This week’s Horror Addicts interview is a special one, with interviews from several wicked ladies. That’s right, it’s time for the Wicked Women Writers Challenge!
The theme for this season’s challenge is 7 Deadly Sins. The contestants had a month to prepare their short story and interpret their sin. The women participating in the challenge are ones you’re sure to recognize: Michele Roger, R.E. Chambliss, Laurel Anne Hill, Rhonda Carpenter, Kimberly Steele, and Hollie Snider.
As last year’s winner Heather Roulo (H.E. Roulo) was the one to organize the contest this time around. And of course, our very own Emerian Rich will be working with Heather on the commentary for each story.
Here’s what Emz had to say about the contest, “I’m excited to see what the ladies come up with. They are all very talented. We’ve got Michele Roger, the one who created the Wicked Women Writers and the mastermind behind making Santa a werewolf! Laurel Anne Hill, who helped judge last year is an awesome writer and very involved with helping women in the writing community. Renee has been in our group for some time, but this will be her first story for Horror Addicts so I’m excited to see her step into the horror box. Rhonda Carpenter is a veteran of Horror Addicts and the Wicked Women’s Challenge. She’s also helped host Horror Addicts and has done little cameos here and there when I need her. Last Season, Kimberly Steele was our first woman to win the Best in Blood award for HorrorAddicts.net. Hollie is a newcomer to our group but has been writing for years and has been involved with writing groups as a mentor. These are all awesome writing women with strong voices. This contest will be rad to hear. I am especially eager to see how the fans react. Last time it was just 4 ladies. Now it’s harder with 6.”
Heather explained to me a little about the voting process. “The voters will decide how well each of the ladies have interpreted their theme. We suggested that the entries be quicker, since we were lucky enough to have so many people participate and we want to make sure that listeners have time to hear all the stories, but really they were encouraged to try whatever they wanted. And it’s great that we get to air in the Halloween episode!” Emz, also added that, “[i]t’s really too tough to judge. That’s why I’m making the listeners do it. With such awesome women involved, the competition is steep.”
I was able to have several “mini” interviews, including one with WWW creator Michele Roger (who, as mentioned above is a contestant as well). Michele’s theme this year is “Gluttony.”
“Last year, I participated in the challenge as well, but my story was the longest. It was as if I’d forgotten how to write short fiction. I had just come off of writing my first long novel, “Dark Matter” and I think I was still stuck in the very serious mode. This year, “Gluttony” is much lighter, faster paced and tongue and cheek. I grew up attending a Catholic school in the suburbs of north Detroit as a kid. I couldn’t resist going back to those memories and basing a horror story based on a deadly sin in my old alma matre.”
Be sure to note that Roger’s new novel, “The Conservatory” is due to be released this November. For more info checkout http://www.micheleroger.com/.
R.E. (Renée) Chambliss is a writer and podcaster who lives in northern California. Her highly-rated podcast novel, Dreaming of Deliverance, can be found on itunes and at podiobooks.com. To learn more about her writing, podcasting, and voice work, visit REChambliss.com. Renée’s theme this year is “Pride.” Her inspiration, surprisingly comes from a well known tv show.
“Years ago, I watched Survivor Amazon on t.v. Each episode, the losing tribe has to vote someone out of the game. Well, this time the tribes were divided by gender: there was an all-male tribe and an all-female tribe. One thing that really interested me (and kind of horrified me, to be honest) was that in the all-female tribe a couple of the younger women were very proud of their youth and beauty and were also certain that the older women must be extremely threatened by them because of it. Whenever there was a negative interaction with one of the older women, the young women always assumed it was because the older women were jealous. That seemed incredibly ridiculous to me. And it popped back into my head when I learned my sin would be pride. I decided to model a character after one of those young, pretty girls, and see where the story would go!”
“[Laurel Anne Hill is] looking forward to pouring a glass of wine, curling up in [her] favorite overstuffed chair and listening to the submitted stories. Oh, and [she’ll] also dim the lights to create the appropriate spooky atmosphere.”
