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Hi! I'm Eliza. I started writing when I was seven, and I never stopped. I live in the second-snarkiest city in the South with my husband, three sons, and two large dogs. Mine is well-behaved. My husband's is not. On the right day, I'll admit that I desperately miss South Carolina, especially my friends and the Congaree swamp (You think I made that thing up? I didn't).
These days, I write Southern Gothic horror, science fiction, and speculative poetry. My novella, Naked & Famous, was published by ELJ Editions in July, and my poetry chapbook, Wrapped in a Burning Flag, comes out in February of 2024.
I like playing in the same sandboxes. In fourth grade, I made my class laugh with a series of stories about a klutzy knight and his Thanksgiving turkey sidekick. Most of my horror takes place in a backwoods South Cack town named Lower Congaree, and most of my sci-fi happens in a universe with the same bio-AI people called "Sim-Mes." My poetry tends to be anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, and anti-racist.
During my MFA at the University of South Carolina, George Singleton asked my class to write a short story. I handed him a 11K word novelette (oops) called Naked & Famous. It was a semi-finalist for the William Faulkner/William Wisdom awards. That same year, I was a top-ten finalist for their novel-in-progress category (I didn't have many friends in grad school, especially after they banned me from the James Dickey MFA awards. I won them with a blind submission process three years in a row).
Many years later, I rediscovered Naked & Famous. After several drafts, it was accepted by two publishers the same day—one day after submission. I decided to go with EJL Editions. Never give up on the work you love! It was published on July 19th, 2023, the first book I've done under my own name.
As Annabeth Chatwin, I wrote ten young adult novels for LGBTQIA+ kids. My husband's high school students didn't have any books about living as a gay or bisexual teen in the American South, so I wrote them (I didn't want his kids to know they were his wife's, so I used a pseudonym. He Called Me Beautiful, a book about two boys growing up just post-Matthew Shepard, was a gold-banner winner on Amazon for over a year.
Since then, I've turned to Southern Gothic horror. Most of it takes place in my fake county, Legare (that's Luh-gree, because South Carolinians never pronounce anything right), in the town of Lower Congaree, surrounded my a chaos deity of an swamp. Most involve the Merle women, family of swamp witches.
I became a speculative fiction author in June of 2022. After several poems were accepted quickly, I branched into horror and sci-fi. Before that, I had a long career as a journalist and essayist. For more than six years, I was a staff writer at Scary Mommy, the largest parenting news site on the web. While I wrote a lot about mental health and attachment parenting, my favorite essays were funny—especially those dealing with politics and the Murdaugh murders. I especially love my scathing essay on Moms for Liberty, my takedown of Q-Anon, and my essay about Cocaine Bear. I still marvel that I sneaked it past the amazing Sam Angoletta, my longtime editor. She knows all my secrets, and if she still loves me, well, I feel pretty good about that.
During that time, I also wrote for The Washington Post, Time Magazine, Insider, and more. I appeared on NPR, MSNBC, CNN, and the BBC World News. I talked a lot of race, though my BBC interview was a scathing indictment of AI tech in the writing field. Conservative commentator Joe Walso called me "everything wrong with American today" in a since-deleted tweet.
Still one of my proudest moments.
I still live in the South. I have three writing mottos:
I'll never write anything without breaking the rules again, because now I understand that's the whole point of everything.
—Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians
Make horror gay as f*ck.
My favorite authors as William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Flannery O'Connor, and Thomas Wolf. My favorite books change, but my main influences come from The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!, and the short stories of Fitzgerald and O'Connor.
When it comes to TV, I love The Magicians, Fringe, The X-Files, Twin Peaks, and Arrested Development, Aquateen Hunger Force and The Venture Brothers.
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