American short story author Michele Cacano is one of the writers whose stories are featured in the soon-to-be-published anthology The Haunted Train: Creepy Tales from the Railways. Here she answers our questions about train journeys, reading and writing.
Do you remember your first ever train journey? What was it like?
I took the train from my home north of Baltimore to visit New York City with my mother. We often took these weekend trips, and I was probably ten or eleven years old, the first time we went. It felt like such a sophisticated way to travel. I’d seen so many scenes on train platforms and in train cars in the movies, that I felt like I was finally joining the world of adult travelers.
What fascinates you about trains?
I love the sound of a train whistle in the distance. Trains are romantic, mysterious, and represent a yearning to travel and connect to other people and places. There is so much magical energy in train travel, and I think the metal rails are amazing conductors for that energy. Being a fan of history, I think trains are a wonderful vehicle of transportation both in time and space, which gives them rich storytelling possibilities.
Who are your favourite horror authors? What do you like about them?
My favorite horror author has always been Clive Barker. His stories are so rich in imagination! The deep, dark fantasy is very appealing to me. He also explores sexuality, without romanticizing supernatural partners. I also have a fondness for the old masters – Edgar Allan Poe (a fellow Baltimorean), Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, and, later, Shirley Jackson.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
When I was three, I wrote and illustrated a story about a duck, splashing in puddles and rains and whatnot. I stapled it together into a book. I had a dream of being in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest published author But, of course, I had no idea how to publish a book, and, I guess, neither did my parents. My mom still has it, though!
What are you currently working on?
I have a few projects in the works. Two long short stories are growing into novellas or novels– we’ll see which! One is about a young girl who communicates with the dead and gets pulled into an old family feud, and the other tells the story of a young bride in the 1860s, living with the ghost of her husband’s first wife. I always have flash fiction and poetry in the works and out on submission.
ABOUT MICHELE CACANO
Michele is a writer, artist, and massage therapist in Seattle. She lives with two cats and one husband. She enjoys books and movies – comedy, horror, science fiction – and comes from a long line of novelty music lovers. She cherishes her vinyl record collection, and still has too many books, DVDs, and VHS tapes. She loves to travel and always collects regional ghost stories. Other interests include language studies, folklore, and the Roaring Twenties. She grew up among ghosts and has had many paranormal experiences. She has been published in anthologies and magazines such as Haunted Waters’s From the Depths and Bag of Bones Press. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @MicheleCacano. She runs and facilitates Seattle Writers Meetup, a weekly critique group (est. 2007) @SeaWritersMeet and is a founding member of Camp S’more Writers (est. 2020) @CampSmoreWriter.