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 Laurel Anne Hill and recently talked to us about her writing:
What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?
My short story is “Commanding the Stones,” about Yana, a middle-aged Russian-American woman on a business trip to Paris with her husband in 1995. In “Commanding the Stones,” a murder, Yana’s troubled marriage, her mysterious benefactor, and a Russian fairy tale—a twisted variant of “The Stone Flower”—add up to terror and redemption in the sewers of Paris.
What inspired the idea?
My love of Russian fairy tales and painted lacquer boxes sparked the initial inspiration. Then I visited Paris during the month of November in 1999. Through the rain and chill, a story line emerged.
When did you start writing?
I started writing before I could read. I created stories and my older sister wrote them down. I illustrated them with pictures from comic books and magazines. My first short story was published—in the kids’ section of a major San Francisco newspaper—when I was eleven. The piece was absolutely terrible, but I had no clue. The San Francisco News paid me $2, enough for eight double-feature movies way back then.
Many of the stories I craft have inspirational premises. Worthiness is rewarded. The power of love, honor, faith and duty can surmount daunting obstacles and transform lives. But I also like to write about the jolting “rewards” unworthiness can bring, and the sometimes blurred line between virtue and vice. Whatever I write, I love using my imagination.
What are some of your influences?
Without a doubt, atmosphere and music influence the direction of many of my stories. Between 1999 and 2005, for example, I made three trips to Paris—all during the November time frame. When first working on “Commanding the Stones,” I took the Paris sewer tour. The unpleasant taste of the air near an underground sewer drain let me picture ominous things happening to my protagonist. My mind processed the many details of the scene. Back home in California, I listened to Russian Orthodox chants to set my mood, allowing ancient magic and mysteries to merge with modern times as I worked.
The physiological reaction a scary movie produces in me. The increase in my heart rate and breathing. The tensing of my muscles. It’s like I’m the one in danger. I’ve had a half-dozen or so close brushes with death—experiences that had nothing to do with movies. During those times, survival—and the various chemicals released into my bloodstream to secure it—exhilarated me. Not so with movies. When an empathetic character on the screen escapes death, I feel more exhaustion than elation. When I read horror, however, my brain does a better job of moderating the intensity of my physical reaction. Maybe that’s why I prefer scary books to scary movies in recent years, although I do adore both.
What are some of the works you have available?
My award-winning novel, HEROES ARISE, and many of my thirty published short stories are available through Amazon. To listen to my stories I’ve recorded (including award-winning “Flight of Destiny” and “The Grave of Mario Bandini”) go here. For my darker short stories in print, read “Wings of Revenge” (in The Wickeds), “Till Death Do Us Part” (in Horrible Disasters), “The Vengeance Garden” (in Spells and Swashbucklers) and “Fowl Consequences” (in Fault Zone: Diverge).
What are you currently working on?
My novel, The Engine Woman’s Light (a spirits-meet-steampunk, weird west tale) was accepted for publication by Sand Hill Review Press last month. I anticipate it will be available in 2017. I’m preparing to serve as editor for the next Fault Zone Anthology. That, too, will release in 2017. Also, I’ve started working on a short story for Horror Addicts’ next anthology. For long-term projects, I’ll either return to a novel-in-progress (magical realism) set in Mexican California, or start a new one based on my recently-published fantasy short story, “Going Revolutionary.”
Where can we find you online?
For Facebook here.