The strongest influence on my writing, and the inspiration behind my short story ‘Winter Baby,’ in ‘Nightmare Asylum’ was the amazingly talented, Helen Dunmore. Her writing is beautiful and dark; it is uncompromising in its willingness to explore what it feels like to face a severe threat, only to discover, that the most deadly danger of all, is already lingering, malevolently, inside of you! Her characters often seem to be on the verge of disintegration, and so are many of mine.
The lead story ‘Nightmare Asylum,’ is based upon a reoccurring dream I had in my twenties. In the nightmare, I was trapped inside a Victorian mental asylum. I knew that I shouldn’t be there, but no one would listen to me or let me out. I had encountered several scary looking psychiatric hospitals to visit a close relative when I was young. I knew how creepy they felt and how much people in my family feared them. Electrotherapy was a popular treatment for most mind-related ailments at the time, and I remember listening to a description of how it felt to wake from this horror; not knowing your own name.
Some of my stories in the collection were inspired by places. A couple of years ago, I was a guest writer at the Alibi Crime & Noir Literary Festival in Slovenia. On the first evening, we chose a folded piece of paper containing a title and had the following day to write a story, reading it to a live audience, the next. I felt inspired by the atmosphere in Slovenia and wrote, ‘Happy Death Day,’ incorporating the town in which we were staying and some local names and customs. Two other stories, ‘Every Move You Make’ and ‘Every Smile You Fake’ are set in Ennis in the Republic of Ireland, where I stayed for a while. I loved the quaint but slightly seedy undercurrent it had. The place had a classic noir feel, and I tried to capture that in my writing.
Quite a few of my stories contain elements of truth. I tend to write in disguise, subjugating my life experiences into unrecognisable scenarios. My story ‘Paranoid’ was based on a feeling of being harassed when I was younger. It starts out innocently enough. Boy meets girl, their eyes lock, then she finds this attractive stranger belongs to an orange-clad cult. The stalking begins, groups of people with tambourines were following me everywhere around town, urging me to join. I remember slipping out of the back doors of shops so that they wouldn’t find out where I lived. It got so bad that I couldn’t go into town on my own… Just like the character in my story.
Many of the tales are in Nightmare Asylum are based on fear, guilt, shame and loss. I will often take a complicated feeling, push it to an illogical extreme and then see what happens. Writing is an adventure for me, and I never really know in which direction it will go.
Sonia Kilvington Bio:
Sonia Kilvington is a journalist and fiction writer from the beautiful Mediterranean island of Cyprus. She has published many articles, travel features, short stories and interviews in glossy magazines. She loves to write dark and disturbing short stories in genres such as noir, crime, ghost and Sci-fi. Her online writing credits include Out of the Gutter Online, Spelk fiction, Pulp Metal Magazine & Near to the Knuckle. Her new short story collection, Nightmare Asylum & Other Deadly Delights – published by Close To The Bone, is available on Amazon.
FB writer’s page: https://www.facebook.com/soniafiction/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Soniacyprus (@Soniacyprus)
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amazon book links for Nightmare Asylum & Other Deadly Delights: