Chopping it up with Crystal Connor – the Trusted Name in Terror

by Kenya Moss-Dyme

This award-winning Bram Stoker nominee is also a bougie glamper and pet mom to a spoiled Fox Rat Terrier named Ceaira LaShae Napoleon Connor, who just so happens to have her own Facebook page.

I’m so excited to interview the Trusted Name in Terror, especially during Black Women in Horror Month!

Are you kidding me dude, I’m excited to be here!

First, we’re gonna do a round of Random Shit About Crystal. Five quick random questions:

Fastest way for a guest at your house to piss you off?

Oh, damn we’re just jumping right on in uh? Ok so I am a triple Virgo my Sun and rising signs are both Virgo and my moon is in Cancer which has strong Virgo traits so the quickest way to get kicked out is to touch or move my stuff.

Doordash or will you cook?

Cook. If I want gourmet burgers or chain restaurant Italian food I’ll just go eat there because I don’t like eating lukewarm or cold food that’s supposed to be enjoyed hot.

Freddie, Jason or Michael in a fight – who are you riding with?

Freddie because he’s a bundle package with insomnia and insomnia is a monster in its own right.

A gift card to any place you choose – what’s it gonna be?

Kicking Horse Mountain resort in Canada. The year before Covid-19 I was there to cross there via ferrata (a sky bridge between two mountains) but I wasn’t prepared for how tough the hike would be to get to the bridge and I only made it half way across before turning back. I want to go back and finish it.

Gym shoes or flip flops?

Both! And 6-inch heels.

Thanks for playing along! Before we get into this huge project you kicked off this year, let’s talk about your books.

Out of all of your work, what are YOU most proud of? And would you change anything about it?

Well, after I finish a project it becomes my favorite, lol All of those projects as a collective is what has brought me here, so I wouldn’t change anything.

I don’t think enough people know about your ABCs of Horror book for kids, titled My 1st Nightmare. Tell us more about that one.

Oh my gosh, so it all started when a fan of mine came up to me at a horror convention and said I should write a horror book and I laughed it off because I traumatize adults, why would I do that to a kid.

I remember being in an airport 6 or 7 years ago and I saw a preteen reading The Darkness and she was crying her eyes out.

I felt so bad because I don’t write for kids and seeing her like that only reinforced that notion. When I was on tour at Days of the Dead in Kansas a 13-year-old girl came up to my booth to buy a copy of The Darkness. I asked her if she wanted to take a selfie but she didn’t have her phone. Turns out she was on restriction and she renegotiated the terms and conditions of her punishment because she really wanted to meet me and get a copy of The Darkness.

Her parents bought a day pass, came straight to my booth and immediately marched her back out. But while she was there, she asked if I had anything for her little brother who couldn’t have been older than 7. I didn’t.

The final straw was at a party I was complaining about how my fans were asking me to write a children’s book. And one of the guys there said “my kid’s 1st nightmare thanks to Crystal Connor” and everyone started laughing so I started to really think about it.

So, I came up with the concept of introducing kids to the horror genre by using actual myths, legends, and folklore from all around the world. I was really worried about the cost because illustrators aren’t cheap and I need a LOT of illustrations.

So, I reached out to the artist I have been working with for several years who help develop my logo a brand. I told him what I wanted. It was a heavy lift because I wanted a custom alphabet, 26 country flags and all the monsters redrawn to be suitable for children and icon legends. And the numbers he came back with were stunning. I asked him not to low ball it because I was a client and he said he wasn’t. So, I started to get excited because it was in budget. But I still needed illustrations of the narrators and all the kids from around the world who would be encountering the monsters.

I reached out to an African American award-winning children’s illustrator and told her what I wanted to do because I wanted to know how much I’d need to save, beg, or borrow in order to have the type of illustrations I wanted.

I was floored with the numbers she came back with it was a little out of my budget, it was in reach if I just ate spam and noodles. I knew my long-term illustrator was giving me the homie hook up but I had never worked with this illustrator before so I was confused as to why she would give me a homie hook up. So, I emailed her back and asked if that quote was for everything. And she confirmed and even offered a pay-as-you-go option so I was able to purchase 5 images at a time. And after that it was all systems go. This was one of the most fun and stressful projects to date. It was stressful because the stories are from other people’s cultures and I didn’t want to make any mistakes. So, I took my time and really did my research. Super happy about this book turned out. And now it’s priced affordably so everyone can buy a copy!

Anyone who follows you knows that you watch a lot of movies. Name some of your favorites that you just never get tired of rewatching?

Ok, so my favorite horror genre is religious horror and my favorite right now is a 3-way tie between Blumhouse’s “Mercy” (2014), IFC’s “Welcome to Mercy” (2018), and Vincent Grashaw’s “What Josiah Saw” (2022).

Okay, you were teasing a surprise and then you burst out with a whole film festival!! (mind blown) BIG congratulations!! Tell us more about that – how’s it going?

LOL, thank you! OMG I am having so much fun, of course I am super nervous because no one has a horror film festival like this. My festival is called Cabin in The Woods Film Festival. When you are attending film festivals all the films have already be judged. But with mine the films are going to be judged by the VIP Cabin Guest who will be watching these films in a cabin in the woods!

What’s different about yours compared to other film festivals of a similar size?

So besides that, another thing that makes my festival different from all the other awesome horror film festivals is that theater is a small and intimate venue.

I cover film festivals with Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor. Sometimes I don’t get to interview the filmmakers I want because there are so many people there and other times interviews aren’t viable because there is so much background noise. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE attending huge festivals. I love all the people, the chaotic vibe and being in a theater screaming at the people in horror films along with everyone else. But I also like the vibe of a smaller festival so I decided to combine the two.

Attending a festival can be costly but with Cabin in The Woods Film Festival all tiers of ticketing are all-inclusive. Another thing that’s different is the virtual film track. For those who will be logging on from home will be treated to a film track that is completely different from those who are attending in person. The guest from home will be able to sign in to the festival’s social wall. They will be able to ‘meet’ other festival guest and compete in contest to win awesome prizes. Even though they will be at home they will still be able to enjoy a festival experience.

What are the requirements for someone to submit their film to The Cabin in the Woods film festival?

Sure, the biggest requirement is the run time. This festival celebrates short horror films and is accepting films of 30 minutes or less. All film must be horror or horror adjacent, international films must have English sub-titles, and of course any film with hate speech will be immediately disqualified.    

Are there dreams or plans for Crystal to go deeper into the world of moviemaking? Screenwriting? Directing? Producing?

Well, I’ve already written two screenplays. One is being reviewed for an anthology and the other I am going to enter into contest and see if I can get it made. But other than that, I just wanna live a rock star writer’s life by attending conventions and posing on the red carpet of film festivals.

Any appearances this year? Any cons or events where fans can pick up some books and merch?

I’m not attending any cons this year but I am going to be attending more film festivals and pushing really hard to get my promoted so I’m super happy you’re giving me this huge shout out. Again, thanks for having me, this was really fun.

Crystal is an author of Horror, Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy, the host of “Live Action Reviews!”, and a popular correspondent for horror events. She’s also one of our 100+ Black Women in Horror – pick up a copy of the book and learn more about her work!

Visit Cabin in the Woods Film Festival to learn more and submit your film!


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