Meet author Eden Royce @edenroyce #HorrorLounge
For readers new to horror which 3 books would you recommend they start with?
Horror is so subjective that it can be difficult to recommend a book for someone new to the genre. Do they like psychological horror? Action-based? Supernatural?
Without being armed with that knowledge, I’ll suggest short stories to start. They’re different than novels in that they focus on capturing a short instance in time, conveying a lot with a little:
-- Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”
-- Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
-- Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”
If you don’t want to make a monetary investment upfront, there is lots of horror to read for free online in magazines like Nightmare, The Dark, and Three Lobed Burning Eye. But if you’re able, buy a few copies to support what they do.
Do you have a favourite horror sub-genre, and why?
I love Gothic horror. Most of what I write tends to be Southern Gothic, which takes the tenets of the Gothic genre – isolated, derelict locations, family secrets, hidden passageways, grotesque characters – and places them in the American South, which has its own special mystique.
Your favourite Stephen King book:
His first collection of short stories, Night Shift.
New horror authors you’d recommend:
Alyssa Wong, Gwendolyn Kiste, Rasheedah Prioleau, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Adam Nevill, Zin Rocklyn, Mark Taylor, Dicey Grenor, Seanan McGuire.
Your favourite horror film (adapted from a book) & why?
John Carpenter’s The Thing, based on John W. Campbell Jr’s novella Who Goes There? I love how the setting itself becomes a character in this movie. The weather morphs and changes, along with the rising action of the film, and is almost as deadly as the alien. It also has the confidence to leave the watcher with that ending. I won’t spoil the end for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but it’s so strong.
Best horror TV?
That’s a hard one. There’s so much good stuff old and new. Some of the black and white Twilight Zone episodes with the brilliant Rod Serling are powerful and potent even today.
American Gothic: Gary Cole played the sinister role so well. I’m still mad that show only got one season.
Black Lake: (currently showing on BBC) This Swedish show is doing Gothic horror so well. Isolated location, madness, and secrets. Creeping uncertainty morphing into full-blown horror.
Did you write in other genres or straight to horror?
I’ve written in loads of other genres: romance, sci-fi, fantasy, even poetry. But they all seem to be tinged with a little darkness.
Tell us briefly about your route to being published
I had a short piece I wrote published in the paper when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I think my mom still has the newspaper clipping. I didn’t write anything else fiction-based for decades.
I was working in D.C. about ten years ago when I had such an awful day at work, that I came home and turned on the computer and wrote until I was exhausted. I found it so cathartic that I continued. Shortly after that, I moved to Charlotte, NC where I had my first dark fiction story published with the now defunct Pill Hill Press.
Tell us about your fans:
I have fans? Oh wow! I’d love for them to tell me about themselves. Seriously though, I think fans of my work enjoy mystery and folklore. A bit of the weird and grotesque along with fantasy and magic. Work that leaves you with a bit of a chill instead of slapping you in the face with gore.
Horror doesn’t seem to be as well respected as other genres of fiction. Why do you think that is?
People have a narrow definition of what horror is. Many find it base and lacking in nuance, because they think it only includes slasher serial killers and gore. In reality, horror has multiple layers and sub-genres. Elements of horror are found in some of the finest literary books, and some of the most lauded films. Horror can be subtle and creeping, lingering and resonant. It has a beauty of it’s own, if someone is willing to find the right genre of horror to fit them.
Do you think horror is ready for a renaissance?
For those that love the darkest of fantasy stories and are thrilled by the anticipation of terror, we’ve never left horror’s side. We’re still staunch supporters.
Horror is having a renaissance, however. More women and people of colour are writing books and making films. New voices are taking up the question “What scares you?” and are bringing different viewpoints and perspectives to horror.
I look forward to what’s to come.
Tips for new writers of horror fiction.
Read! A lot. Read more than the genre in which you write, read what was written two years ago and what was written 200 years ago. Take note of what moves you, what stays with you long after the book is over. Write about what you want to see, and what you feel is missing in fiction.
Do you believe in evil?
It’s hard to study history and not believe in evil. So, yes, absolutely.
What scares you?
The thought of harm coming to my family.
Do you celebrate Halloween?
As an American, I grew up celebrating Halloween. Reminding my mom to get my costume early, going out with friends to scour the neighbourhood for candy, the excitement of ringing doorbells, and then dumping all of my goodies out on the dining room table when I got home. It was one of my favourite times of the year.
I’d love to go to a Halloween party when I get to dress up again, but until then, I celebrate the season with horror movies and fancy chocolates.