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Julie Kusma Interview

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

Tell me about your books

My first book, Stuck That Way & Other Quandaries, is a collection of short stories. All were previously published with Coffee House Writers while I was a content writer with them, except for one. “Relevant Evidence” was written for a contest.

I then decided to publish several children’s picture books written during my master’s degree in Creative Writing, including Pigglety Pigglety Poo and Where Wildflowers Grow.

The Many Worlds of Mr. A. Skouandy & Other Stories from Oakwood Sanatorium is a postmodern collage-style short story cycle written as my master’s thesis and published in 2021.

I also released, That’s Creepy, Santa! The Trilogy (eBook only) December 2021.

Additionally, I have collaborated with my dear friend and editor, Jill Yoder, on two children’s picture books; A Perfect Place for Scary Monsters to Hide and Eggie’s Easter Counting and Color fun.

However, most of my work has come at a fast, furious pace with my writing partner, Derek R. King. Together we have written; Our Trees: Botanics, Beliefs, & More, Abracadabra: The Lighter Half, Volume 1, Unchaste: The Darker Half, Volume 11, Santa’s Claws: The Darker Half, Volume 12, Our Christmas: Traditions, Memories, & More, and The Darker Half, Volume 13, all in the past six months.

When and how did you start writing?

The ‘when’ is easier than the ‘how.’ I wrote a children’s Christmas story, Santa’s Coat, and I had it critiqued at Butler University (Indiana, USA) in 2000 during a writing workshop. And although I received encouraging comments, I was told the subject matter was taboo in traditional publishing houses. I lost confidence, and the wind let out of my writing sail, so to speak. I didn’t pursue writing further until finishing my degrees between 2012 ad 2018. Santa’s Coat was published in Our Christmas: Traditions, Memories, & More, written with Derek R. King in 2021.

Although you are known as the Queen of Horror, you write in other genres too. Is it a different experience?

The energetic quality is different, although the writing process is the same. Honey: Words to Heal & Mend is an inspirational book based on the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi and the art of Kintsugi. This is an entirely different vibe from, say, That’s Creepy, Santa! or even Pigglety Pigglety Poo. The truth is, I love to write, and I write whatever comes to me, no matter the genre.

What was your favorite research activity you have done for a book?

This is a tricky question. I thoroughly enjoyed the language development research that led to Pigglety Pigglety Poo, all done in a master’s course. And I love all the individual research that has gone into Our Christmas: Traditions, Memories, and Our Trees: Botanics, Beliefs, & More. But if I must choose, I will say the research I did for an upcoming book, We Three: The Ipswich Chronicles is my favorite to date. I researched the history of magic and religion back to the prime source. I can’t wait to release it, hopefully by spring 2023.

What do you consider your greatest writing accomplishment?

My greatest writing accomplishment is an unpublished nonfiction book on the Mind-Body-Spirit connection and the impact the development or underdevelopment has on our lives. I broke each of these three aspects down into three categories, and each of these into three further subcategories. I have tools to evaluate one’s status in each and tools to enhance and balance each. It is my magnum opus.

And which was your biggest challenge?

Writing has never been a challenge for me, fortunately. But formatting? Argh! Seriously, I dislike formatting with a passion.

What’s the best thing someone has said about your writing?

Undoubtedly an Amazon review I received for Stuck That Way and Other Quandaries.

WB wrote,

“Julie Kusma’s angle on horror is both fresh and beautiful. She takes the reader on a glorious journey through the ‘what-ifs’ of dark things hidden behind our everyday lives and uses an exceptional talent for writing to bring horror alive. Each story keeps you on the edge of your seat, and the endings are almost impossible to predict. This is an extremely enjoyable book for those of us who appreciate both a new take on horror and writing as a form of art. I warmly recommend it.”

This still gets me! I have the quote “a new take on horror and writing as a form of art” in my Twitter bio. Teary-eyed right now because these words make my heart happy.

What would you do if you didn’t write?

I suppose I would return to a former career. Probably as a stained-glass artist, but I am a licensed cosmetologist, so I could cut hair again. Or work as a personal trainer. I’ve even worked as a Human Resource Director, but I’ll pass on returning to that last career option. Maybe I would do graphic design work for other writers.

Has a book really touched you? Made you rethink your views on life? If so, what was it?

Yes, Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman. After reading this book, I learned how to let go of the hurt and pain I carried for decades associated with my own mother’s death when I was nine years old. I read the book in my thirties, and it changed my life.

What is your ultimate dream as a writer?

To reach others in a similar manner, Edelman’s book reached me. To have a positive impact on even just one person would make my writing journey complete.

What are your current projects? What should we be looking out for?

Amore, The Lighter Half, Volume 2 with Derek R. King, May 5, 2022 (poetry)

The Enchanted Faerie Realm with Derek R. King, June 2022 (children’s poetry)

ABCs of Summer Fun with Jill Yoder, June 2022 (children’s picture book)

The Circus is in Town, July 2022(children’s picture book)

The Crooked Crone and Other Mystifications, Fall 2022 (paranormal horror)

Jaggy Little Babies with Derek R. King, 2022 (children’s picture book)

What advice would you give other writers?

When asked this question, I always answer the same way because I firmly believe this: study the craft, take what you will, and throw the rest away. It’s how we find our voice as authors. There’s no one way— no right way. Just write. And as Ray Bradbury said, “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

Thank you, Lily. You interview questions were a delight to answer.

Julie Kusma, Queen of Horror (and other stuff)


Julie L. Kusma, currently lives in the United States, where she pens speculative fiction short stories, poems, and novels. She is the co-author of The Darker Half Series (gothic poetry) with Derek R. King, The Many Worlds of Mr. A. Skouandy & Other Stories from Oakwood Sanatorium (a psychological horror short story cycle), Moomii’s Storytime For Grownups Series 1 & 2 Anthology (short stories: Angel, New Mummy, Awaken, and Pumpkin), Pigglety Pigglety Poo (children’s picture book), Stuck That Way and Other Quandaries (a short story collection of paranormal horror), and of two CDs; Unbind: 7 Chakras Opening Meditations, and Shift: 11 Perspective Changing Meditations.

Several of her paranormal and horror stories and a few poems are available in audio format on her YouTube channel. Recently, contemporaries in the writing community honored Julie with the moniker “Queen of Horror.”

She holds a Master of Science in Health Education and a Master of Art in English, Creative Writing, Fiction.

Message from the author:

No matter what medium art takes; canvas, clay, or words on paper, the message isn’t so much what it means to the artist, but rather what the piece says to the observer. I hope my work speaks to you. – Julie

Buy Julie’s Books and CDs at


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