Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon A Scream. Remember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon A Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is Shannon Lawrence and recently talked to us about her writing:
My story is called The Black Undeath. It combines a mystery illness, born of the plague and leprosy, with Rumpelstiltskin, creating an entirely different sort of zombie. Can the queen discover the creepy little man’s name soon enough to save her infant son from becoming just like him?
What inspired the idea?
Oddly, what inspired the idea never made it into the story. I attended a talk by Connie Willis, in which she mentioned that people in neighboring towns would hear the church bells ringing the number of plague deaths. Eventually, the bells might fall silent. This factoid crept into my head. It was chilling. Can you imagine listening to the plague creeping closer, only to hear the silence fall?
I didn’t just want to talk about the plague, so I did some research. I found out missionaries/priests traveled to leper colonies frequently, and that they were a significant source of the plague getting around to communities, as they traveled everywhere, often being exposed and exposing others before they even knew they’d contracted it. So I wondered what would happen if the plague met leprosy. Then my story was born.
Earlier than I can remember for sure, but my love of writing began developing in fifth grade. It was my first time writing to a prompt, which was an exercise my teacher used off and on throughout the year. She frequently singled out my stories, putting them on display.
What are your favorite topics to write about?
I’m partial to all things horror, though I’ve yet to write a vampire. A fact which took me by surprise when I realized it. I tend toward Native American mythology in terms of monsters, in both my horror and fantasy. And I’m partial to human monsters, though I write plenty of critters with fur and tentacles.
What are some of your influences?
I hate to sound like a cliche, but Stephen King was my first influence in writing. I consumed his stories from middle school forward. I aspire to be able to write characters with the rich depth his characters show.
What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?
It’s fun. I love to get a rise out of people, to scare them, to make them check over their shoulders or get up to check the windows and doors. I once tormented my family on a late night drive up the Pacific Coast Highway in Oregon, convincing them that we were being followed. We were going through a heavily wooded area, lined here and there with abandoned shops. The moon couldn’t get through the trees. A car behind us kept pace, whether we accelerated or slowed. Not only were the hairs on the back of my neck up by the time I was finished, but my dad was subconsciously pushing the gas pedal further and further toward the floor, even though he knew full well we weren’t being followed.
I find horror cathartic in many ways. What the people in these stories go through is worse than my problems any day. It’s helpful to immerse myself in their fears instead of my own.
What are some of the works you have available?