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Life & Work with Joy Yehle

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joy Yehle.

Hi Joy, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m a Colorado native horror writer who has always loved dark stories. When I was a child, my grandma nicknamed me “Spooky” because I kept asking her to tell me the same ghost stories over and over. My dad was interested in Fortean subjects as well and that inspired the first story I ever wrote about aliens invading the earth when I was around five. In junior high, my aunt encouraged me to participate in poetry reading contests. I never won, but it was an interesting experience and I kind of hated it! Around that time a teacher harshly criticized my writing and I stopped pursuing it. Throughout college, professors commented that my writing was good, but when my toughest instructor told me my writing was a gift and I should use it, that creative writing spark was reawakened.

It still took some time to get traction because I was busy raising kids and supporting my husband’s small business in addition to my own work in information technology and education.

I started writing seriously about eight years ago. As a result of selling some short business pieces to various publications, I felt more confident in returning to creative fiction. My first novel, DREAD was published in 2016.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I wish it had been smooth! When I started writing DREAD, I still had three young kids at home, my dad had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and it seemed there was a new personal challenge at every turn. Writing was an escape in a way, but I find it very difficult to be creative when my mind and heart are overburdened with stress.

In addition to that, I had no idea what I was doing. I cringe when I think of those clumsy early writing, marketing, and submission mistakes. I’m not less clumsy now, but hopefully less cringe-worthy.

Still today, rejection letters, harsh reviews, and sharp critiques raise that voice from junior high and my own inner critic tells me that my work will never be good enough. It can derail me for a few days, but I always return to the page.

By its very nature, writing is a bumpy ride. My vehicle may be more robust now than it was when I first started, but I still run out of gas from time to time and the spare tire is flat more times than not. I’m so grateful that I can look to my extended writing community and family for a ride when all else fails.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
In addition to concentrating on my own work, I also feel it’s important to support the writing community, which I do through various venues.

The Denver Horror Collective is a group of horror writers that came together to support each other in 2017 and I serve on its steering committee and host its short critique groups. Since then, it has expanded beyond crit groups to host events and moved into small press publishing.

Before becoming a steering committee member, the Collective accepted my short story “There’s Something Up There” for the Terror at 5280′ anthology. I was so excited to see my name on the cover, along with my favorite author and fellow Coloradan, Stephen Graham Jones. A real dream come true!

I co-host the Burial Plot Horror Podcast with Brenda Tolian which features interviews with other horror writers and a platform to share their work.

I’m fortunate enough to have recently accepted a position as co-director of Ouroboros Screaming, an online learning space for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and female or female-identifying writers of horror, mystery, thrillers, dark fantasy, drama, and dark poetry.

Currently, I’m working on a novel set in west Denver and awaiting some acceptance (hopefully) letters for several short stories that are out on submission. I hope I’m best known for my style of writing that makes it feel like we are huddled around the campfire and I’m telling you a story that will make it impossible to fall asleep.

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
The Denver area is a robust place for writers. The scenery and outdoor opportunities provide plenty of inspiration for any creative. Born and raised in Denver, I think Coloradans are by and large friendly and curious people open to new experiences, and thankfully some of those experiences include horror. After all, we are home to the Stanley Hotel and haunted Cheesman Park. I just wish traffic didn’t make it so challenging to get out and enjoy all that the Front Range has to offer.


  • $20.00 a year for membership at The Denver Horror Collective

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