Our featured author for episode 121 of the horror addicts podcast is Eden Royce. Eden is no stranger to horroraddicts.net. She was one of the contributing authors to Horror Addicts Guide To Life and in episode 112 of the podcast Eden read an excerpt from her book Containment. Recently Eden Royce answered a few questions on her writing:
When did you start writing?
My response was: “A TV and I sat down and watched Bugs Bunny.” My mother still has the newspaper clipping somewhere. I’ve taken several breaks from writing since then, but I’ve been (sort of) consistently writing since 2007.
What subjects do you like to write about?
I love writing Gothic horror and dark fantasy, most especially about the magic systems of indigenous peoples. My roots are in Southern conjure and that pops up often in my work. I’ve realized recently that a lot of my work falls into the category of magic realism, where everyday events and situations exist alongside magic and aren’t considered by the characters to be out of the ordinary.
You’ll also find demons and devils featuring prominently in my stories as well, and not always as the villain. I write the occasional historical piece as well.
I like to change and mix genres, especially when I’m feeling stuck on a story or disenchanted with writing. (It happens…) So I’ve also written steampunk, literary fiction, poetry, and romance, all with varying amounts of success.
Who are some of your influences?
The women in my family—some of them hoodoo conjure practitioners, some of them teachers and Renaissance women—have influenced me the most. I feel their stories need a voice.
As far as other writers, I find myself re-reading Poe and Du Maurier for all of the creepy disturbia. Modern authors I love include Jewell Parker Rhodes, Margaret Atwood, and Terri Windling. I also love mythology and epics, so I have to add Aesop and Homer and Virgil.
What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?
I find it fascinating that horror has some of the staunchest fans in fiction. A genre dedicated to unnerving and terrifying the reader seems to grow every year even though security and safety are otherwise a priority for most people. Maybe reading and watching horror creates and atmosphere of a controllable fear, so it can be processed as excitement or intensity. Horror is such a primal emotion. Everyone experiences it in one form or another. It crosses age, race, culture, gender to become something that unites us.
I also find horror is a genre that lends itself well to fusion: horror/comedy, sci-fi horror, horrotica…all of these blend terror with strong, established genres and increase its chilling reach.
What subject do you plan on reading about for episode 121:
My theme today is Southern Gothic horror.
Southern Gothic horror stories use the macabre, and the grotesque, to explore the ideals and the social issues of the American South—with all of its flaws and imperfections intact—while keeping the creepy, unsettling characteristics of Gothic fiction: fear, horror, madness and death.
It also employs magical realism, where magical elements and events occur in otherwise ordinary and realistic situations.
There are many great works of Southern Gothic literature, but few of them include people of color as strong point of view characters—even fewer in the horror genre—and I wanted Spook Lights to do that. My great-aunt was a local rootworker and one of my fondest memories is sitting at the dining room table listening to her stories. Even after my move to England last year, these stories have stayed with me. So, I’m sharing with you an excerpt from my Southern Gothic horror short story collection, Spook Lights.
Where Can we find you online:
About Spook Lights:
Pull up a rocking chair and sit a spell. Soak in these tales of Southern Gothic horror: A woman’s search for her mother drags her into the binding embrace of a monster, A witch doctor’s niece tells him a life-altering secret, an investigator who keeps a 100% confession rate….
These are stories where the setting itself becomes a character-fog laced cemeteries, sulfur rich marshes-housing creatures that defy understanding and where the grotesque and macabre are celebrated. The true horror is in what you can’t see…until it’s sitting right next to you.
“Eden Royce delivers a sultry and spicy dose of Southern Gothic. The stories are rich in flavor and clever in metaphor, the horrors completely surreal or-far more unnerving-all too possible. She brings a refreshing perspective to the table that paranormal lovers are sure to enjoy.” -B.D. Bruns, author of The Gothic Shift
“You don’t just read these tales, you are there and a part of them from start to end. You can smell the grass, feel the moonlight, get goosebumps with a cool breeze – and your hair will stand on end. And death – sometimes you can smell death.” –The Horror Review
“You can feel the warm thick air, the rich history and legends, the desperation of the impoverished, and the deep horror of the betrayed.” -Roma Gray, author of Gray Shadows Under a Harvest Moon
Eden Royce is descended from women who practiced root, a type of conjure magic in her native Charleston, South Carolina. She currently lives in Kent, The Garden of England.
Eden is a writer for The 7 Magpies project: a short horror film anthology written and directed entirely by black women. She reviews books for Hellnotes, and writes a regular feature for Graveyard Shift Sisters, where she interviews black female authors and reviews their work.
When she’s not writing, she’s watching quiz shows, or perfecting her signature dish for Masterchef. More about Eden’s brand of horror is on her website: edenroyce.com.