As C. Le Mroch, she’s published The Shadow Stalker and edited the anthology, Shadow People and Cursed Objects: 13 Tales of Terror Based on True Stories…or are they?
When it comes to horror, Courtney has great taste. We discussed several things, including: horror/comedy, writing, and her unconventional anthology.
NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Courtney! Thank you for chatting with me.
CM: Thank you so much for having me!
NTK: “Haunt Jaunts” used to be a paranormal travel site and radio show but has recently changed. Tell us about “Haunted Headlines” and what those entail.
CM: Haunted Headlines is a new weekly series of posts and videos I started doing in April of this year. In the posts, I share all sorts of Haunted Headlines I’ve come across for the week. Then, I highlight the best—which to me usually means the funniest or most outrageous—in a video. I post these to HJ’s YouTube and Facebook pages.
NTK: What got you interested in “Haunted Headlines?” Have you always enjoyed humor and horror?
CM: Oh, yes! Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE straight horror, the kind that terrifies and lingers long after it’s been consumed, but I also love humor. The Haunted Headlines were sort of a whim. Around April Fool’s Day, I made all sorts of prank headlines. And, I’m always sharing paranormal, horror, and Halloween related links on my social media. The light just sort of clicked to get a green screen and combine it with pictures and funny commentary about the stories I come across each week. Well, to me, it’s funny. Not sure if others share my same humor.
NTK: When did you become involved in horror? How old were you and what drew you to the genre?
CM: I think I was three when I got my first taste of horror. It’s actually one of my first memories. I couldn’t sleep or something. That part, I don’t remember. All I remember is being up late, wandering out in the living room, turning on the TV, and finding an old horror movie on. I have no idea which one it was. I turned it on during a scene with a dungeon and stone spiral steps and scary music. I’m not sure if one of the characters screamed or if I did, but my dad came racing out to find me up watching it and was livid. I think because that whole incident terrified, yet intrigued me, horror was like this forbidden no-no. And I was always the kid who had to touch the stove to find out for myself if it was hot so…I’ve sought out horror ever since. Part of me thinks I’m on a quest to discover that old movie. I’ve watched A LOT of horror movies but I never have figured out what that movie was…yet.
NTK: I hope you find that movie. What’s your favorite horror/comedy?
CM: Horror/Comedy…that’s a tough one. Shaun of the Dead always comes to mind and so does Zombieland. But, after streaming Tucker and Dale vs. Evil a couple years ago, I think that’s now my fave. I wasn’t expecting to like it and found myself laughing out loud and cracking up.
NTK: Are these films among your favorite movies?
CM: Actually, those are not among my favorite horror movies. My faves are: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Dawn of the Dead (2005), Night of the Comet, and The Night of the Hunter with Robert Mitchum (which isn’t technically horror but it scared me.)
NTK: I love the “Night” theme there. What are your favorite horror books?
CM: As far as books, it took me forever to read because Stephen King’s IT because it creeped me out so bad. It’s always a sentimental fave. Dean Koontz’s Phantoms also ranks up there high on my list.
NTK: I have to ask. Do you prefer King or Koontz?
CM: It’s such a tough choice between King and Koontz. I like them both for different reasons. Depends on the mood.
NTK: What about TV? What shows do you like?
CM: I think we now have access to some of the best horror TV shows in the history of the Boob Tube. There are so many great modern shows. Loved the first few American Horror Stories. Haven’t been as crazy about the rest, but I’ve watched. All except Hotel. Couldn’t make it through that one. Gaga for Netflix’s Stranger Things and Dark. Loved The Kettering Incident and Black Spot on Amazon Prime. The French version of The Returned was also stellar. I liked the psychological aspect. I also like Tagged and Scream.
NTK: Do these movies, books, and TV shows inspire you when you write? What inspires you?
CM: I’m not always inspired by other books or TV shows/movies when I write. Life usually provides fodder. Or friends will make some random comment that sparks something. Although, I do have to say a Twilight Zone episode (“The After Hours”) inspired my forthcoming book, Reaper Pines, about an abandoned town where mannequins were once manufactured.
NTK: What’s your writing process like? Are you a planner or a pantser?
CM: PANTSER!!! Unequivocally! (Laughs.)
NTK: So, you just sit down and go from there? No outline?
CM: I usually have some nugget that sparks me and I run from there and let it do the driving. I just do the typing.
NTK: Let’s talk about your anthology, Shadow People and Cursed Objects: 13 Tales of Terror Based on True Stories…or are they? What inspired you to create this anthology?
CM: The idea for the anthology came about after I learned [the film] The Fourth Kind was not actually based on true events and the true filmed events supposedly included in the film were just other actors too. I thought it’d be neat to have something where readers could try and figure out if stories were based on true ones or not. So, I guess that IS an instance where a movie inspired me. (Laughs.)
NTK: Your story, “The Gypsy’s Curse,” is included in the anthology. What made you write the story?
CM: I honestly don’t remember what inspired me to write “The Gypsy’s Curse.” All I really remember about writing it is I did it shortly after we moved from Phoenix, Arizona to Jacksonville, Florida. I think I was going through a gypsy phase, or maybe a curse phase, or maybe both. (Laughs.) But, that story was one that just wrote itself as soon as it hit.
NTK: Speaking of curses, Season 13 of HorrorAddicts.net is CURSED! Do you have a favorite curse? If so, what is it?
CM: Oh, that’s a great question! There are so many intriguing alleged curses, right? This is a bit of a spoiler alert but, there is another story in Shadow People. It’s in cursed up Jack’s about the Busby Chair. I had never heard of that person until I read that author’s story, which is titled, “The Busby Chair.” It’s by Alice J. Black.
The Kennedy Family Curse also intrigues me. They’ve certainly had their fair share of sorrow!
NTK: What does the future hold for you? What do we, as readers, have to look forward to?
CM: Well, I’ll have Reaper Pines coming out soon. That’s a horror novel about a couple stranded in a ghost town with possibly haunted mannequins and an escaped mental patient. Hopefully, that’ll be available in mid-September. I also have a couple of Haunt Jaunts guides in the works: Schooled by Ghosts: What Ghosts Can Teach You and Macabre Museums.
NTK: Courtney, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you for sitting down with me.
CM: Naching, THANK YOU SO MUCH for this wonderful chat.