H.E. Roulo’s short stories have appeared in several dozen publications, including Nature and Fantasy’s special Women Destroy Fantasy issue. She is the author of the Plague Master series. Fractured Horizon, her science-fiction podcast novel, was a Parsec Award Finalist.
1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror?
I don’t recall my first discovery of horror—after all, it’s always there even in children’s books like Berenstain Bears Spooky Old Tree.
2.) What author has influenced you most?
My favorite books are sci-fi/horror crossovers, especially if they’re post-apocalyptic like Z for Zacharia by Robert C. O’Brien or The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson. I loved C.S. Friedman’s Coldfire trilogy, starting with Black Sun Rising.
3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “Angels Don’t Fear Heights?”
I actually thought that “Angels Don’t Fear Heights” would be a flash piece just of the scene with the lawyer. The idea was someone so controlling that he continued to dominate even after death. I imagined the vengeful dead person returning to savor leaving the protagonist out of the will. How perfect, then, to have the solution be to dig up the body and cash in on the tech that had made it possible. From there, the idea of this undead-yet-dead person still popping up to control someone’s life was eerie enough I had to write it. Regrettably, I had to give up on the graverobbing treasure-hunt for the body, since it was stronger this way.
4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?
Characters always act in ways logical to them, so sometimes they can’t take the path I had planned. Still, I always know the end of a story before I begin and it’s just a matter of steering them where they need to go.
5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?
Many authors can’t listen to songs with lyrics while writing, but that’s not the case for me. I know my writing is going especially well when I suddenly notice we’re in the middle of a song I wasn’t hearing because I was so focused. I listen to everything—in fact, new is usually better so I put songs on shuffle. Sometimes, however, if there’s a song with just the right mood I’ll quickly put it on repeat until the scene is fully written.
6.) Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration isn’t the problem, it’s all around us if we pay attention. Creating an idea that’s full enough to support a whole story is the problem. I wish I could remember my various inspirations throughout the day to bring them together into one story because that’s when it gets interesting.
7.) What is your favorite horror novel?
Favorite questions are hard for me. I rarely have that kind of loyalty to anything. I like novelty. My favorite things are the stories, songs, and televisions shows I haven’t seen yet and that surprise me. I rarely consume anything twice. Today, I’ll fondly recall the horror of certain stories in the anthology Unaccompanied Sonata by Orson Scott Card.
8.) Favorite horror movie?
I’m a big fan of anything post-apocalyptic and dystopian. I had to read Cormac McCarthy’s grim and hopeless The Road after seeing the movie. I also love time travel and alternate realities. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind impressed me when it came out. Coherence and the movie Primer kept things interesting.
9.) Favorite horror television show?
The Black Mirror series has me hooked.
10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?
I have several books I’m sitting on right now, including the sequel to my YA Zombie sci-fi Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome. I also have a sci-fi vampire book looking for a publisher, and a superhero novella written from the point of view of the villain called Heart of Marble.