The following is an interview with writer Cassondra Windwalker on the upcoming release of the horror novel, What Hides in the Cupboards, through Unnerving Books. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Windwalker about her creative process in bringing the story and characters to life on the page, what she hopes that readers may take away from the story, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of What Hides in the Cupboards! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the story’s premise?
Cassondra Windwalker: The celebrated enchantment of the Four Corners was supposed to bring ceramic artist Hesper Dunn back to life after a tragic accident in Chicago robbed her of nearly everything she loved, but the spirits waiting for her here are anything but benevolent. The ghost of a grief-stricken father watches from the mirrors, and a malicious shadow-child destroys everything she tries to create. As chaos and madness eat away at her, Hesper clings to the love of her husband as the last bulwark against the darkness, but there’s something wrong with Richard, too. Something hiding…
BD: This story weaves together elements of supernatural thriller with dark family drama. What can you tell us about your creative process in bringing these elements together while crafting your narrative?
CW: I’ve seen firsthand the depths of destruction and horror wreaked in our lives when love aborted by death turns into guilt and shame and regret. For many people, the love they feel for the person they’ve lost is seemingly inextricably bound up with every mistake, every hasty word, or selfish act they ever committed in the course of that relationship. In one way or another, I think the horror we either encounter or relate has its roots in very powerful love. When that love twists or rots, it becomes something truly monstrous that can devour us and those around us whole. So, I don’t think we can really write horror well unless we can write love well first, whether that’s familial love or romantic love or even love of country.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that this story may connect with and impact readers?
CW: I hope this story prompts readers to second-guess the myriad ways we remember and carry our dead, and I hope it follows them off the page and into hours waking and sleeping, that they question shadows and check three or four times under the bed.
BD: Do you have any plans to expand this story into subsequent novels or other entertainment mediums (if given the opportunity)?
CW: This is definitely a stand-alone story, even if the action does continue off the last page. I’d love to see Mike Flanagan pick it up, as it would make an excellent horror series like the masterful The Fall of the House of Usher that he just gifted us via Netflix. But don’t we all want that?
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
CW: I’m looking for a publishing home for two other novels right now. Ghost-girls and Rabbits is an experimental literary horror about missing and murdered indigenous women and girls on the North American continent, and The Gardener’s Wife’s Mistress is something completely different, a contemporary upmarket novel that lyrically addresses questions surrounding homelessness and transgender issues through the scaffolding of grief and recovery.
So yeah, I do tend to gravitate to the darker sides of literature. Even my happy stories at least start with tragedy.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about What Hides in the Cupboards and your other work?
CW: I love to connect with folks on social media, and, of course, most of my books are available on Amazon and Goodreads. Every now and then, I have a book signing and actually get to meet readers in person! But if you’re tooling around the social media galaxies, you can find me below: