Once Upon a Scream Author Spotlight: Laurel Anne Hill

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a ScreamRemember 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?
OnceUponAScreamFrontMy 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.

What are your favorite topics to write about?2969162

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.

Laurel by the Seine River 2002What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

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.paris sewer sandstone wall cropped

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 Paris sewer tunnel croppedpublication 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 my website, go here. My Amazon.

For Facebook here.


Horror Addicts Guide to Life Author Spotlight: Laurel Anne Hill

Laurel Anne Hill has had over 25 short stories published along with the award-winning novel  Heroes Arise. For Horror Addicts Guide To Life  Laurel Anne wrote an article called Practicing Safe Satisfaction. In her article Laurel Anne gets into how to get your horror fix no matter where you are. To read Laurel Anne’s article along with several other articles on living the horror lifestyle, pick up a copy of Horror Addicts Guide To LifeRecently Laurel Anne was nice enough to tell us what she likes about horror:

What do you like about the horror genre?

2969162Horror stories depict the ultimate in vulnerabilities. Readers and viewers who connect with doomed characters experience the terror of such vulnerabilities, yet they emerge from the experience unharmed. Except, maybe, for a few bad dreams. Talk about a powerful win-win situation!

What are some of your favorite horror movies, books or TV shows?

The original Dracula with Bela Lugosi captivated me in the third grade and every viewing afterward. It’s a funky but wonderful movie. I loved the book even more. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty was an amazing read. Ghost Story by Peter Straub also glued my eyes to the page. And I’ll never forget the short stories of Robert Aickman, particularly “Cicerones” and “Ringing the Changes.” I so enjoyed participating in the Robert Aickman panel at the World Fantasy Convention in 2014.

In what way do you live the horror lifestyle?

Open the utensil drawer in my kitchen and two plastic eyeballs will greet you.LaurelAnneHill2010 Gaze at my annual Christmas tree, and you will notice the ornaments include bats, insects, mice and snakes. Look at the framed picture in my home’s entryway just the right way and a “ghost” will appear. And, naturally, being a writer, I look at ordinary experiences and ponder how to change them into horrific encounters with the unknown.

Where else can we find some of your work?






13 Questions with Laurel Anne Hill

For my first article and to kick off the New Year, I interviewed award winning author Laurel Anne Hill.

Laurel is most noted for her debut parable, Heroes Arise. Hill is the featured author of Horror Addicts episode 33. She was asked by our very own Horror Addicts Hostess, Emerian Rich, to submit a story for the Vampire themed episode.

When asked about the request, Hill stated, “I’m delighted that Emerian invited me to submit a story and elated that she liked the one I created for the occasion.”

The story she wrote for all the Horror Addicts out there is titled, Wings of Revenge. Here’s a sneak-peek into Hill’s thoughts and inspiration for Wings of Revenge. “…I strove to create a scary vampire tale minus most of the traditional clichés. In other words, no garlic or crucifixes. No handsome dead guys with pale skin. No fainting ladies. In fact, Carlotta, my human main character, is self-confident and used to taking risks. Additionally, I selected the “our vampires are different” trope to flavor Wings of Revenge with a measure of unpredictability.”

Hill has already written two short vampire themed stories, Eternal Poetry and Real Vampires Don’t Snore. “However, [the] vampires in Wings of Revenge aren’t sympathetic. They’re evil. [Hill] wrote Wings of Revenge to confirm that [she] could write a scary vampire tale.”

She was asked her opinion on how the “classic” Bram Stoker vampire compares to “modern day” vampires created by authors such as Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyer. Hill replied, “As I read novels by Anne Rice, I felt her vampires’ humanity and separation from humanity. Above all, I felt their sensuality and sexuality. To a far lesser degree, these types of feelings arose when I read Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. Bram Stoker never brought me that close to Count Dracula. Stoker even distanced me from his mortal, first-person point-of-view characters. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published in 1897, and Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire, over 75 years afterward. Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight was published in 2005. Writing and life styles changed during that span of time. Vampires in modern literature reflect such changes.”

Laurel Anne Hill has been on Horror Addicts before as a judge for the Wicked Women Writer’s Challenge. Mrs. Hill stated, “I loved serving as a judge for the [WWWC]. What an honor! The quality of the podcasts impressed and inspired me.”

She believes that “many factors contribute to making a good writer. Some of the most important include passion, determination, and attention to craft–breathing life into stories instead of sucking all the life out of them.”

Mrs. Hill, herself, worked in the pharmaceuticals/health care industry for 40 years. But, she has been writing stories pretty much all her life. “Actually, I first wrote stories before I learned how to read. I told my stories to my older sister and she wrote down the words. I continued to write until graduation from college, when marriage and a demanding career led me down a different path. Then, in 1991, a mysterious illness hit me. My back muscles went into near-continuous spasms for six weeks. Prescription drugs helped make the agony bearable but generated hallucinations. When the Grim Reaper appeared and taunted me for not writing, I reorganized my priorities.”

Heroes Arise, Mrs. Hill’s most notable work, was published in 2007. When asked how it felt to have her parable traditionally published, Hill replied, “Having a book published by a traditional publishing house felt different than having short pieces appear in newspapers or zines. The first time I held the hard-cover edition of Heroes Arise in my hands, all I could do was say, “Ohhhh.” The reality of being an author hit me at that point.”

Hill enjoys writing, her favorite genre happens to be fantasy. “I love world building, especially when the world I’m creating has room for magic.” Her husband, David, is usually the person to do the first read of her completed work. But “occasionally, [her] writing group does the first read.”

Mentioned on her website as her current project is Plague of Flies, a historical novel set in California 1846. When asked about it Hill replied, “[Plague of Flies], was my current project until earlier [2009].  The story wasn’t coming to life on the page. I switched to doing a rewrite of my earlier novel manuscript, A Light from the Mountain….In the meanwhile, I attended various science fiction/fantasy presentations given by publishers at conventions. I learned that a futuristic science fiction/fantasy work from a non-bestselling author probably wouldn’t be publishable in the current market. My agent (who loved A Light from the Mountain) had passed away a couple of years ago….As a result, I’ve rethought both A Light from the Mountain and Plague of Flies. I’m reworking A Light from the Mountain as steampunk/fantasy set in the late 1800s. Plague of Flies will remain set in 1846 but I’ll develop the novel as alternate history/magical realism.”

Look for Hill’s Thar be Magic; a “pirates and magic short story, [which] is scheduled to appear in the Rum and Runestones anthology (Dragon Moon Press) in 2010.”

You can learn more about Mrs. Hill at her Red Room and Vox blogs. Where you can find “announcements regarding events, podcasts, and slide shows.” Hill also started a podcast in August of 2009 titled Welcome to my Bedroom Closet. Her podcasts usually contain “readings of her work” or “advice about writing”. Look forward to many podcasts from her as she mentioned she “prepare[s] flyers about Welcome to my Bedroom Closet and distribute[s] them at conferences and other events. My podcast is a long term project to increase my platform as an author.”

You can find Laurel Anne Hill’s blogs at these links: http://www.redroom.com/author/laurel-anne-hill and http://laurelannehill.vox.com.
You can also find her postcasts and listen to Eternal Poetry and Real Vampires Don’t Snore at http://laurelannehill.libsyn.com.
Heroes Arise is available on Amazon.com in both print and Kindle format.

Episode #33 of Horror Addicts will go live January 14th, 2010 at http://www.horroraddicts.net