I live in Louisiana, born and raised. I’m a licensed clinical social worker having worked in a variety of places including a psychiatric hospital, correctional facility, and in child welfare. I’ve conducted investigations, including a death (natural causes, but to determine if there was negligence). I’ve had the experience of talking to killers, prostitutes, and drug dealers.
When did you start writing and what drew you specifically to horror?
I started writing as a kid, like a lot of authors I know. My first love of horror came from watching vintage horror movies. Then I discovered horror and mystery comic books as a kid. Still I never considered writing horror. I wanted to write mystery novels. I started my first one at age ten.
What inspired you to write “Only By Moonlight”? How does your heritage influence your storytelling?
Only By Moonlight is a part of the LaShaun Rousselle series. In this book the evil she inspired (Night Magic) comes back again, this time the entity targets her fiancé, Chase. Southern culture is expressed in the way I tell stories, very visual and lots of dialog. Also southerners are very much into history, especially family history. So my stories tend to always reach back into the past as a way to explain why current events are happening.
“Only By Moonlight” has significant voodoo elements. As a native of Louisiana, do you feel that many writers and filmmakers portray voodoo inaccurately in books and film? How do you address this in your work?
For you, what makes a great horror or dark fantasy tale? What do you like to read?
I like to read the human side of people doing horrible things. I’m not into the monsters with dripping fangs, or bodies being ripped apart. The best horror or fantasy has great characterization with strong internal and external conflict.
What scares you?
Not selling books! Just kidding (sort of LOL). What scares me is the normal face of a “monster”. The lover, husband, relative you think you know, but don’t know at all; also the beautiful “monster” that has an almost supernatural ability to seduce people into doing what they want, following them, etc.
How can African American artists (actors, writers, filmmakers) succeed in horror and dark fantasy fiction circles? How can women? Do you feel your work has been received differently as a Black female author?
Success has different meanings, and that’s not a cliché. So I’ll have to assume you mean financial success, since in American culture becoming rich and famous is considered “success”. Let’s talk AOC, Authors of Color, because the world is not black and white. To succeed, we need to keep writing and marketing just like any other artist. We need to attend the big Cons, which more and more of us are doing. Authors like Milton Davis, Balogun Otejade, Cerece Rennie Murphy, and Crystal Connor are also submitting to be on panels. Networking is key. Male or female, it’s the same.
What’s your next project?
I’m currently writing the second book my in Triple Trouble Mystery series. Once I finish the book, I’ll write three more LaShaun Rousselle books.
What’s missing in fiction? What shape would you like to see the future of horror take?
There is nothing missing in fiction. How could it be? There are more writers putting out books than ever. Any genre, cross genre, characters, plots you fancy I can bet a key word search will get you what you want. I have no designs on saying how horror should develop. To me that would be a waste and frankly a bit arrogant. I mean, who am I to make pronouncements? LOL Humans are endlessly creative. All I have to do is follow along and keep waiting. What people come up with in fiction (movies and TV) never fails to delight me. If I don’t see what I want, I’ll write it. Chances are dozens of people will do the same.
How can regional and cultural horror become more mainstream and recognizable to the wider horror fan base?
We have to keep producing quality work, with quality packaging and market what we’ve created. It’s that simple. Proselytizing about diversity, that people of color are just as talented, etc. means squat IMO. Find people who want a good story, sell it to them with quality as I just mentioned and build our audiences. There is no magic to it.
What’s the most difficult part of writing for you?
Sigh- mustering my creative energy after working all day. That’s my challenge. Writing is not only mentally exhausting, but physically exhausting as well.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I go scuba diving in caves and zip line in the jungles of Costa Rica in my spare time. I’m kidding of course. LOL. I do mundane stuff, so boring I’m embarrassed to list it.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
The Kaleidoscope Author Collective was formed in February 2014. We’re AOC, Authors of Color, who write horror, fantasy, science fiction, thrillers and mystery fiction. We produced our first catalogue and a digital copy is available. Our first project is to spread the news about our books to physical bookstores across the USA. We don’t have a website, but plan to create one. I’ll be happy to share a copy of the catalogue with any booksellers or book lovers.
writerly at: darkgeisha.wordpress.com (@EdenRoyce)