This is my final poet's interview from the final issue of Doorways Magazine (#8):
Interview with Corrine De Winter
Corrine De Winter's poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared worldwide in publications such as Poet's Market, The New York Quarterly, Imago, Phoebe, Plainsongs, Yankee, Sacred Journey, Interim, The Chrysalis Reader, The Lucid Stone, Fate, Modern Poetry, Bless the Day, Heal Your Soul, Heal the World, Get Well Wishes, Essential Love, The Language of Prayer, Mothers And Daughters, Bedside Prayers (now in its 18th printing) and over 900 other publications. She's had four Pushcart Prize nominations and received The Esme Bradberry Award, The Madeline Sadin Award, The Rhysling Award, and the Bram Stoker Award as well as honors from Triton College of Arts & Sciences and Writer's Digest. Some of De Winter's 9 collections of poetry & prose include Like Eve, The Half Moon Hotel, Touching The Wound, The Women At The Funeral, and Tango In The 9th Circle (Dark Regions Press). Ms. De Winter is a member of HWA (Horror Writer's Association) and a resident of Western Massachusetts. Her latest release is Virgin of the Apocalypse (Sam's Dot Publishing).
STEPHEN M. WILSON: First off, I would like to thank you for being one of the guest judges of Doorways Magazine's annual poetry competition.
CORRINE DE WINTER: You're welcome. It was good to read some of the new work circulating, and tough to choose the winners!
WILSON: Do you remember your first exposure to poetry?
DE WINTER: I was in high school and was really into the 60's culture- a wanna-be hippy, wearing black bell bottoms, mirrored shirts and painting my nails black. So, Dylan Thomas was one of the first poetry books I sought out in the library. I'm embarrassed to say that I tore pages out of the book, "Wild Child" was one of them, I had a huge crush on the long dead Jim Morrison. The lyrics I was into were like poems to me. I then discovered Auden and Conrad Aiken and other more modern poets. Other modern influences include Warren Ellis and Nick Cave.
WILSON: To horror?
DE WINTER: I don't know what exactly inspired me about the horror world at first, but I remember writing a ghost story in 4th grade, and doing all my book reports on witchcraft and the paranormal. I loved to read old horror comics and was fascinated by a trip to Salem when I was little, and the mock trial at the museum. I liked old B&W horror movies, how gothic they were, and romantic too. I would help my brothers build those models of Frankenstein and the Mummy, and we would put on little shows in the cellar. My mother was really into séances and the Ouija board. I was a teenager when I saw Rebecca, a Hitchcock movie written from Daphne Du Maurier's book of the same name. Her work really inspired me to write.
WILSON: You seem to be well read in the classics; What were some of transformative writings which inspired you to want to write?
DE WINTER: Well, all of Du Maurier's books, the poetry of Auden and James Merrill, among others. Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Grey had a profound effect on me- I felt I was learning some dark, supernatural lessons about life and it was a little frightening. Those characters are still hanging around me.
WILSON: That's a favorite of mine, too, and one you don't hear mentioned often.
DE WINTER: Yeah, I'm always surprised when other writers & people I talk to haven't read it. But I think a lot of the new writers haven't read things like Dracula or Frankenstein.
WILSON: Who are some of your contemporaries that you like to read?
DE WINTER: I love Patrick McGrath, Asylum in particular. I just read Lisa Mannetti's The Gentling Box, and it was fantastic! I really admire Charlee Jacob, Neil Gaiman, lots of the new comic book writers, F. Paul Wilson, Peter Straub, Bruce Boston, D.F. Lewis.
WILSON: What are your thoughts on God?
DE WINTER: I think The Bible is full of great horror stories and supernatural anecdotes. I don't know what God is, if it is everything around us or one being. I do believe that there are spirits and angels, and I believe Jesus was here and was crucified. I don't profess a certain faith, but I'm highly intrigued by Christian art, and the stories of the saints.
WILSON: The supernatural?
DE WINTER: The supernatural is half of what we are here on earth. Denying it, and trying to scientifically prove it doesn't exist I think is just ignorant.
WILSON: Extraterrestrial life?
DE WINTER: Again, if you think that we are the only living beings in the universe, it's ridiculous. Alien abductions are really the scariest thing to me- I believe they happen, and often. I think there's a correlation to angels, aliens, gods. Like prayers and spells being the same thing really.
WILSON: What is your writing process like? Do you have any "writing rituals"?
DE WINTER: Unfortunately I count on found inspiration, which doesn't always work. I find the best thing for writing is to read good books. I know if I don't make time to write, nothing is going to come out. Even if I write a bunch of babble, there will be something I can glean from it.
WILSON: Do you consider yourself a Gothic writer? What do you think of the label?
DE WINTER: The label has taken on a tawdry, too common connotation, I think. Gothic of the past was much more interesting, and I still do consider myself a gothic writer in many ways, but I just don't like being thought of as a modern "goth." It's like when there were punks in the 70s, and punks now- 2 very different things.
WILSON: You have some short stories available on your website: (http://www.corrinedewinter.com/index.htm), have you had any fiction published, and if so, where are some of the place readers can find it?
DE WINTER: I have a story upcoming in the anthology Terrible Beauty, Fearful Symmetry by Dark Hart Press. I've had fiction in Space & Time Magazine, the antho Octoberland, Penny Dreadful magazine, and others. I'm looking for a publisher for my novella "The End of Desire." It's a kind of diary about a girl dealing with living between the supernatural world and reality.
WILSON: Good luck with placing "The End of Desire" (any publishers reading this, feel free to contact Corrine). Thank you for taking the time to chat with me.
DE WINTER: Oh, thank you! I love your magazine!