Featured Author: Teresa Bergen
State of Horror: Louisiana Volume II
Teresa Bergen’s first horror story was a tale of giant tarantulas taking over the world, written in fourth grade. Since then, her writing and interests have been wide-ranging. She regularly writes health, fitness and travel articles for many websites. Lately, she’s obsessed with cobras. Her current fiction project is a trilogy about a teenage girl who unlocks her latent cobra powers. She’s also working on a celebrity bio of Adhira, the famous leucistic cobra who rampaged through Thousand Oaks, California in 2014. Teresa’s novels Killing the President and Madame Tingley’s Organ are available on Amazon.
Synopsis: “Binky” from State of Horror: Louisiana Volume II
Gloria is a new stepmother to Eva, an 11 year old with issues. Eva had been caught in a hurricane with her mother and was there as her mother died before Eva was rescued, as a result she has serious adjustment issues. Gloria is left for a period of time with care of Eva, because her husband Alan has to go and identify his parents’ remains from the devastation of the hurricane. Gloria had also suffered in the hurricane, barely surviving but lost her beloved dog Bellocq. Gloria and Eva had a difficult time relating to each other. Although Gloria tried, she could not reach Eva. Then a huge black pit bull shows up and instantly bonds with Eva. Gloria does not want to keep the dog, but Alan tells her it is the first joy seen in Eva. The bond between Eva and the dog is unnatural and uncomfortable for Gloria. She starts to feel fear. And the pair begin doing things to frighten Gloria on purpose. In addition Gloria is grieving over her lost dog. In the mean time Gloria is trying to take care of Eva as best she can, and be sensitive to her needs, but the girl is difficult and is constantly with the dog—like they can communicate and conspire. Gloria’s parents had been new-ageers and had enrolled their daughter in all sorts of rituals and religions, one eastern one that took had a mantra that Gloria did not use anymore. She did not say the word Binky, or words that sound like it. Eva named the dog Binky and was trying to get Gloria to say it. Then one day, Gloria was taking Eva and Binky for a drive and Eva flipped out insisting on going down a certain street—maybe her old neighborhood? Gloria does as the child asks and ends up near condemned homes from the hurricane. As a storm whips up everything will change and the past becomes the future.
In better times, a new wife might have complained, but welcome to post-hurricane New Orleans, where “sacrifice” was on everybody’s to do list.
Time to Meet Teresa Bergen
Charon Coin Press: What inspired your story in State of Horror?
Teresa Bergen: I lived in the fascinating state of Louisiana for five years. I left a few years before Katrina, but kept up with the weirdness and sadness of the aftermath. I also was initiated into transcendental meditation as a teen, and have since had a lifelong paranoia about revealing my secret mantra.
CCP: Is there a reason this particular state appealed to you?
TB: I lived in New Orleans for a year and a half when I was pretty young. Later, I got my MFA in fiction writing from LSU in Baton Rouge. I put myself through grad school doing historical research on the state, and then stayed on for a couple more years as a researcher for a history of Louisiana miniseries and working in an oral history center. So I definitely feel a connection.
CCP: What do you look for in a horror story as a reader?
TB: Interesting characters, not just shock and gross-outs.
CCP: What is your favorite writing snack food?
CCP: What other works do you have out there?
TB: Novels: Madame Tingley’s Organ, Killing the President.
Non-fiction books: Vegetarian Asia Travel Guide, Meditations for Gym Yogis
A bazillion online articles
CCP: What is one important thing the readers need to know about you?
TB: They don’t really need to know anything about me, but thanks for reading this.
CCP: Who are your favorite authors?
TB: Joan Didion, Francoise Sagan, Graham Greene
CCP: What drew you to State of Horror?
TB: The regional theme is really fun.
CCP: Do you have a favorite state or state you are waiting to open?
CCP: Music or no music when writing?
TB: Sometimes. For the trilogy of cobra-related books I’m currently working on, I listen to Sapera: Snake Charmers of Northern India over and over and over again. I have some other snake charmer CDs, too, but that’s the best one.
CCP: If you could go anywhere in the world right now where would you go and why?
TB: Nag Panchami cobra festival in India. Well, not right now. It’s in August, during monsoon season. Part of my next book will happen there and I’m having a hard time really imagining it. But I’m sort of scared. All those lethal snakes, you know. Would like to pack my own antivenin, just in case.
CCP: What was the hardest part about writing your story?
TB: Making the ending clear without hitting the reader over the head.
CCP: Do you have any writing rituals?
TB: Mustering up faith that I will know what happens next in my story.
Thanks to our feature today from State of Horror: Louisiana Volume II, Teresa Bergen for visiting with us and sharing her insight for her story. You can pick up your copy of any of the above titles or catch her story, “Binky” in State of Horror: Louisiana Volume II. Other places to spot Bergen are on Twitter at @TeresaBergen, visiting her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/teresa.bergen.3, or swinging by her website at www.teresabergen.com. Visit us tomorrow as we meet another author from State of Horror: Louisiana Volume II and follow the other features at Charon Coin Press.