Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a dark fantasy and horror author who sometimes gets thrown into the grimdark category. I am the author of Miserere: An Autumn Tale; a novella The Broken Road; a novelette written with Alex Bledsoe called Hisses & Wings; and several short stories, which are scattered about in various anthologies. Some of my stories are free and you can find them all at my website: www.tfrohock.com.
In order to pay the bills and support my writing habit, I work in a library where I’m surrounded by books all day, but have very little time to read on the job. Tragic but true.
When did you start writing and what are you currently working on?
I started writing in my late teens and early twenties, then I stopped writing fiction for a while. I got back into writing for publication while in my forties and have been enjoying some success lately. I’m currently working on a new novella in my Los Nefilim series, which takes place during years just preceding the Spanish Civil War. I can’t say a lot more about the project right now, but if you want a peek at Los Nefilim, I debuted them in a novelette written with Alex Bledsoe (Hisses & Wings).
How did you come across Mark’s books and what did you think of them?
Mark who? OH! That Thorn guy. I discovered Mark’s books due to a book review that utterly trashed The Prince of Thorns and I found myself intrigued by the concept (of the book, not the review). So I read Prince of Thorns and thoroughly enjoyed Mark’s prose and storytelling technique. I especially enjoyed his Broken Empire series and I’m looking forward to reading more of his work.
What sort of books/stories do you enjoy as a reader? Do you have any favourite authors or books?
Dark, dark, dark, although I have been known to dip into lighter works such as stories by Patricia McKillip, which are like dark fairy tales. I love dark fantasy and horror sans all the blood and guts. I like moody books that delve deep into human nature. I’ll give you a few that I reread on a regular basis so you can get an idea: Geek Love (is my all-time favorite novel) by Katherine Dunn; The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (along with the other two books in that series: The Angel’s Game and Prisoner of Heaven); The Wolf’s Hour by Robert McCammon; and The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.
My list of favorite authors and books is constantly changing because I try to keep reading across all genres as much as possible.
What’s the lamest or most unusual excuse for the late return of a book you have encountered?
We once had a student who had to pay for a book because his grandmother threw the book into the wood stove and burned it. She said it had all kinds of nasty words in it and she wasn’t having that in her house. We felt bad for the kid.
As a judge what qualities are you looking for in the entries? Do you have any advice for the contestants?
I’m looking for voice and a love of language. I don’t care about intestines wrapped around swords or violence for the sake of violence. If I want to be grossed out, I’ll read a procedural on homicide crime scene investigation.
My advice is to focus on your characters and their motivations. Don’t tell me your character is scared, make me feel his/her sweat on my palms. I know you’re trying to convey a lot with a limited word count, but that is the bane of authors everywhere. If you want to shoot from gut, you must learn how to convey emotion via prose with the fewest words possible.
Everyone will tell you to read in your genre, but you need to read classics too. Not just for prose but for storytelling techniques. My best advice to new authors is to find a poet whose works resonate with you and read some poetry. If you want to learn how to economize words, poetry is the key.
Good luck to all of you. I’m looking forward to seeing your work.
by Agnes Meszaros
.You can also find Teresa Frohock on her website
and on Twitter