An Interview with H.E. Roulo

On February 29th Horroraddicts.net publishing released its newest book:Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome by H.E. Roulo. She has had stories in other Horroraddicts.net publications such as:   The Wickeds, Horrible Disasters and Horror Addicts Guide To Life. She has also been on the Horror Addicts podcast on several occasions and won our Most Wicked award in 2009. Here is what some people are saying about Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome:

10497226_786392101430051_367125154057381978_o“A perfect mix of classic sci-fi and zombie horror. Once you start, you are hooked!”
-Jake Bible, author of Little Dead Man.
“Sanctuary Dome starts with a bang, is complicated by a kiss, and ends with a promise. This is a YA zombie love story like no other.”
-Jennifer Brozek, author of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming
“A smart zombie novel with relatable characters you’ll be rooting for until the end.”
-Emerian Rich, author of Night’s Knights Vampire Series
“Sanctuary Dome is fast-paced zombie sci-fi on a prison planet of the dying and the undead.”
-Stephen North, author of Beneath the Mask

“H.E. Roulo transports the reader to an eerie, futuristic environment. Her efficiency of prose will absorb readers of all ages. Macabre, frightening, but always hopeful.”
-Philip E. Carroll, author of Shooting Stars

Here is an interview Horroraddicts.net did with H.E. Roulo about her new book:

When did you start writing?

From the top bunk, I’d tell my younger sister stories at night. As soon as I knew enough letters, I put  pencil to paper to write stories. By the time I was in the third grade I knew I wanted to be an author. I just didn’t know how badly it paid.

You produced your first book Fractured Horizon as a podcast. Why did you go this route and where can people listen to it?

For a lot of years, I didn’t tell people I wrote. Co-workers didn’t know. It was my secret.
When I finally decided to take my writing public, I wanted to see whether there was interest. Did people like my stories? Podcasting my novel let me get immediate, week-by-week feedback. I also didn’t have to worry about hiring an editor, I did all the recording myself at night or while my toddler slept.
Fractured Horizon was my first big success, even a Parsec Finalist, and it will always be dear to me. The story of Kay Downs traveling through time the hard way, by living through it, until she reached the damaged future and repaired it, started my career. Peoples’ responses to that story encouraged me to continue. I’ve learned a lot since then. I recently rewrote the text of Fractured Horizon to be clearer. I’ve had it edited. I need to release it, it’s just a matter of finding the time.fractured-horizon

Is writing an audio drama different from writing a novel?

I’ve deliberately attempted new things so I would be a better writer. I learned a lot about story, being concise, setting the scene, and pacing, from experimenting. The podcast novel, Fractured Horizon, was an audio book. I simply read the written novel, edited the audio to take out pauses, and added an episode introduction to catch listeners up. It’s a little rough, and moves too fast. I could do better now. Of course, I think that about every project I finish.
Once I was done releasing Fractured Horizon, I was looking to do more audio. I released short stories, including three for HorrorAddicts.net. Those stories did a lot for me. I won the first annual Wicked Women Writer’s challenge with “Graveyard Shift”; released “Undergrowth” as my first ebook single; and “Great Asp & Little Death” became one of the stories in the Rich & Roulo series.
After that, I had several stories traditionally published in markets like Nature and Fantasy’s special Women Destroy Fantasy issue.
Finally, I wrote a script for a full-cast audio drama. An audio drama is different from an audio book because the voices of the characters and sound effects tell the story—just like old radio plays. I had to be creative; there’s only sound to tell the story. I couldn’t rely on descriptions or go inside the character’s head. That audio drama, and the world I created, led to much more.

What is the inspiration behind Plague Masters: Sanctuary Dome?

The novel took a long path. It started as an audio drama submitted to Necropolis Studio Productions for their Omega Road Chronicles, which is a series of moody unconnected short stories, much like The Twilight Show. My script was for a 40 minute show. They selected it right away. Next, I turned the idea into a short for the Live and Let Undead anthology, which is themed around putting zombies to work. And that sold right away.
At that point, it seemed a no-brainer to expand the world I’d come to love. I already had Samantha, who is searching for her brother’s murderer. For the novel, I added the story of Trevor, a teenager from a downtrodden planet. He wants to fight against the zombies swarming his world, but opportunity is scarce. He’s working as zombie-bait for the local militia when the girl he likes becomes infected. They get sent to the Sanctuary Dome, a punishment that’s actually a big improvement, but he’s not infected and is trying to save everyone, even his home world, from this disease.

Are the zombies in your story fast-moving or slow-moving?

24899021Mythology is so important in a story like this. It drives the tension and action. In my world, a bite means a change to a zombie, but there are also blood infections. Get splashed with zombie blood, and you’ll change but no one knows how soon. It turns people into ticking time bombs. That’s what happened to Samantha, and to the girl Trevor loves. They’re infected, but not changed into zombies, yet.
When someone does change, they go through stages of madness and rage. They’re still fast. Eventually, zombies become slow and docile. They will wander with sheep in a field, but they can get aggressive again if provoked. Don’t provoke the zombies, it gets ugly fast.

How many books do you have planned in the Plague Masters series?

It’s a tidy trilogy with an ending I’m really excited to write. At this point, the first book is available for purchase. I’ve finished writing the second one. Now, I get the dig into the finale of the series. There’s going to be even more action, and more at stake for every character.
All the worlds in this system are suffering. The series has to end soon, before there’s no one left for me to torture.

Why do you think people are so fascinated with the zombie apocalypse?

I think there are lots of different reasons. A zombie apocalypse lets us imagine a world starting over. Old, boring problems are gone. No one_IMG_8000 worries about grades or taxes in a zombie apocalypse.
Life becomes purer, it’s about survival, testing ourselves, and hopefully rising to the occasion. With zombies, there’s no guilt in killing them, no gray area, no reason to understand their point of view. There’s fairness in knowing that they’ll kill you if they can, and you can respond on that level. If you’re smart and careful, you’ll survive. Our world is a complicated place. The zombie apocalypse simplifies it.
Until the Plague Masters rise, of course.

Heather Roulo is a Seattle author. Her short stories appear in several dozen publications, including Nature and Fantasy’s special Women Destroy Fantasy issue. Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome is the first book in her Plague Masters Series.

To hear the audio drama of the short story that inspired Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome, visit The Omega Road Chronicles Audio Drama online.

Find out more at heroulo.com

http://podiobooks.com/title/fractured-horizon/

http://www.fracturedhorizonnovel.com/2015/04/13/free-audio-drama-omega-road-chronicles-ep-3-the-killer-with-eyes-of-ice/

Latex Valentine

Once again Horror Addicts, lets give a warm welcome to our Horrificly amazing Wicked Women Writer Heather Roulo. As you probably know this is the third time for me to interview H.E. so this interview won’t be as long as the first two. But I was able to get new information for all you Roulo Addicts out there.

“Every time I’m on Horror Addicts, it’s to create something new. I write because I love to do it, but crafting and selling my stories, uncertain whether they will ever reach people, wears me down. Being on Horror Addicts, and delivering something without constrained requirements but intended for an audience with specific tastes reminds me how thrilling it is to experiment and hope it blows people away.”

This time around Heather’s theme for episode 56 is Valentine’s. The story she had prepared for the episode is entitled Stripping the Zipper. “[The story] won’t remind you of anything else I’ve written. Writing it was uncomfortable—sometimes even a desperate struggled to get it right, but I achieved something hot, sexy, and horrible. I may never write like that again, but this is the audience that can appreciate the risks I took. It’s always great to be on Horror Addicts, and I love any excuse to work with Emerian Rich. I’ll keep coming back as long as she and the Addicts will have me.”

