Scotti Andrews, like me, moved from California to Seattle, though not for the same reason. I’m actually here for the moody weather, which has been a very lucrative muse for me so far. Scotti seems to thrive in any environment, which explains how she can write horror or noir or romance with equal authority.
Here are my standard questions, without the standard answers, since Scotti sets her own standards…
You are a Seattleite transplanted from California. Has the change in environment influenced your work at all?
Not really in the overall darkness of my writing, but the new experiences I've had in Seattle certainly come into my stories. Mainly rain. How can you live in Seattle and not write about rain and water? I think more than moving from California to Seattle, the move from small-town living to existing in the big city has influenced my work. Small towns are frightening because everyone knows you, everyone knows your family, and for generations, small towns harbor the secrets of each family, as if the secrets were a communal sin. Big cities are frightening because of the anonymity - the person sitting next to you on the bus could be a murderer. Or you could be the murderer and no one would know.
Are you comfortable doing live readings, and do you consider it an important promotional tool for authors?
I love live readings. I can really be a ham if you give me a mic. I think they are an important promotional tool for authors only if you do them well. I don't mean prancing about the stage, but I do mean putting some inflection in your voice, changing your voice for different characters, and flirting with the audience a little, connecting with them with a smile and meeting of the eyes at key points in the reading. I am not an auditory person, so sitting in a room and listening to someone reading from their work in a monotone makes it very difficult for me to concentrate on the story being told. But if an author doesn't enjoy that kind of thing, I don't think they should do it. The audience can sense if the author is uncomfortable and it makes for an awkward event.
You write in several genres, including romance under a nom de plume, “Elise Covert.” What is your favorite genre as a writer, and as a reader?
As a reader, my favorite genre is still horror. Especially a really good scary thriller-type of horror. That is the type of story I can get lost in. I do like to read a well-written and complex romance. I find that many romances are too straight-forward (meet, fall in love way too fast, have some kind of argument, make-up, get married). Romance to me is complicated and, yes, scary. I like exploring those themes when I write romance. I think, in fact, my romances are a little dark, with many of the elements found in my dark fiction: self-doubt, uncertain of reality, the effect of emotions on the body, the risk vs. the potential reward.
What are some of your influences, literary and otherwise?
Stephen King. There, I said it. I don't try to write like him, but he certainly influenced me at an impressionable age (I first read Carrie when I was going into middle school - perfect timing. God, I hated P.E.) His worldview is both dark and hopeful, something I think about a lot when I write. Also Shirley Jackson. Both she and King have a way of making the most mundane moments absolutely terrifying. I like that. I don't need a real monster in the room to be scared witless. As for romance, Karen Robards and of course Diane Gabaldon. They write romance that is outside of the box of tropes that much of romance sticks to. And they both know how to write a great sex scene.
What’s next for you?
I have two romance series to finish and then I have a romantic suspense/thriller idea featuring a female mercenary. I also plan on publishing a collection of my scary short stories. I have more ideas than I can keep up with! Stay tuned!
Scotti Andrews is an award-nominated writer of thrillers and horror and as well as erotic romances written under the pen name Elise Covert. While she may look like the sweet California girl that she is, her heart is dark and her imagination is even darker. Her female characters are talented with both men and knives and her stories explore the wonder, fear and despair of life. With her stories, she promises to scare you and then beckon you to delve deeper into your own dark side.
PHOTO: SCOTTI ANDREWS