Q: How did you start on your path to becoming a horror writer?
YVONNE: I've been around since the 1600s... oh, wait. It only feels that way some days. But seriously, I started writing in 1982, at the encouragement of my mother. I'd passed her a book to read that I particularly admired, and when she returned it, she told me "You could do this." I wasn't sure if it was true or not, but I decided to try it, thinking I'd jump right in there and write The World's Best Horror Novel. Somewhere around Chapter 7, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to see if I could write and sell a short story before I tackled the whole novel thing. And here I am, twelve published novels, one dictionary, and a bunch of short stories later.
Q: What is the most appealing thing about horror fiction for you?
YVONNE: To me, horror fiction grabs the reader and pulls him into the story like no other kind of fiction can. It's almost as if we =need= a little fear to make us appreciate the other things in our lives, from the most mundane to the most wonderful. How much more welcome is the sunrise when you think you may not survive the night because of something completely unexpected and out of your control, like a monster or a psychopath or that seemingly harmless next-door neighbor who suddenly can't take the strain of day to day life? I find it interesting that so many people -- the same ones who buy murder mysteries, suspense novels and mainstream novels where the hero or heroine must survive some huge personal tragedy -- insist they don't like horror. Horror isn't limited at all to monsters and the supernatural, and in my opinion what they're reading is just horror wearing a different mask. They say they won't watch horror shows... what the heck do they think they're doing when they turn on the six o'clock news? To me, that's much more frightening than the made-up stuff in a paperback book.
Q: Some writers say that what they write doesn't have much to do with themselves-others say that their writing is very much influenced by their own experiences. How is this with you?
YVONNE: Oh, I'm definitely influenced by my own experiences, past and present, ever on-going. I'm also heavily influenced by the experiences of others, whether it's those who are close to me or strangers I hear about on the news. How can I, or any other writer, not be? Frankly, I think the writers who claim they aren't simply don't want to admit to it because they don't want their readers to know what happens in their lives -- the joys, the everyday boredom, the personal hells -- and how much it affects them. Almost everything I've written has some element of me or someone I know or heard about in it; some stories are such a conglomeration that it's hard to tell truth from fact.
Q: ) How did you get involved with writing books based on BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER?
YVONNE: Several years ago the editor was looking for fresh blood (Get it? Blood? Vampire books? Hee hee, couldn't resist that. Hey, stop rolling your eyes!) and a couple of people I know who were already writing BUFFY books recommended me. The editor emailed me and asked if I was interested in working in the BUFFY universe, and if so to have my agent forward a sample package. I was, and I did, and the rest is, as they say, history.
Q: ) What do you think the appeal is about vampires?
YVONNE: Immortality, strength, danger, sexuality, immunity, the fact that the creature takes everything from someone else to sustain itself. Oddly enough, vampires are like a metaphor for doomed and bad relationships-- one person (be it man or woman) gives everything to sustain the other person, while the person who takes seldom, if ever, appreciates the gift he or she has been given-- they simply take and keep taking. Perhaps in some dark way everyone would like to be like the vampire: impervious to hurt, the one who takes it all without a care or second glance and walks away without conscience, leaving the other person sucked dry of life and love and emotion.
Q) What is the weirdest true-life thing that happened to you that if you wrote it down would read like fiction?
YVONNE: I lived in a haunted house, a =real= one, in Madison, Tennessee in the late seventies. And yes, it definitely would read like fiction-- in fact, it does. I wrote about it in a story called "The House on Chadwell Drive" which was published (and is still in print) in an anthology of fictionalized true-life accounts called DANCING WITH THE DARK edited by Stephen Jones.
Q: Who is YOUR favorite horror author?
YVONNE: Without a doubt it's Robert McCammon. I consider him my mentor and the writer who inspired me to try writing myself back in the early eighties.
(Q: ) Anything you want to add (website info, et cetera)?
YVONNE: I keep up a pretty big website called Darke Palace at www.yvonnenavarro.com, where folks can leave messages on a message board and check to find out what's going on in my little slice of the writing world. It has a chat room that anyone can use and a little bookstore (my stuff and stuff I recommend) on it, as well as the usual stuff like FAQs, a biography and bibliography. There's also all kinds of fun stuff in there, like travel and puppy pictures, a library, excerpts, art work, etc.
As of Spring 2001 I'm about three-quarters of the way through writing a horror novel called Mirror Me, something I started in February 2000. I've done a couple of long media-related stories (Buffy the Vampire Slayer stuff) and am working on a proposal for a Buffy original novel. There's also (always) other stuff in the works, and of course, I've continued my martial arts studies. It's all great fun and I hope folks will check out the website and say hi.