Tell us a bit about “Fool’s Fire”. What inspired you to write it?
Especially when GPS devices in cars were new (and occasionally even now, when most of us just use map apps on our phones), there were lots of stories about people blithely driving into lakes or off cliffs or over broken bridges because they followed the advice of their devices rather than looking at the world around them. Certainly, I have followed GPS directions into weird neighborhoods and down bizarre side streets I never would have visited otherwise—I remember one night navigating through a dilapidated part of a strange-to-me city and coming upon a group of people dressed in rags and ponchos in the middle of the street, gesticulating wildly at an overturned grocery cart, and all stopping to stare at me as I slowly veered around them.
I got to thinking about those old stories about will-o-the-wisps and fairy lights, supernatural forces leading travelers astray and to their dooms, and thought how frustrating it must be for those creatures when everyone has GPS-enabled devices . . . but somehow people still manage to get lost, and to get into trouble. I started joking about the “dark gods of the GPS,” who make it so no one ever gets lost anymore . . . but demand the occasional sacrifice in exchange for that service. Then I wrote a story about that idea!
On your blog, you have a series called WhiskeyHorror, where you watch and review horror movies. Care to share your favorites?
A few years back, my beloved friend Katrina and I decided to combine our loves for horror movies and for whiskey (my favorite is bourbon; hers is Scotch; we both like pretty much all the brown liquors, though) into semi-regular evenings, with occasional guest drinkers-and-watchers. We do it two or three times a month. Our tastes are wide-ranging, and though we both like found footage horror and prefer supernatural stuff to the purely slasher-riffic, we watch all kinds of things, good and great and terrible. I review the ones that are particularly good or notably lousy or give me opportunities to make good jokes.
My favorite is Grave Encounters, about a group of ghost hunters on a reality show who explore an asylum (spoiler: it’s got actual ghosts!). There’s lots of marvelous spatial horror, which is always my favorite, because it reflects the nature of my own bad dreams: stairs that lead nowhere, corridors that never end, windows that look onto impossible vistas. There’s a pretty good sequel too.
I asked Katrina her favorite, and without hesitation she named V/H/S, an anthology of short horror films within a frame story about people who circulate underground videos, and yeah, that one’s pretty great too: low-budget, but the filmmakers do interesting, weird stuff. (Both those are found footage movies. My favorite non-found footage film is probably Absentia, which I found really creepy.)
What are you working on these days? Any exciting projects or upcoming publications you’d like to tell readers about?
I am presently deep into writing the final novel in my Marla Mason urban fantasy series, Closing Doors. I’ve been writing about that character for twenty years, through lots of stories and ten novels, so it’s an emotional experience, tying up her loose ends. After that, I have a couple of Pathfinder Tales sword-and-sorcery novels to write, and I’m waiting to hear from an editor about another book out on submission. I’m also writing a new story every month for my Patreon, which is super fun.
If you had to become the protagonist of any horror movie, which would you pick? What if you had to become the monster?
For protagonist, I’d be Erin, the heroine from You’re Next. Competent, smart, capable, deadly. She’s great, and it’s one of my favorite slasher movies.
If I had to be a monster, I’d be the barely glimpsed creature from Absentia, because I’m an introvert, and also because people give it presents.
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