intrigues me, too. Have you ever seen it in other cemeteries or was it only a thing in yours? I’m so curious how the legend came to be. Will be waiting for a chance to read the story, as well as your part in the anthology!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Lana says:

        Oh, do you travel a lot? Do you visit cemeteries in different places? It would be such an interesting hobby to collect legends and spooky stories in cemeteries all over the world!

        Like

  4. Marvellous says:

    I guess there will always be tales about dolls and their paranormal activities. Funny how they are meant to be little play companions. I wonder what they think of their reputation.

    How did you deal with your first contest entry not being selected? Where you bummed? Did it affect your enthusiasm to write?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was a little bummed that it wasn’t selected. After I received my review of the short story I understood why it wasn’t and that motivated me to work harder at writing and story telling. I placed the story in a folder and plan to visit it again and hopefully see it printed.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was a little bummed that it wasn’t selected. After I received my review of the short story I understood why it wasn’t and that motivated me to work harder at writing and story telling. I placed the story in a folder and plan to visit it again and hopefully see it printed.

    Like

    • meryem7turkmen says:

      I appreciate your determination. We all need that. Most of the time, after having negative feedback, we are prone to think “okay, maybe that’s not my thing” and give up, while we could just try to improve ourselves and gradually (the keyword here) be better.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The thought of being buried six-feet under terrifies me as well (even tho I know I’ll be dead and won’t feel a thing by that time), I prefer being cremated as well. Getting your ashes spread unto a plant in which your loved ones can take care of is sweet for me. I love that your job as a paramedic is helping you with your writings, it does help when you have knowledge about things firsthand. I’m also a big fan of Stephen King and he’s my favorite horror writer of all time!! Your story ‘1999’ sounds intriguing, would love to read it when it comes out!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Talha Efe AY says:

    I used to suffer from paranoia, and I remember that every time I turned my back to a doll(it could be a mannequin, a porcelain doll, you name it) I felt like it would start moving and try to harm me. Thankfully I’m over that fear now, but I still feel a little uncomfortable turning my back to any kind of doll. I guess we all have a fear like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Talha Efe AY says:

      I just noticed that you mentioned you are a paramedic, now that makes me wonder, does your work have an influence on your writing?

      Liked by 1 person

    • senceralpay says:

      It is not easy to overcome a paranoia, you must have tried so hard. There is nothing better than to be free of a burden as heavy as that.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. akikda says:

    There is definitely something creepy about dolls. No wonder so many people feel like that about them. I remember having few dolls as a young girl and disliking them very much, while I loved my sweet stuffed animal toys.

    Thank you for the great interview. I am looking forward to reading your story in the anthology.
    Diana atanasova

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for the interview. It was nice to find out more about the author behind “1999”.

    Reading “Among the Headstones” I was surprised by how Krystal’s story just slowly crept up on me as it unravelled to a scary but satisfying conclusion.

    Also, my grandmother had some old dolls (not porcelain though). When we were young, my sister and I used to play with them without a worry. It was only years later that the dolls seemed weird looking.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lana says:

    Reading all the comments about dolls and how scary they are, I’m curious if any child has ever genuinely loved them. I know a few children that are okay with them, but usually, everyone’s more fond of plushies. Does anyone here know kids that like dolls more?

    Liked by 1 person

      • meryem7turkmen says:

        We all love plushies because they are so cuddly, and they don’t have human-like appearances. But I used to love my dolls even more than plushies back then, no matter how much they scared me sometimes. I just always wanted a toy-like creature to be my friend. Guess all those movies about dolls coming to life were the source of my interest.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lana says:

        Thank you for your reply! I guess I was too quick in my assumption, then. I just googled costume dolls, by the way, and they look rather cute (although I wouldn’t keep one in my bedroom). How did you start collecting them?

        Like

      • If I have always loved dolls, these were small and dressed – some like Disney princesses or book characters, so… I love them and I could afford buying them.

        Like

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