Today I want to introduce you to a special new author (really two authors!) by the name Storm Sandlin.
I met Ben Cornwell and Millie Williams at a fairy tale workshop at Elwood Library this past spring. Although their writing genre is not fairy tales per se, I immediately saw we shared a passion for getting our hands deep in the craft of writing, and just enjoying it. They were lots of fun to talk to. The coolest part about it is how they play off each other. Not only are they writing partners and cousins, they are close friends! With such enthusiasm and determination to learn the craft I am convinced they will go far.
Storm Sandlin released some exciting news on September 1, and I asked the honor of helping share it. We sat down for a recent interview.
Morin: Hey, guys! So introduce yourselves and give us your pitch.
Williams: Do you hunger for twisted tales, crave petrifying poetry and yearn for haunting haikus? Have you been waiting for a collection that will bring a chill to the air? We are Wm. Benjamin Cornwell and Amelia N. Williams, we are the force that is Storm Sandlin. We have just what you are looking for! We are cousins who formed their own style of horror and chose to pick our name in honor of their ancestors surnames Storms and Sandlin. On Halloween day 2015 we will be releasing our first book A Chill in the Air: A Collection of Stories and Poetry.
Morin: Your title makes me shiver. We should celebrate this great news!
Cornwell: We agree! We’re holding a launch party at the Elwood, Indiana library from 1:00-3:00 pm on Halloween to mark the occasion.
Morin: What fun! How else can I get ahold of a copy of your book?
Williams: Pre-orders are now being taken until the 30th of September, every pre-ordered copy of the book comes with a special gift. If you are interested in purchasing a copy contact us at email@example.com. It will also be available on amazon.com.
Morin: So let’s talk a like about the writing process. You clearly admire the style of Edgar Allan Poe. What is it about his works that inspires you, and what elements do you intend to bring to a modern audience in your own writing?
Cornwell: Yes, Poe is definitely the master. His level of supernatural thrillers has influenced a great deal of our work. Being a history buff, Victorian tales just seem to come naturally.
Morin: I understand that! I am a history buff too.
Williams: We also often use a first person point of view to help the reader feel like they are experiencing the events of the tale along with the characters. This is one of my favorite things that Poe did to make his stories come alive.
Morin: One of the things that stuck out to me about you two right away was how clearly you function as a team. Talk about the process of collaboration. When did you two start working together? And tell us more about how you blend your talents and share the workload.
Williams: We started writing together in 2011, when we realized that we were both struggling to finish writing stories on our own. As we shared the ideas we were working on separately, we realized that together they would make an interesting story. That is how our first project began.
Cornwell: Since we were very young we have been best friends, because we would tend to agree on about everything. One of the best parts of collaboration is that in dialogue there are two voices and two points of view. And with a partner there is no such thing as writer’s block.
Morin: Do you use any visual art or music as a source of inspiration?
Cornwell: People like Alfred Hitchcock, and Tim Burton have played important roles in the process, as for music; many classical works and even nursery rhymes have inspired elements of the book.
Morin: Are you part of a writing group? How has that improved your writing?
Williams: Yes, we are members of the Elwood, Indiana Library’s writing group. I think that one of the best things you can do as a writer is join a group of other writers that you can learn from and get their advice about how to improve.
Cornwell: It is wonderful to be around people who also enjoy writing, and our wonderful group is full of many talented people. Also, while working on a project like A Chill in the Air it’s nice to get real reactions and see the fear in our friends’ eyes.
Morin: What is one valuable thing you have learned about the road to publication you’d like to share with budding writers?
Cornwell: With self-publishing you are all on your own, make sure you read all of the rules whatever route you take. Make sure you find people such as editors and illustrators that will make your job easier.
Morin: That’s great advice. Writers who self-publish have to be so smart about educating themselves on the process. So ready for your crazy question? If you ran away to join the circus, which act would you be a part of?
Cornwell: I would want to be the ringleader, because I like being in charge. I would also want to ride the elephants.
Morin: I can so see that.
Williams: I would never join the circus – I have an irrational fear of clowns.
Morin: Ha! That is a perfect answer from a writer of scary stories. Finally, where can readers find out more about you and your writing?
Williams: We have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stormsandlinauthor and a blog: http://stormsandlinauthor.blogspot.com/ where we post monthly short stories and poetry. We are also on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/46151388-storm-sandlin
Morin: I know I promised that was the last question, but would you be willing to share with readers a small taste of your style of writing?
Cornwell: Sure, how about a poem?
Morin: I love poems! Let’s end with your words haunting our ears. Good luck and thank you so much for your time.
Yes it is I
Yes it is I, the one who sends chills down your spine
Yes it is I, the one who flashes behind you in the mirror
Yes it is I, the one who makes the untraceable sound
Yes it is I, the one who whispers things in your ear
Yes it is I, the one who stares holes into your soul
Yes it is I, the one who makes your nightmares come true