Book Notification

Christa Carmen Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Daughters of Block Island (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
Beneath the Poet’s House (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Through the Looking Glass and Straight into Hell (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Book of the Macabre(2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Just Desserts(2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Year's Best Hardcore Horror, Volume 2(2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Only the Lonely(2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dark Voices(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Behold the Undead of Dracula(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Nightmare Magazine, Issue 107(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Night Frights Issue #2(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Orphans of Bliss(2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
We Are Providence: Tales of Horror from the Ocean State(2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Christa Carmen
Christa Carmen lives in Rhode Island and was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for “Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked”, her short story collection. Christa has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, an MFA from the University of Southern Maine, and an MA from Boston College.

When she’s not busy writing, she uses a Ouija board to ghost-hug her dear, departed beagle, keeps chickens, and goes off on adventures with her daughter, husband, and bloodhound-golden retriever mix.

Most of her work comes from gazing upon the ghosts of the past or else into the dark corners of nature, those places where whorls of bark become owl eyes and deer step through tunnels of hanging leaves and creeping briars just to disappear.

Christa has been writing in one capacity or another for as long as she can remember. Painstakingly bound and hilariously illustrated short stories as a kid, emo journal entries as an adolescent and while she was in treatment for substance abuse, impassioned nonfiction essays and these decidedly weak efforts at memoir. But she didn’t start writing fiction until about 2014. She has always loved the gothic, so her first finished project was this gothic horror novel set in the Hundred Mile Wilderness in Monsoon, Maine, so very Stephen King of her. After this, she wrote short stories, primarily for several years before returning to writing novels at the beginning of 2019.

Christa’s writing time has changed significantly since she had her daughter. She definitely doesn’t write at the same time every day; she doesn’t even write on a daily basis. She writes when she has an ongoing project she wants/needs to work on, or if the idea for a new project or short story strikes her. Once she is working on a project, particularly a big one, she will get into a routine of hitting a daily word or page count, however she has to take advantage of the time during which she can write whenever that presents itself. Maybe this is for twenty minutes in bed with her daughter as she waits for her to fall asleep or four hours straight on a weekend while her husband is at work and her daughter is with her cousins or grandparents.

This is a more productive schedule, in a way, then the one she had before, since she cannot waste any time picking out ambient coffee shop sounds on YouTube or reheating endless cups of tea or screwing around online. When she has an hour to write, she must write.

The first iteration of “The Daughters of Block Island” was this short story told in epistolary format, and admittedly it was odd for Christa to take an idea conceived as a short story and expand it. Typically, the medium that she sets out to write is the medium that she finishes it in. She doesn’t really prefer novels over short stories or vice versa, though this was not always the case.

She felt, at one point, that her strengths lied predominantly in short fiction, and she did not have nearly as much confidence in her novel writing abilities. This changed with, like anything else, lots of practice, and she is able to switch effortlessly between short fiction, novels, nonfiction essays, and children’s picture books, depending on where the inspiration strikes.

The novel is her take on the gothic, and is the culmination of years of reading books like “Rebecca” and “The Monk” and wanting to throw her hat in the ring of damsels in distress and decaying castles. Like so many popular subgenres, the gothic has been done to death, so she had ensure that she was actually bringing something new to readers, ultimately deciding to make gothic meta, with her poor tragic heroine believing herself to be in the quintessential gothic novel. The novel is also inspired, partly, by the Twa Sisters murder ballad, and the “Scream” movies, so there’s a little something for everybody within its rain (and blood) soaked pages.

Walking is when Christa does her best “writing thinking”, like navigating her way through sticky plot points or coming up with new ideas that she will then text to herself in a series of cryptic yet ultimately helpful little messages, kinda like fairy tale breadcrumbs weaving serpentine paths through the folds of her brain. She has actually written whole children’s books via text as she is walking, using the voice-to-text mic in the messaging app and then emailing it to herself at the end of the walk.

“The Daughters of Block Island” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2023. The mysterious past of this island mansion lures two sisters into a spiderweb of secrets, scandal, and murder.

Two sisters that have been strangers since birth yet bound by their family secrets, get caught up in this century long mystery on this isolate island. After Blake Bronson arrives on Block Island intent on finding her birth mom, she becomes convinced that she is the heroine of a gothic novel, the sort that allowed her intermittent escape from her traumatic childhood. How else to possibly explain the salt-worn mansion known as White Hall, all of the torrential rain, and the restless ghost that purportedly haunts its halls?

However before Blake is able to discern the ending of the novel, she is discovered dead, having been murdered in a claw foot tub. The proprietress of White Hall is the one standing accused of it.

Thalia Mills, summoned by this letter that Blake sent her before she died, returns to the island that she swore she had left permanently. She finds that Blake was not the first one that died at White Hall under suspicious circumstances. Thalia has to uncover the real reason for Blake’s death before the forces that conspire to keep Block Island’s secrets buried and dead rise up and consume her as well.

With exquisite and lush language, Christa’s debut honors and explores the great gothic novels of the past, but the rules are written here. Get ready to find yourself in the White Hall’s spider’s web.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Christa Carmen

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