State of Horror: North Carolina will release on Tuesday, February 10th. To celebrate this event, Charon Coin Press will feature each of the authors included in the book over the next week leading up to the release date. Each feature will have a little about the author, the synopsis of their story in State of Horror: North Carolina, and a brief interview to get to know the person beyond the words. Today, we launch State of Horror Featured Author with author Susan Hicks Wong.
While the other children were playing outside in the fresh air, Susan Hicks Wong was scrunched down in a tattered armchair inhaling the miasma of H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe and Shirley Jackson. After stints as an art director and textile designer, she now travels wild and free across North America as a long haul truck driver with her husband. She attended the 2013 Odyssey Writer’s Workshop. Susan reads and writes as the prairie rolls past and she still loves the funk of decaying old books.
State of Horror: North Carolina
Story Synopsis- “Dead Girl Mary”
”She was walking home from a party
Looking mighty fine
When the dark-hearted bastard ended her life
Along the yellow line.”
On a dark, deserted stretch of road in North Carolina, JT is on his way home when a figure appears in the road. The figure approaches, a young woman, he swerves, but his reaction led to a car crash. With an offer of assistance, she leads him to get the help he needs. Along the way, he shares a tale of a ghost—dead girl Mary—who in life had been trying to get home from a party and accepted a ride from the wrong person. As the story is told, the two find themselves in their own situation. Could the tale of Dead Girl Mary be closer to the truth then they realize?
Fun Facts- Susan Hicks Wong
Charon Coin Press: What inspired your story in State of Horror?
Susan Hicks Wong: A hitchhiking ghost named Lydia is well-known in the Greensboro, NC area. Even though the bridge where she is said to have appeared has been pretty much obliterated, I still shiver a little bit when I drive through the area where she waits for unsuspecting motorists on rainy nights. As a child, I was obsessed with a couple of great North Carolina ghost books by Nancy Roberts, which were illustrated with creepy photos. Lydia’s tale is recounted in one of those books. Dead Girl Mary’s story is quite different but the idea of a roadside ghost snagged me many years ago and I wanted to expand on it.
CCP: Is there a reason this particular state appealed to you?
SHW: North Carolina is my home. If there is something spooky going on, I want to know all about it.
CCP: What do you look for in a horror story as a reader?
SHW: I LOVE to be CREEPED out! I want to keep glancing over my shoulder as I read. I am drawn to great characters who engage my sympathies and a textured, believable sense of atmosphere and setting.
CCP: What is your favorite writing snack food?
SHW: M&Ms. Plain chocolate. I have my minions remove all the green ones.
CCP: What other works do you have out there?
SHW: I am currently working on several short stories and a book of horror poems. Yes, horror can be poetic!
CCP: What is one important thing the readers need to know about you?
SHW: Because of my job as a truck driver I never know where I am when I wake up.
CCP: Who are your favorite authors?
SHW: The answer to that question changes every week. After reading “The Crimson Petal and the White” I’m loving on Michel Faber. But I’m so fickle, next week it’ll be someone new. Shirley Jackson is a constant, though. I think when I read “The Haunting of Hill House” as a kid it just…broke something in me. But in a wonderful way.
CCP: What drew you to State of Horror?
SHW: “Dead Girl Mary” was so specific to my state and I tried to create the feeling of a particular lonely Carolina country road on a rainy fall night. I wanted a publication for which ‘local’ and specific weren’t bad words.
CCP: Do you have a favorite state or state you are waiting to open?
SHW: If it hasn’t been done yet, Washington state is my heart’s other home. My husband grew up there and the Pacific Northwest is a creative inspiration for me. Plus, all that rain, how could you NOT have ghosts?
CCP: Music or no music when writing? (and if yes on music, what are you listening to?)
SHW: I wish I could listen to obnoxiously loud music when I write like I can when I make visual art. But I can’t. When I’m writing I can’t listen to people singing or strong beats or anything that my brain can identify as language because it distracts from the voices in the story. I do like to start listening to film soundtracks though, but once I start writing, even that music eventually falls away and I’m unaware it’s there anyway.