Meet Corinne Pollard

Every Friday, we meet a member of the BFS and peer deep into their soul (or, at least, a form they filled out). Want to be featured? Email us: online@britishfantasysociety.org

Name, including preferred pronouns:
Corinne Pollard (she/her)

Which region are you based in?
West Yorkshire lass, born and bred, but don’t expect an accent.

If you write, which genre: 
I write Horror, Fantasy and a bit of Sci-fi when the mood strikes me.

Are you drawn to any specific SFFH sub-genres?
Gothic, Supernatural, Monsters, Myths and Legends Retells, Dark Fantasy, and Sci-fi Horror.

If you don’t write, what do you do?

I run the monthly Bingley Writers Group which I founded last year and it warms my heart that it is still going strong. As part of it, I put on writing events too. 

I attend open mics to read my work and make friends with the local writing community. Just recently I became a Volunteer Editorial Assistant for Grendel Press and I can’t wait to learn more about editing and publishing. 

I enjoy art, singing, and watching films, especially at the cinema. Other than that, I take it day by day, sometimes hour by hour, with my disability.

Your influences

Tell us about the book/film/thing that got you into SFFH: What was it? How old were you? What impact did it have on you?

I grew up surrounded by Fantasy. I remember watching the BBC Narnia TV series at primary school on rainy days and reading The Hobbit in English even though the book was huge. Yet what truly sparked my obsession with SFFH was when my mum forced a book on me. It was hard to get into at first, but I was intrigued enough to read the second book and then the third and on and on. I devoured the Harry Potter books yes like most 90’s kids. It sparked the desire to write. I had imagined a world of wizardry with fantastical creatures before I even heard of Harry Potter, so I knew I had found something special. My calling so to speak. I told many people when I was young that I wanted to be A) a Witch and B) a Writer. 

As for Horror, I was in my teens when I read The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney and I remember being hooked with the series, but mostly I remember there was this one scene that terrified me with a very deep hole, a witch’s prison, and she was crawling out. Horror grew for me after that, I even discovered a love for Edgar Allan Poe in sixth form, but it would take me ages to recognise that my writing naturally would go dark. On a holiday to Turkey, I was reading The Woman in Black by the swimming pool and I got the chills. I knew then that I wanted to write that same spooky atmosphere. 

How does that early influence show up in your work now?

I’ve often been complimented on my world-building within my stories, no matter which genre it is, which I believe is due to that early influence of reading so much fantasy and in particular High Fantasy books. I don’t read as much High Fantasy these days, and have moved onto Dark Fantasy, Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. Most of my reading is now consumed by Horror.

Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

Anywhere, I guess. I enjoy blending elements from fantasy into horror and recreating monsters you think you know into my very own version. As you can imagine, this means research which I love and can often spiral out of control with it. I am sometimes inspired by films, TV series, as well as anime. Often I want to alter a part of it, so that sparks my inspiration. Also, I am inspired by landscapes and conversation so I try to go on little trips around Yorkshire, even if it ends up as a shopping trip.

Who do you look to as a genre hero? Why?

Forgive me, there’s no way I can pick just one! 

Laurell K. Hamilton. I love her Anita Blake series with her reimagined America with legal vampires, lycans, wererats, wereleopards etc. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet her when she came to London once for the signing of her book. (oh god I hate that picture of me so focus on Laurell and not me haha) 

Christine Feehan. Her writing is beautiful like music lyrics. I especially love her Carpathian series. A wonderful paranormal romance where she creates something amazing and unique out of the vampire myth. 

C. J. Cooke. She explores dark fantasy and gothic and centres them on women. Her structure of dual timelines fit like a glove and her outstanding characters feel so real.

Your work

You’re stuck in an elevator for 60 seconds with that hero, and they want you to describe your work. Give us the pitch.

After a huge amount of ‘ohmygod’ and swearing, then maybe something along the lines of…

Hello! Nice to meet you. You have inspired me to be a writer, so thank you so much. I’m Corinne Pollard and I’m a disabled writer of horror, fantasy and sci-fi. I write drabbles (100-word stories), short stories, poetry as well as non fiction like articles and book reviews. My work explores the darker side of fantasy, allowing our minds to dream which then changes to a nightmare, but it’s through this process that the reader can identify their fears. I write cos I too am afraid.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on my first novel, a dark fantasy set on the Yorkshire moors. Obviously I don’t want to give too much away, but feedback about the plan/research/concept has been positive. Now I need to sit and write it. 

I also challenge myself with the monthly drabble sub call, Dark Moments by The Black Hare Press, as the theme always stimulates some creativity. 

Knowing me, I will also find a sub call that I will divert to and write a short story, poem or flash.

Thinking about all the stories/work you’ve done, what sticks out most in your mind? Why?

Two stick out to me, but for two opposite reasons. The first is the anthology Aire Reflections. I was co-editor and included quite a lot of my dark poetry, flash and short stories. This marked the beginning for my writing journey and I got to create this with some lovely ladies from Yorkshire.

The second is my short story ‘Strawberry Hearts’ in the anthology Other & Different by A Coup of Owls. This was my first gothic ghost story and it was a challenge, but it was the first time I felt like a professional writer. 

Where and when do you create/are you at your most creative?

To be honest, I don’t know. I can’t stick to a writing schedule. Sometimes I will write in the morning, at home, at a library, a coffee shop, in the afternoon or at night. My disability can hit me at anytime and anywhere and slows down my thinking process, understanding language, and communication. I have two debilitating migraine conditions; Chronic Migraine, which is over 15 days a month, and Hemiplegic Migraine which mimics a stroke. So I am a slow writer, a slow reader and slow with my creativity, but I try to be as creative as possible by listening to music, reading books, visiting graveyards (it’s a great resource for names), visiting libraries and bookshops as well as writing workshops and festivals as it is great to be surrounded by other writers.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about creativity?

Description is like the decoration on a cake. You don’t want too much decoration or it will destroy the cake’s structure and its deliciousness.

What’s your writing soundtrack? 

I tend to listen to music that makes me happy. I listen to anime music even if it’s in Japanese, metal like Korn, Bullet For My Valentine and Slipknot, and then if I need to get into a specific mood for a story then I look at film and gaming soundtracks and songs. For example, if I am writing something sci-fi, I like to listen to the music from the game DOOM. It’s a bonus that it is a metal soundtrack too.

The quickfire round

Sci-fi, fantasy or horror? 
Fantasy and Horror. Dark Fantasy. 

Quiet or loud? 
Quiet 

Dark or light? 
Dark 

Strict lines or genre blend? 
Genre Blend 

Awards or bestseller? 
Either one would be an amazing achievement. 

Fiction or non-fiction? 
Fiction 

Poetry or prose? 
Prose 

Plotter or pantser? 
Pantser 

Reading or listening? 
Reading 

Notebook or computer? 
Computer, but I do keep a notebook at hand when on the move.

Favourite SFFH book of all time? 
Argh, you can’t ask me that. There’s too many favourites. Nope, I can’t pick just one.

Last book you read?
Question Not My Salt by Amanda M. Blake. I wrote a review of it on The Horror Tree. 🙂

Any SFFH author on auto-buy? 
C.J. Cooke 

Favourite podcast? 
I don’t listen to podcasts. Youtube is my go-to. 

The home stretch

What’s the best thing about being a SFFH writer/editor?

100 percent, it has got to be the writing community, especially the horror writing community. They are so welcoming and so kind. They are more than just colleagues in the same profession. I have been inspired by many of them and hope that I will be given more opportunities to work with these wonderful people in future.

Time to plug your stuff! Where can we find you and your work? What have you got coming up? Consider this your advertising space.

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