There is a place where sorrows pile up like snow and rest in your hair like cherry blossoms. Boys have wings, monsters fall in love, women fade into nothingness, and the bones of small children snap like twigs. Darkness will surely devour you–but it will be exquisitely lovely while doing so.
Mercedes M. Yardley’s Beautiful Sorrows is an ephemeral collection encompassing twenty-seven short tales full of devastation, death, longing, and the shining ribbon of hope that binds them all together.
KH: 1. Give us a little description/background/bio of yourself? Where did you grow up, etc?
MMY: I’m a rural girl! I grew up in a tiny Utah town that has about 2,000 people. It was small, and things seemed to move a little more slowly, or at least that was my perception. I met my husband in college, and we moved around a bit. From Seattle to Finland to Las Vegas. I think I’m very Girl-Next-Door, in stilettos. I’m comfortable here in the city, but I’ll always have a small town heart. I’m also somewhat of a geek. I love playing video games. I love them way too much.
KH: 2. How did you start writing? What motivated or inspired you?
MMY: I always wrote. All of my stuffed animals (I wasn’t much of a dolly girl) had elaborate back stories. My mom let me type on her old typewriter at home. She was actually my first editor, and came at me with the red pen at eight years old. I hated that pen, but she helped me learn the basics of writing that way. It’s one of those “You’ll thank me later!” things. I absolutely appreciate it now.
KH: 3. So you are touring now (congratulations!) and just came out with a new book! This is a binary question then – what is it about and how do we get our paws on it!?
MMY: Eeee, my first book! I’m so excited! I’ve been in several magazines and anthologies, but this is the first book that is completely and totally mine. Thank you for asking!
It’s a collection of short stories titled Beautiful Sorrows. There are 27 stories in there of varying lengths. One is literally two sentences long, and one is almost a novelette. They’re very fanciful and dark, I think. About monsters that love, about broken hearts and finding the hope in all of it. Above all, I’d say that it’s a collection about hope, although the theme is subtle.
And you can get it on Amazon! It’s available in both paperback and Kindle format. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can get a free Kindle app and read it on your computer. And, of course, you can get it from the Publisher’s store, which is at www.shocktotem.com.
KH: 4. What was the most exciting thing about writing this most recent piece of work?
MMY: It’s my first. My first literary baby to see the light of day in a book form, and I nearly wept when I held it in my hands for the first time. This is a dream coming true. This is what happiness feels like.
KH: 5. Who are some of your favorite authors/writers and why?
My favorites are pretty diverse. I grew up on Erma Bombeck, who was hilarious. I love Neil Gaiman, of course, and my favorite of his is Stardust. I love Christopher Barzak, who is just a doll besides being talented, and I’ve devoured everything I’ve ever read of Lee Thompson’s. It’s also important to me that writers be nice people as well as being talented. That makes me love them even more.
KH: 6. Now to fashion (sorry!). You are a shoe lover (yay!). What is your favorite pair of shoes you own?
MMY: Shoes! NEVER apologize about turning the conversation to fashion! It’s such a delightful, joyous subject. I pretty much live in either my tall black high heeled boots, but I think my favorite go-tos are a pair of four inch red stilettos with a darling peep toe. They’re comfortable, they make me 6’1” (I’m a tall girl) and they make any outfit instantly pop. I’ll cry bitter tears when they finally give up the ghost.
I also have some lovely black heels, and here’s a picture of them! I bought them and the flowers the day that I snagged my agent. Woo hoo!
Which brings me to you and your creativity with shoes! If you were to design a heel for me, what would it look like? I’m dying to know!
KH: I am feeling some blacks, grays and a hint of red! Possibly some wings even.. but I mustn’t share any more!
KH: 7. What are your grocery-store must-haves?
MMY: Coke Zero, hands down. I actually texted my husband the other day and said, “I’m out of Coke and I’m feeling murderous.” He came home with about 12 liters. I’m also addicted to those sugared orange slice candies. Although I’m trying to ease off the sugar now, which is killing me.
KH: 8. What is your spirit animal?
MMY: I’ve always been drawn to sharks and butterflies. I don’t think I could choose between the two. Sharks represent fearlessness, intuition, and survival. Butterflies represent metamorphosis, beauty, and creativity. It’s an unusual combination, but so is being a muffin-baking horror writer. Ah well. I’m a Pisces. Contradictions are a way of life.
KH: 9. Do you write every day? If so, is it like doodling for artists?
MMY: Ideally I’d write every day! I have this fantasy where the kids are at school (or better yet, Grandma’s) the phone is off, and I have time to sit and write. As it is, I have three crazy kids and an even crazier life. As we speak, I hear my husband using the drill and the hacksaw in the kitchen because he’s helping me with a huge demonstration that I have tomorrow. So I try to get in as much writing as I can, even if it’s only a sentence or two. But I’d love to have a standing date with writing, and some real quality time with her.
KH: 10. What advice do you have for young people pursuing their dreams?
MMY: Your dreams are absolutely attainable. Other people have done it, so why can’t you? You’re just as amazing, intelligent, and fabulous as they are. The internet makes information easy to get, so you can research what you need to learn in order to achieve your goals. I’d also suggest finding somebody a few steps ahead of you in the game to give you some advice. It’s easy to be motivated if you see that others in your crowd are achieving success. And be nice! Kindness goes a long way in any business.
Please support the fabulous Mercedes and go read her book and share it with others.
And next week the Khenri Luxe Collection will be debuted. You’re going to love it!
Read past interviews I’ve done here:
Daniel Batallés – photographer – Buenos Aires, Argentina
iron leaf press – designing, letterpress, Danielle Ameling – Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Jerri Valentine – makeup artist/photographer – Des Moines, Iowa
My Vicarious Life – fashion blogger, editor, Katrice – Atlanta, Georgia
Body By Svec – artist, Emily Svec – Des Moines, Iowa
808 Shirts – screenprinters, Tampa Bay, Florida
Sara Fakhraie – artist, South Dakota
Wesley Cook (donate to his kickstarter project) – musician, Atlanta, Georgia
Brolester Records, Jeremiah Tuhn, record label – Des Moines, Iowa
Atom St. George – artist, Riverside, California
John Eric Booth – vocalist, West Virginia
Brent Houzenga – artist, New Orleans
Adrienne Gross of justADG – photographer, Des Moines, Iowa
Harley May – writer and comic, The South