For those of you wanting to know more about Stripping the Zipper here’s a sneak-peek. “Stripping the Zipper is the tale of an everyday woman who submerges herself in a world of latex and hidden obsessions only to discover that once she sees beyond prescribed normality even she isn’t what she thought. In this story, you don’t blink at the behind-the-scenes of a fetish show. It doesn’t feel alien because it shouldn’t. But her issues go way beyond that.”

And if that doesn’t have you dying to hear the story, this will: “After a bunch of versions, the ending finally exploded. My test readers were stunned, and I turned one non-horror reader’s stomach, so I was happy. For the audio recording, I didn’t even add music. It’s just the heroine’s voice—and I got that when I realized that the women who do the makeup tutorials on youtube have the same breathy, hesitant way of speaking. Nothing else could fit so perfectly. Story titles flummox me. I can brainstorm a dozen and not know which is best. This story started out as Valentine in Vinyl, but she doesn’t wear vinyl just latex. I liked Ripping the Latex Bandage, as if her dress were a band-aid, but ultimately Stripping the Zipper had sex appeal and for me, her zipper is pivotal.”

Valentine’s Day as we all know is the holiday of love. So to write a horror story built around the holiday, I was curious how H.E. feels about the day…She said that “[she] thinks it’s a great excuse; an excuse to go out, an excuse to stay in, an excuse find someone, or the reason you choose to stay home. Make it what you want it to be.” Roulo also added, “[she loves] dancing, so that’s what [she plans] to do. Nothing’s ever bad if you can go dancing.”

While chatting with Heather, she mentioned to me, that she was thrilled with the overall results of the Wicked Women Writers challenge (that she headed). “The ladies delivered! Listening to the different stories showed me how varied these women and their styles could be. I tried to be as impartial as possible, but I can’t deny being thrilled when the final tally came in for Rhonda R Carpenter. She’s my Podioracket.com partner and we support each other. We joke that we’ll have to have an all-stars in a few seasons so that we can put it to the test! Rhonda will run next year’s contest, and I think she has big plans.”

An All-Star challenge huh? A great idea in my opinion, the competition would be fierce and the stories enthralling. What do you think about having an All-Stars challenge in a few seasons?

Roulo fans be on the lookout: “The next Podioracket Presents anthology is in the works. [They are] currently accepting stories from Podiobooks.com authors that take place in their book’s world. It’s called Podioracket Presents-Glimpses. [H.E.] be writing a short story to accompany my book Fractured Horizon. The anthology will be podcast and available as an ebook.”

Heather is also “selling short stories, including a vampire one that would work for Horror Addicts if I hadn’t written Stripping the Zipper. Maybe they’ll get a chance to check it out somewhere else soon. And [she is] also finishing up a medieval fairy story for a romance anthology.”

For more information on Heather Roulo check out these sites:

http://www.twitter.com/@hroulo

http://www.fracturedhorizonnovel.com

http://www.podioracket.com

13 Questions with H.E. Roulo

I was lucky enough to interview a well known Horror Addict for this week’s episode 44: Death. So please welcome back Heather Roulo also known as H.E. Roulo. You might remember her name from the Horror Addicts website as the Most Wicked Women Writer of 2009. She has written two stories for H.A., her horror/sci-fi story Undergrowth. As well the story that won her the Most Wicked title, Graveyard Shift (and Reshift).

This week Heather’s story for Horror Addicts is titled Great Asp and Little Death. When I asked Roulo about her story she told me, “Death is an introspective theme, often quiet and full of double meaning on life and its ending. I thought about the many interpretations of death in literature, including Hades and the Grim Reaper. There are endless movie interpretations, like the famous chess game in The Seventh Seal or the endless Joe Black. Death appears in the middle of battles and of gatherings, such as in Poe’s Masque of the Red Death or Peter S. Beagle’s story about Death as a 16 year old girl. Death has no trouble getting invited to cocktail parties.”

Here’s a little information about Great Asp and Little Death: “Death stalks a woman-warrior of near mythic proportion fresh from battle and dealing with her husband’s death and her own imminent demise. Will she achieve hero status and be made immortal? Or will the wounds to her heart and body give her over to Death first?”