Her theme turned out to be “Sloth,” which she told me was “a challenge in itself. After all, exciting main characters take action and overcome obstacles. How would I write from a couch potato’s point-of-narration and still maintain forward momentum? Then I came across a true “medical horror” case and the fuzzy pieces of my story puzzle sharpened at the edges…I started writing, and the result was Beyond Her Reach, a tale of sloth.”
And just a little FYI for all you Hill fans out there: “My award-winning novel, Heroes Arise (KOMENAR Publishing, 2007), is available in hard cover, trade paper and electronically through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Thar be Magic, my pirates and magic short story, appears in the Rum and Runestones anthology (Dragon Moon Press, 2010), also available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In 2010, I’ve had two additional short stories accepted for anthologies, and also had an op-ed (Support your Local Hero Rat) published by AOL News in August. To reach my blog and podcast, go to http://www.laurelannehill.com/.”
“Lust” was given to author Rhonda Carpenter, which found out some pretty interesting things while researching. “While researching the sin lust I found a very cool story about how god created Adam’s partner but that first partner was not Eve it was a woman named Lilith. She did not accept the subservient position of Adam being on top during sex. She refused to be on the bottom. I found this fascinating. She was rejected by Adam because she would not accept his dominance. God threw her out and she then had hundreds of babies in defiance. Then God created Eve she was the perfect subservient partner for Adam, Well I guess until she gave her partner an apple.”
For more information on Rhonda, go to: http://www.rhondacarpenter.com
For Kimberly Steele and her sin, “Greed,” things got off with a rough start. “I completely messed up this challenge. I was assigned to do a story on Greed, so I began to write a character who is pretty much the male archetype of everything I hate about American society: a hard-drinking, wife-cheating, money-obsessed salesman in that loathsome bland herd of executives who lunch (and golf). Then there was the demon tongue that ruins the aforementioned character’s life. The tongue was even more fun to write then the slimy salesman! The spigot flowed free and fast–only problem was that I wrote 10,000 words or roughly one hour of audio story! Only once the audio was recorded did I realize I was supposed to keep it to a pithy 10 minutes of audio. I had no choice but to write another story, so I spun a yarn that was heavily influenced by EC Comics; a Tales From the Crypt sort of thing about a doofus idiot who burns a volume of Shakespeare and gets owned for his stupidity by his recently deceased grandmother. I only entered the shorter story in the contest, but audiences will be the winners here as I will release both audio stories free from ForeverFifteen.com.”
Steele’s story for the contest is “about a greedy person has no appreciation of what he has, even though he lives a life of privilege and luxury compared to most. He abuses everyone around him, wastes every opportunity by being listless or lazy, takes everything for granted, then has the gall to blame others for his own ineffectualness.”
For more information on Kimberly check out her website at http://kimberlysteelemusic.com/.
“Good writing and lots of fun.” That’s what Hollie Snider is looking forward to for this challenge. “Since I’ve never really been part of the Wicked Women Writers, I am looking forward to getting to know everyone. That’s the big thing for me this year.”
Her plans for the challenge, “[t]o win, of course. Seriously, I didn’t even plan to be part of the challenge but Emz mentioned it to me and it sounded like fun. This is the first one I’ve done for Wicked Women Writers.”
Snider’s story for the challenge is titled, “Mirror, Mirror and was inspired by Snow White.”
“[It’s] definitely more toward the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales rather than Disney. The sin I wrote it for is “Envy.” It’s been called “gruesome” by those who proofed it for me. I hope it’s gruesome enough to get under people’s skin.” For more information on Hollie, go to: http://www.holliesnider.com/
To quote Michele, “It just seemed to me that the sci fi and horror genres are a bit of a “boy’s club”. There are real marketing reasons why many female writers publish under their initials or a pen name in this area of literature.” Or as Emerian put it, “[O]ur community is more about being a woman in a writing genre that is dominated by men. We support each other, share tips, and even help each other. It’s kind of like a secret society. We don’t have a strange handshake, but if another WWW asks for help, we all chip in.”
Everyone I interviewed had their own opinion of what they believe a Wicked Women Writer truly is. But, they all had one thing in common: she will “leave the listener with a satisfying chill in the bones.”
All I know is this Wicked Women Writers Challenge is going to be Horrific!
Happy Haunting Horror Addicts!