Mothers of the Roundtable Author Spotlight: Renee Cronley

May 8, 2023

R. Leigh Hennig gathered many of the amazing authors from Mother: Tales of Love and Terror for a council at the roundtable about writing, mothers, and horror. Join us as we pop in for a brief spotlight on how the stories of Mother, and their makers, worked their horrible magic to create this book.


Author Spotlight: Renee Cronley, author of  “She’s Untouchable”


Q: What inspired your story?

A: The submission call.  I read it and immediately knew my theme, and that it would be a free-verse narrative poem.  I wish it was always that easy.   


Q: Thematically, what was important for you to include?

A: Maternal protectiveness with a dark twist and how that can be applied to breaking trauma cycles.  Through horror, I wanted to convey a mother’s strength to channel the darkness once perpetrated on her and apply it to protect her daughter from dangerous people. 


Q: Do you ever see yourself revisiting the topic or theme of your story?

A: Absolutely. This topic and theme appear in many of my pieces.  


Q: Did you know what you wanted to do with this story from the start, or did it surprise you?

A: I knew the theme, and with that, the plot took shape pretty quickly.  But getting to the end and tying all the pieces of the poem together to make it cohesive is always a surprising journey. 


Q: What was your process for writing this, and did that at all differ from your usual approach?

A: I have various approaches to writing poetry.  I start by knowing either the theme, the plot, a random line, some version of an ending or beginning, or any combination of these.  My creative process is a scattered one.  In this case, I knew the theme, the plot, and the line of having to do with living on the maternal edge of a blade came shortly after.  From there, I worked with phrasing that sprung from ‘blade’, like ‘knife’, ‘cut’, etc, and the poem progressed from there.  I did, however, really struggle with the ending.  So I had a couple of fellow writers critique the poem, and I finalized the ending 20 minutes before the deadline. It was a close call. 


Q: If there were ever a FATHER anthology put together as a sequel, would you follow that up, or write something totally new?

A: It would be a new piece altogether. I doubt the plot or theme would spring into my mind so readily.  


Q: Do you have any thoughts on turning this story into something longer, or do you feel the tale has been told?

A: I think this tale has been told.  But I will return to this theme.


Q: Have you explored these themes before, and if so, to what depth?

A: I have explored this theme many times, be it in poetry, short stories, or the standalone horror novel marinating in my mind. 


Q: What would you like readers to take away from your story?

A: Mothers are a force to be reckoned with.


Q: If your own mother could read this story, would you send it to her? Why or why not?

A: I imagine she will at one point.  As long as she knows in advance that no children die in it, she will read it.


Q: Why did you decide to submit to this anthology? Was there something particular that called to you?

A: It was horror themed, and I could integrate trauma and a mother’s fierce love for her child. The anthology was right up my alley.  There are some submission calls that just call to me, and this was one of them.


Q: Are there any style/technique choices you made particular to this submission? How did they help you tell the story?

A: It was important to me to use powerful imagery to elicit potent emotions in the reader.  I also used some alliteration to help the poem roll off the tongue nicely.


Renee Cronley is a writer and nurse from Southern Manitoba. She enjoys long walks in the cemetery and hates when people chew with their mouths open. Her work has appeared in PRISM international, Love Letters to Poe, Dark Dispatch, NewMyths.com, Black Hare Press, Off Topic and several other anthologies and literary magazines. Find Renee on Twitter via @reneecronley.
Fracture by Mercedes M. Yardley - Mother: Tales of Love and Terror

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