I asked Roulo what got her into horror and how she became a Horror Addict. Heather said that, “Rhonda R Carpenter and I were releasing our books at the same time on Podiobooks.com and became friends. She released a short story through Horror Addicts and ended up introducing me to the show and the host, Emerian Rich.”

Heather “was thrilled to win” the title Most Wicked which, “comes with the responsibility to organize the next year’s contest. The weight of the crown (Robe? Cauldron?) is heavy indeed.”

H.E. moved from one Podcast to another, her very own. She explained to me that, “[o]nce Rhonda and [her] finished releasing [their] books, [they] created Podioracket.com to support the authors and give fans somewhere to turn for more information. [They‘ve] settled into a nice pace where [they] release a 20 minute show every two weeks, with two interviews and a little news and contest information. Through Podioracket [they have] also added a live Blog Talk Radio show and released an anthology, Podioracket Presents-Visionaries.”

What got the website started was Roulo’s uncertainty of what to do after she released her book, Fractured Horizon. “I wasn’t sure what the next step was for promoting it and I wanted to hear other author’s approaches. All the writers were so interesting. I realized they just needed a way to connect immediately with their audience and a central place that listeners could go. Podioracket caught on instantly because it had that ready-made audience.”

Not only was Heather the winner of the Wicked Women Writers but she was also “a finalist for the 2009 Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction Story (novel).” H.E. revealed to me that she thinks it’s “nice to be able to say that Fractured Horizon was recognized as, arguably, one of the top five podcast novels last year. It looks pretty on my query letter to publishers.”

“Actually, one short story that I wrote for Horror Addicts, Undergrowth, has been nominated for a Parsec this year, as well as Podioracket.com and the anthology I put together, so I’m currently preparing samples for the Parsec Committee’s consideration.”

Speaking of Fractured Horizon, Heather gave us a little more detail about her novel. “Fractured Horizon is about Kay Downs, a contemporary woman who discovers that her absent father guarded a rift in time, but her accidental conception broke all the rules. Kay must travel through time by living through it, correct the changes her existence has caused, and ultimately heal the rift and save her father. Much of the book is spent in the near future, where a divided world teeters between bio-engineered warriors and mystical rulers who sense the future. In a world built on utter predictability, Kay’s misplacement in time makes her a dangerous wildcard. As if traveling forward through time weren’t hard enough, she is pursued by an enemy with a simpler way to protect the sanctity of the timeline—her destruction.”

Heather decided to share a little of her writing background and how she got into writing in the first place. “I always liked making up stories. In the third grade I was selected for the Young Authors program and attended a convention where I met professional writers and read my work. That pretty much solidified it for me. I wrote every summer, for hours on end, but I didn’t consider it something that I needed to work on. My plan was to work, pay off college debt, and then stay with my children and pick up writing. I’ve stuck with the plan, and my life looks the way I always thought that it would, except that I didn’t realize how much I still had to learn about writing. It isn’t just putting in the hours but also about understanding the business, the market, and being willing to promote yourself. I have this small window to make my dream successful, and I’m grateful for it.”

I was wondered how writing about death compared to stories of the future? Was one more challenging than the other? Roulo had this to say, “Once you have a great idea, writing a story in a particular genre isn’t any more difficult. However, I do find that many of my ideas naturally turn to sci-fi. I always want to be growing and trying new things. I had already given Horror Addicts a sci-fi piece and a contemporary piece. I’d used sound effects. So for the new story I chose a historical fantasy setting and, for the first time, added another voice and a musical score.”

Look forward to “an audio drama from Necropolis Studio Productions in the works that [Roulo] think[s] Horror Addicts would really enjoy.” But she isn’t sure when it will be released it. Also, “Podioracket.com is going on summer hiatus so that [Heather will] have time for more writing. Perhaps another book?”


For more information about Heather Roulo be sure to visit these sites:

http://www.twitter.com/@hroulo

http://www.fracturedhorizonnovel.com

http://www.podioracket.com