We recently published Audrey Hawkes’ haunting “A Beginner’s Guide to Summoning Bloody Mary.”

Here, we ask her two questions about her story:

1) I love that line about belief — ” You don’t think a magazine can make you love a boy and you don’t think a chant will make a ghost appear in a mirror.” It had me holding my breath for the narrator as they hold Tara’s hand. They are so young here — do you think they will ever be able to tell Tara how they feel?

Thank you, that’s one of my favorite moments as well! A lot of the emotions the narrator is processing were based on my own experience of being a tween and trying to understand all the strong, new emotions and those first inklings of romantic feelings… it can feel very overwhelming and scary when you’re 12! Especially when you think you’re not feeling them the “right” way. But I’d like to imagine that someday when they’re both a little older, things will work out for them, and they will tell Tara how they feel.

2) Bloody Mary has been around forever, it seems, but the way to summon her seems to change from generation to generation. Except, of course, that triple repetition of her name: “Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary.” Have you ever tried to summon her?

I’ve definitely been coerced into trying to summon Bloody Mary by friends and family when I was younger, but it always terrified me! Even now as an adult, I rationally know it’s not real, but there’s still that tiny part of me that gets nervous about it. That’s the feeling I wanted to capture with this story, as well — walking that line between what you know to be real and what you hope (or fear) might be real.