Melodie Romeo joins up for the first feature today in Women in Horror Month. Romeo’s story, “Malefactor” will appear in the upcoming release of Paying the Ferryman. Today, she will discuss her favorite monsters, favorite authors, and her book, Vlad, the Novel. Let’s take a few moments to get to know our feature, Melodie Romeo.
Charon Coin Press: What drew you to the horror genre?
Melodie Romeo: My daughter loves reading the horror genre and I grew up with Steven King movies, but I have to give fellow Mississippi author Alexander Brown some of the credit for drawing me into this genre, as I was mostly writing historical fiction previously.
CCP: Do you have a favorite monster/horror character?
MR: I do like vampires and werewolves, but as for a favorite character, that would have to be Ellen Ripley from the Aliens series. I admire her courage, toughness, skill, and determination to defeat the monsters and save as many as she can.
CCP: Do you have any advice for other female writers who want to write horror?
MR: I think developing interesting characters the audience relates with and placing them in rich, mood-producing settings is as important as the action. To me horror is not just about blood and guts but suspense and irony. I try to employ the “twist ending” to keep my stories from being too predictable. I see absolutely no difference between a woman or a man writing horror, so don’t let anyone intimidate you.
CCP: What do you look for in a good horror story?
MR: Well, the same things I just described above – strong characters, suspense, surprise, and an ending that makes sense.
CCP: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
MR: I have ALWAYS been into writing, completing my first “book” in grade 2. I wrote stories all through junior and senior high school, college, and after. It wasn’t until 2002 that I actually began to put forth works for publication.
CCP: Who is your favorite horror author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
MR: Edgar Allen Poe. He was a marvelous wordsmith, could create mood and suspense, and shock the reader all within the span of a short story.
CCP: What are your favorite horror films? What book would you love to see on the big screen?
MR: Nothing I read or watch ever really makes me scared….except perhaps Peter Benchley’s Jaws. Maybe it was my young age at the time of seeing the original movie, but a few years later when I read the book, some passages were even scarier in print than on film. I think what strikes me about Jaws is that it is something that could really happen, and that makes it more frightening. I would love to see “Vlad, a novel” made into a motion picture. I think it would be awesome! Oh, yeah, that is one of my novels. Ooops!
CCP: What are three “Good to Know” facts about you? Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details.
MR: My first job was as a teacher, and that is mostly what I have done my whole life, only now I am an over the road truck driver because I got tired of working my tail off and not getting paid! So now I make money :)
I am also a musician. I play the French horn and compose music and songs. My favorite job was as a church music leader.
Now I am hoping to break through with my writing so that I can live at home again and make money doing something I love to do.
CCP: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
MR: With so many books and stories that have already been written, I have trouble coming up with what I think is an original idea. One of my teachers once said, “You have to find something to say that hasn’t been said before; if you can’t do that, then you need to find a new way to say it.” So that, I find, is my biggest challenge.
Melodie Romeo’s Bio
Melodie Romeo is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in History from the University of West Florida. Ms Romeo is a retired school teacher who currently travels the country as an over the road trucker with Prime, Inc. Her first book, Vlad, a Novel, was published in 2002. She has short stories published in anthologies by Seventh Star Press and Charon Coin Press. The mother of two, she resides in Utica, MS with her partner of 18 years.