Horror Addicts everywhere have been wondering, ‘Who will be 2011’s Most Wicked?’ The wait is over, put your hands together (or on the keyboard to type ‘congrats’) for our newest Wicked Women Writer Challenge winner…
Laurel Anne Hill!
Laurel was excited when she heard the news, “I feel both honored and amazed. With all the great WWW podcasts submitted, I never expected my story, Flight of Destiny to win.” She then added, “I have to admit, though, a bit of worry has crept into my mind. Rhonda Carpenter did such an amazing job organizing this year’s WWW Challenge. Talk about a difficult act to follow!”
The idea for Flight of Destiny came easy for this steam train fan. “I’ve served on several steampunk panels at science fiction/fantasy conventions. Some authors of steampunk ignore the laws of physics when they craft their stories. For over a year, I’ve wanted to see if I could write an engaging short story in that genre and include a few scientific details at the same time. My WWW assignment presented a perfect opportunity.”
Hill’s steampunk knowledge didn’t cover everything though. “I needed to research the physical characteristics of polonium-210, as well as details about its discovery and purification.” She also did “some fact checking about the operation of steam-powered vessels in the Nineteenth Century was necessary, too. And spent several hours reading about women’s Victorian-era clothing.”
For this year’s competition, each Wicked was given a poison, a place, and an object to base their story around. Laurel was given: Radio Active Polonium-210, Aircraft Carrier on the Pacific, and Cuban cigars.
“My prior employment involved working with radioactive materials and one previous boss of mine smoked cigars. My assigned poison and place presented no unusual problems. But an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean? I knew little about Naval operations aboard such a vessel. That part of the assignment generated an internal “oh, no.” Then the steampunk idea hit me and my racing heart slowed to normal rhythm.”
Curious, I had to ask how her writing and podcasting processes came together. “I tend to mull over ideas in my head before I start writing. I select a main character, give him or her a problem, and try to climb inside of his or her mind. Then I write and revise over and over, finally reading the piece out loud for rhythm. My story goes to my writing group for feedback. Additional revisions follow. During this process, I write in time blocks as short as thirty minutes or as long as eight hours. [When I start a podcast] I read the manuscript a couple times to prepare, then set up my computer, microphone and pop-filter (a knee-high nylon stocking stretched over a diamond-shaped metal hanger) inside of my bedroom closet. After recording the entire selection twice using Audacity, I sound edit the better version. Sound editing takes me the longest, often several hours.”
One thing is for certain if she can combine radio active materials, aircraft carriers, and cigars to make one killer story; then there is nothing this Wicked Women Writer can’t write! I’m sure next year’s WWW challenge will be just as deadly, if not more so, than this year!
Hill fans, be on the look out for Laurel’s up and coming projects: “My new fantasy/horror short story, “The Vengeance Garden,” is scheduled for publication in December 2011, in the “Spells and Swashbucklers” anthology (Dragon Moon Press). I’m also working on several other short stories and a steampunk novel.”
For more information on Laurel Anne Hill check out these websites: