Here’s another author I’ve introduced you to before, but not quite like this. My fellow Lady of Horror, Loren Rhoads, returns to answer some questions about her horror writing process. Enjoy!
I’m so excited it’s October. Thank you for letting me interview you.
Thank you so much for having me!
Today we are sitting down with Loren Rhoads to talk about Lost Angels and Angelus Rose and what makes her tick.
So, you’re a horror author. When did you first realize you loved horror?
The first stories I remember hearing were horror stories. My mom read fairy tales to me and my brother when we were little. I remember Cinderella’s sisters cutting off their heel or toes to fit into the glass slipper, which then filled with blood. And the Little Match Girl, who freezes to death in the snow — definitely horror.
(Interviewer comments: It’s nice to hear about moms who read the grim tales rather than the Disney versions. Applause for your mom!)
Where do your scary story ideas come from?
Travel! Every place you go has an unsavory history, from the closed ranks of people in small towns in Michigan to the dream-crushing industries of Los Angeles to the ancient monsters roaming Europe and the unforgiving ghosts of Japan. I love to discover the fables and legends of places when I travel.
You’re on an abandoned farm. You have 3 monsters—Pennywise, a scarecrow, and Pinhead— headed your way. Who do you kill first and what weapon do you use? Will you survive?
I’d give Pinhead a copy of Lost Angels to read (I think he’d appreciate my succubus heroine), douse Pennywise with kerosene and zap him with a cattle prod, and then set the scarecrow on fire. Then Pinhead and I could sit down by scarecrow-light and he could tell me how to spice up future stories about Lorelei.
(Interviewer comments: Clever, clever!)
Are you afraid of the dark?
Not anymore. The ghostly stuff in my old house has finally settled down. Now I’m comfortable roaming around it in the dark. I still won’t sleep with the closet door open, though. I’m not crazy.
Trick or treat or pass out candy, which Halloweener are you?
I love trick or treating, but my kid is 16. Now she wants me to drop her off at a friend’s house so they can go off by themselves. We don’t get trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood, so giving out candy isn’t an option. I’m afraid I’m going to be one of those adults who go get coffee on Halloween night so I can see the kids in costume.
(Interviewer comments: Nothing wrong with a little pumpkin spice latte on a Halloween night!)
So many books, so little time. What’s one horror book you’ll never get tired of?
Every time I read Dracula, I find something new in it. I’ve read it over and over. I’ve read several different annotated versions, a fair amount of the analysis and history, and listened to the audio book — which is brilliant, by the way. The cast includes Tim Curry as Van Helsing and Alan Cumming as Dr. Seward.
(Interviewer comments: That’s some audio book! Sounds fascinating!)
Which book was the hardest to write for you? Why?
Angelus Rose, the one I’m finishing now, has been unexpectedly challenging. The original draft was written in the late 90s as a massive phone book-sized novel. It took more than a ream of paper to print it out.
I cut the book in half — there was a natural climax halfway through — and the first half was published as Lost Angels a couple of years ago. I thought it would be quick to polish up the second half and get it into print, but no. To get the book to stand on its own, I needed to reintroduce the characters and the conflicts. That turned out to be much harder emotionally and creatively than I expected.
(Interviewer comments: I have done that with my fantasy series. Cutting books in half or even thirds is a lot harder than it seems.)
I’m almost done now. I hope Angelus Rose will be out before the end of the year.
And finally, what three pieces of advice would you give a fledgling horror writer?
First: befriend other horror writers. Writing is lonely work and not easy to survive alone, especially for horror writers. Other writers can reality check you and provide advice, strategies, and sympathy.
The best thing I’ve learned about knocking the words out is that if you get stuck, change where you write. When I get stuck pounding out the text on my laptop at home, I love to go to a cafe with a composition book and write longhand. I also write in the car when I’m waiting for my kid to get out of school. Sometimes I write sprawled out in bed. Even moving from my desk to the sofa can help. Changing where you are can free up your thoughts.
Finally, Scrivener has been a game-changer for me. It’s a program that allows you to organize your writing. I use it for noveling because I write mosaic multi-point of view novels out of order. I really like to piece scenes together, making sure to juggle all the character arcs. Scrivener makes that a snap.
I also use Scrivener for nonfiction. It allows me to keep my notes in a separate file alongside my chapters. In addition, I use it for tracking my guest blog posts for each book. I can see what’s done, what’s out, and what’s been published.
It also allows you to assemble an ebook, so it was good for putting together my collections of the Alondra stories.
The learning curve is fairly steep, but Scrivener has improved my writing life immensely.
About the Author