Grimm Tales In Conversation with Mallory O’Meara
Mallory O’Meara is a best-selling author, screenwriter and a film producer for Dark Dunes Productions. Along with freelance screenwriting and film projects, her latest production is the feature film Yamasong - March of the Hollows, on VOD April, 23 2019. Whether it's for the screen or the page, Mallory seeks creative projects filled with horror and monsters. She lives in Los Angeles. Mallory hosts the literary podcast Reading Glasses alongside filmmaker and actress Brea Grant. The weekly show is hosted by Maximum Fun and focuses on book culture and reader life. Her best-selling first book, The Lady From The Black Lagoon, the chronicle of Mallory's search for and a biography of Milicent Patrick, is out from Hanover Square Press. Mallory is represented by Brady McReynolds at JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Qassye M. Hall: Congratulations on the publication of THE LADY OF THE BLACK LAGOON. Now that your beautiful book about the magic that is Milicent Patrick is out into the world, how are you feeling?
Mallory O’Meara: I’m feeling so much! Pride, excitement, emotional exhaustion, fear, happiness, sadness. Part of me misses writing the book and having Milicent in my head every day, but I’m so honored and elated that her story is out in the world where it belongs.
QH: In an interview with Nightmarish Conjuring, you answered that the "goal of THE LADY OF THE BLACK LAGOON" is to "make the world more aware of Milicent Patrick." Would you mind elaborating on that a little more while explaining where you were first introduced to Patricks and her work, and how she inspires you so?
MO: Milicent Patrick was a trailblazing female artist in film and horror. The world needs to know that not only do women belong in every part of the film industry, but also that women have a legacy here. Milicent Patrick was designing monsters back in the 1950s. That blew my mind when I was a teenager and found out about her and her work on CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. To know that a woman designed one of the most icon monsters of all time was like being struck by lightning. She made me realize that I had a place in the horror world, too.
QH: Which monster or supernatural creature would you say is your favorite?
MO: Werewolves will always be my greatest love! I hope one day I get to see a female directed lycanthropy story, with a female-designed werewolf.
QH: I know some writers have very particular routines or processes when it comes to writing. For me, I find myself most creative at night; it makes me feel like an owl. What does your own, personal writing process look like?
MO: I like getting all my administrative work finished during the day. First thing in the morning, I work on my day job duties as a producer at Dark Dunes Productions. During the afternoon, I work on my podcast, Reading Glasses. All my creative work gets done at night. I’m a word vampire. I like writing at night with a glass of bourbon.
QH: I find that the topic of rejection can be sensitive to anyone who is ambitiously putting their work out into the world. For me, I find that it's an obstacle that stops me from wanting to try again. Do you have any advice for people who may share the same thoughts on rejection as I?
MO: Artists and writers need to get used to rejection is a sailor needs to get used to the sea. Rejection is a part of the creative process that cannot be avoided. Learning how to keep pushing through rejection while honing your product is one of the most important things you can do as a writer or an artist. THE LADY FROM THE BLACK LAGOON was rejected by nearly fifty publishers over the course of six months before we sold it. I believed in myself and believed in this project, which helped me weather each new batch of rejection. Things get rejected for so many reasons, but usually it means that it’s just not a good fit, not that your project is bad. People need to remember that getting rejected doesn’t mean you’re not worthy. Rejection means that you’re in the game and that you’re trying. Even getting considered or looked at by publishers or companies means you’re doing something right. Keep going.
QH: You are an author, a producer, a screenwriter, a podcast co-host, and a mother of seven majestic cats, how do you find time to balance everything?
MO: My schedule book is my lifeline. I’m meticulously organized - I write everything down, have different highlighter colors for each project and am constantly making lists. I have daily and weekly check ins for all my project goals. My favorite way to set up and complete a project is to break it down into manageable chunks and set due dates for all of those chunks. It sets an easy-to-follow path for me!
Along with all the work, I make sure to schedule time to do yoga, work out, read, relax and see my friends. I certainly tend to workaholism, so I try to make sure I’m not scheduling too much for myself every day. Plus, if I spend too much time at my desk, my cats start to bug me for attention!
Qassye M. Hall is an MFA Candidate of Fiction at Sarah Lawrence College. She is currently the Executive Editor for LUMINA Journal, as well as the Founder and Editor for Grimm Tales. Her work has appeared in the Scarletleaf Review and Breadcrumbs Magazine.