Our featured author for episode 134 of the Horror Addicts Podcast is Loren Rhoads. Loren had an article in Horror Addicts Guide To Life and has written guest blogs for our blog in the past. Recently we asked Loren a few questions about her writing:
What is your story for episode 134 about?
It comes from my book Lost Angels, which came out earlier this year. The succubus Lorelei sees an angel in her boss’s dance club. She pursues Azaziel, who inflicts a mortal girl’s soul on her. Lorelei has to survive Hell’s attacks long enough to find a fallen priest who can exorcise the mortal soul from her infernal body. The scene I’m reading for the podcast takes place after Lorelei is possessed, when she’s trying to make an alliance with a fiend to protect her until the exorcism.
When did you start writing?
I started writing stories down in junior high, after I discovered the work of Edgar Allan Poe. My family visited the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia – and Poe’s dorm room at the University of Virginia – and I realized that he was a real person who wrote real stories. I’m not sure what I thought created books before that, except that they seemed fully formed objects without humans attached. Once I figured out that people wrote stories, I wanted to do it too.
What are your favorite topics to write about?
That’s a hard question. Last year I wrote a space opera trilogy. This year, I’m completing a series about angels and devils in the real world. Next, I’m going to finish a book about a witch doing everything she can to prevent the death of someone she loves. I’ve written a lot of stories about Alondra’s adventures, which have appeared recently in the books Fright Mare: Women Write Horror and nEvermore!: Tales of Murder, Mystery, and the Macabre. One of my Alondra stories will appear in Best New Horror in 2017.
I guess my favorite topics are women, because I find the ways they think and interact with the world fascinating. I’m also interested in love, what it is and how it is used. And I’m interested in traveling, how being out of your familiar space shows you who you really are.
Who or what inspires you?
Strangely enough, I find a lot of inspiration on Facebook. I’m curious every morning to see what we will be angry about each day. All kidding aside, I’m glad to see the discussions of racism and sexism and how people grapple with those issues. We’re in a place now where people feel they can speak out, which I think is amazing. Of course there is a lot of turmoil, but it’s leading to growth. I find it all riveting: challenging, but ultimately positive. My stories are my attempts to add to those conversations.
What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?
I’m glad to see so many women bringing their stories to the genre now. When I was growing up, it was all King, Straub, Streiber, then Clive Barker. The only well-known woman at the time was Anne Rice, but her vampire books weren’t considered “real” horror. Now we have Gemma Files and Caitlin Kiernan and Dana Fredsti, Maria Alexander and Lisa Lane and Eden Royce … more women than I can name in a paragraph. No one can deny that they are writing real horror, whatever that means. And they are all writing such different stories. I can’t wait to discover more of it.
Could you tell us about the As Above, So Below series?
Originally Lost Angels and Angelus Rose were one massive novel. No one would publish it at that length, so I split it into two books. Black Bed Sheet Books originally published the first book in 2013 as As Above, So Below. When the rights came back, Brian and I decided that it was time to publish the second – more apocalyptic – half of the story. Angelus Rose will be coming out on Automatism Press in November 2016.
Could you tell us about your nonfiction writing?
In my not-so-secret other life, I write about visiting graveyards. As I travel, I always stop into local cemeteries to see how they reflect the cultures that surround them, what’s different and what is similar from place to place. I always like to grab a little peace when I travel, so a graveyard is the perfect place.
In August, my parents took me to the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario to see a couple of plays. I snuck off one morning to see St. Mark’s Churchyard, which predates the War of 1812. One of the large flat grave markers is all gouged up. Apparently, when the church served as a hospital during the War, that gravestone was where the surgeons performed amputations. The marks of their cleavers striking off limbs is still visible, two centuries later. Great story, right?
At the moment, I’m publishing other people’s stories on my Cemetery Travel blog. The goal is to gather a collection of them to be published as Death’s Garden Revisited. I encourage anyone who has had something special happen to them in a graveyard – whether they took a date there or visited the grave of someone meaningful or stopped in while they were on vacation – to get in touch with me at cemetarytravel.com. The call for submissions is here: https://cemeterytravel.com/deaths-garden-call-for-submissions/.
What are some of the other books you have available?
The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes, my space opera trilogy, have been accused of bringing grimdark to outer space. The books are about surviving in the galaxy after humanity started – and lost – an interstellar war. They’re available in paperback, as ebooks, or as audiobooks.
My collection of cemetery travel essays, Wish You Were Here, collects my stories from Morbid Curiosity magazine, my cemetery column at Gothic.Net, and from various literary magazines. The essays range from London to Paris to Prague to Rome and Tokyo, then across the US from Boston to Maui. A new edition of the book will be coming out from Automatism Press early next year, but for now, the book is still available from Western Legends Press.
Back in the misty past, I edited a magazine called Morbid Curiosity. It published confessional nonfiction essays about all kinds of things, from adventures in modern medicine to grim travel destinations to encounters with serial killers and much, much more. A collection of my favorite pieces from the zine came out as Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: True Tales of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual. It’s available online as an ebook, but I still have some copies of it in paperback.
Where can we find you online?
My homepage: www.lorenrhoads.com
My blog: www.lorenrhoads.com/blog
The As Above page: http://lorenrhoads.com/writing/as-above-so-below/
Cemetery Travel: https://cemeterytravel.com/