Cassie Daley is an upcoming writer whose stories I first took note of earlier this year. Although she has only published a couple of short stories so far, I enjoyed her ‘voice’ in those tales so much, I had no qualms with inviting her on board. Cassie takes us into the Sixth Circle with her story, Off Course.
Infernal Clock: What was the inspiration behind your story?
I’ve always been one of the morbid folks that reads a lot of true crime, and is grimly fascinated by how dark and monstrous regular people can be. We often hear stories about people who show signs from a young age of being “troubled” – hurting animals, etc. The killers that scare me the most are always the ones that showed no outward signs beforehand, and who everyone else would have sworn was a great person. For my story, I tried to imagine one of these types of people, and aimed to make her both sympathetic as a character, but also unredeemable. I’ll also admit that I wanted to have fun with this one, since it’s the first thing I’ve written that features any sort of sex or violence – two things I love reading, but either blush or get squeamish while writing, I’ve discovered, haha
Infernal Clock: What is your idea of hell on earth?
A world filled with people who lack empathy for other people. This year especially has taught me so much about how far kindness and support and compassion can go, both in regards to my own struggles as well as in witnessing other people dealing with theirs. There are people who don’t prioritize those things, and it shows in their actions and the ways that they go around hurting other people – my idea of hell on earth would just be more of that, I think! Also, lots of long lines! I really hate waiting, haha
Infernal Clock: The Inferno was created on old ideas of sin. If you had to label the nine levels how, what would you call them? Would you keep it at 9? Increase or decrease?
I’d probably change them up to put less of a focus on how much sex people have and how much people want to sit around or eat, and more on people who hurt, manipulated, and cheated others. I don’t think Limbo would work quite as it does for Dante, especially in regards to shunning the nonbelievers! I’d also maybe nix the middle violence ring, since it seems pretty awful that folks who would be in a rough enough spot to opt for suicide would then be made to suffer even more (via… tree transformation and harpy feeding? Is that right? Ouch!)
Infernal Clock: They say the Devil has all the good tunes. What song would you recommend as an accompaniment to your story?
The Gits – Second Skin
Infernal Clock: If you were able to visit the Inferno, what level would you want to go to and who would you want to see there?
Honestly, all of the levels are pretty terrifying. Is there a way to safely take a glass elevator tour? I don’t need to meet anyone in particular, but a drive by glimpse of Medusa or Cleopatra would be pretty cool!
Infernal Clock: What is the hottest food you’ve ever eaten? Can you share a recipe?
I like regular spicy food, but can’t really handle overly spicy food because my belly is a baby! But here’s a fun story: the first time I ever tried sushi, the friend that took me to the restaurant told me that wasabi was meant to be snorted before your meal. They were joking, but I am extremely gullible, so I did it quickly before the food came. I suffered greatly. Would not recommend.
Infernal Clock: Who is your ‘favourite’ villain in history or fiction?
I have a lot of favorite villains – I always end up liking them more than the heroes! One of my favorites is Jubal Early from the Firefly TV show. He’s a bounty hunter sort of modeled after Boba Fett, and he’s super terrifying – a methodical sadist whose own mother could sense some sort of darkness inside him.
I also really love Pyramid Head from the Silent Hill 2 video game – super scary, and such a great character design! A lot of the villains in Silent Hill are pretty great, really. And they’re all manifestations of people’s pain and grief and mistakes in monster-form, which adds a whole other layer of scariness to them in my opinion!
Infernal Clock: What is your long-term ambition for your writing?
I don’t have a lot of big goals for writing, really. I started writing to help me work out some of the anxieties and problems in my brain, and so far, it’s been great for that. I’d love to hold a full book that I’ve written in my hands! That’s my main goal right now, really!
Infernal Clock: Top-tip for other writers.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are so many things I just had no idea about before this year, and I’m so grateful to the people who have offered advice or tips or answered my questions about anything writing related. There are a lot of books on the craft, but not a lot of resources on the nitty gritty how-tos for unrepresented new writers looking to submit to publishers. When in doubt, ask! There is usually someone around who won’t mind answering
Cassie Daley is a blogger, artist, and writer living in Northern California with her boyfriend and three dogs. Her first published short story, ‘Ready or Not’, debuted as a part of Fright Girl Summer, and is available to read online. Aside from writing, she runs an online art shop and is a contributing team member to the Dead Head Reviews and Ladies of Horror Fiction websites. She is the creator of THE BIG BOOK OF HORROR AUTHORS: A Coloring & Activity Book, and is also a host on The PikeCast, a book podcast dedicated to reading and discussing the works of Christopher Pike. You can find Cassie on Twitter as @ctrlaltcassie, or letsgetgalactic.com.
Latest publication and links.
“Ready or Not” – Free online story, part of Fright Girl Summer: https://www.frightgirlsummer.com/ready-or-not
Nonfiction article in Issue #14 of Unnerving Magazine: https://www.amazon.com/Unnerving-Magazine-14-King-Inspired-Extended/dp/1989206565
“Ruthie’s Garden” – story in WE ARE WOLVES: A Charity Anthology by Burial Day Books (out later this year – https://twitter.com/BurialDay)
My own books:
The Big Book of Horror Authors: A Coloring & Activity Book (https://www.etsy.com/listing/839579430/the-big-book-of-horror-authors)
You’re Out of This World: A Magical 12-Month Self-Love Planner & Activity Book for Boss Witches (https://www.etsy.com/listing/878544959/youre-out-of-this-world-witchy-planner)