Featured Author: Pamela Troy
State of Horror: Louisiana Volume I
Pamela Troy was born in New Orleans and grew up in southern and northern Louisiana. After graduating with an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro she moved to Pittsburgh, decided it was too cold, and moved on to the San Francisco Bay Area where she has lived for over twenty years. Her jobs have included bookseller, magazine production assistant, and telecom billing analyst. These days she works in the Events Department of the San Francisco Mechanics’ Institute, the oldest library on the West Coast, and lives on Nob Hill with her husband and a large, angry orange cat. Her fiction has been published in Space and Time, Crimson: an Online Horror Magazine, Night Terrors, and TM Publishing’s Crimson Fog.
Synopsis: “Risen” from State of Horror: Louisiana Volume I
Risen is the name of a plantation house. In 1965 an eight-year-old girl and her family are staying there while her father finishes his novel without distractions. The father’s friend Tank Caskey offered the family the use of Risen. The family’s housekeeper lives near-by the plantation house and soon her daughter Laura is a staple in the little girl’s life. Laura teaches the girl all about the area including La Place and the horrible history of Risen and the Caskey family—a history Tank had neglected to mention to the family. When Easter comes the family experiences the sorted history of Risen first-hand. Whether they can survive or not is the question.
In the south, there are dead who won’t rest until the soil they tilled is sown with salt
Time to Meet Pamela Troy
Charon Coin Press: What inspired your story in State of Horror?
Pamela Troy: Several things inspired it. When I was a kid growing up in southern Louisiana, my family and I used to go to a weekend place called “Haphazard.” Aside from being in rural south Louisiana, which is to say, overgrown, shadowy, and snake infested, it wasn’t an especially disturbing place, but it did provide the setting. Then there’s the picture of a derelict plantation house I saw once, a place called Belle Grove that was torn down back in the ‘30s. And finally, there are the harrowing accounts I read and heard of the 1927 Mississippi flood. John Barry’s history, Rising Tide was a particularly strong influence.
CCP: Is there a reason this particular state appealed to you?
PT: I love ghost stories. Louisiana has as many ghosts as it does mosquitoes, and a history and landscape that have strong elements of horror. Madame LaLaurie, the Axeman, the cemeteries, all those dark, deep bayous…
CCP: What do you look for in a horror story as a reader?
PT: I like the writer to get inside my head and prompt me to imagine terrible things, rather than going into explicit descriptions of gore. Horror writers who have succeeded in unnerving me include Charles Dickens, Thomas Ligotti, Oliver Onions, M.R. James, Elizabeth Bowen, Joe Hill, and Fritz Leiber.
CCP: What is your favorite writing snack food?
PT: I love homemade chex mix.
CCP: What other works do you have out there?
PT: My most recent published story was in TM Publishing’s Crimson Fog Magazine, the February 2013 issue, a ghost story entitled “You Don’t Believe in Me.” I’m rather proud of that one. I’ve also been published in Space and Time, Night Terrors, and Crimson — an online Horror Magazine.
CCP: What is one important thing the readers need to know about you?
PT: I am an obsessive storyteller.
CCP: What drew you to State of Horror?
PT: I like the idea of collecting ghost stories set in various states. Every place has its own version of the sinister, its own legends. I am an unabashed patriot in that I believe every inch of this country is fascinating and fertile and unique when it comes to stories.
CCP: Do you have a favorite state or state you are waiting to open?
PT: California is a great place for horror. There are so many broken dreams, whether from the gold rush of San Francisco, the dot.com boom of Silicon Valley, or the gothic tragedies of Hollywood.
CCP: Music or no music when writing?
PT: I don’t play music as I’m writing because I get too distracted by it, but I will play certain songs before I begin because they serve as themes and inspire me. I listen, then turn it off and start typing. The song I play these days is an accordion version of “Let My Baby Ride” that appeared in an amazing, indescribable French film called Holy Motors. The story I’m writing is in no way related to the movie, but when I heard that song, I fell in love with it because it was perfect for the place I am trying to create.
CCP: If you could go anywhere in the world right now where would you go and why?
PT: At this moment? Right now? New Orleans, The Central Grocery. I would love a Muffulata.
CCP: What was the hardest part about writing your story?
PT: Cutting, cutting, cutting. It was twice as long in the original version. I do go on sometimes.
CCP: Do you have any writing rituals?
PT: Yes. I get up in the morning. I feed the cat. I kiss my husband. I make coffee. Then I walk to my desk and check my email. Once the coffee is ready, and I’ve taken a few sips, then I’m ready to begin writing. My cat keeps me company by curling up in the territory on my desk that we’ve negotiated. My husband types at his computer behind me. Outside, cars go by, sirens wail, and cable-cars rattle in the distance. I write until about noon, then get ready for work downtown.
Our thanks go out to Pamela Troy. Her story “Risen” was in the previous release and she opted to return with the new relaunch. It has been a pleasure to work with her through the process. Find out more about Pamela Troy on her Twitter or on her website at http://paft.livejournal.com/. Come back for more feature authors from the State of Horror series.