Friday, February 20, 2015
Grimm Mistresses: Mercedes M. Yardley
Today we have with us one of my absolute favorite horror writers of all time. Her lyrical prose wraps you in gossamer then slams your head against the side of a brick. It's beautiful. It's poetic...sigh.
Her story "Little Dead Red" was a masterful look into the fairy tale of Red Riding Hood and also very unique.
1. What inspired your story?
MMY: We were asked to update a story from Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I’ve always been interested in Little Red Riding Hood, but it’s been done so many times. Sexy Red Riding Hood. The dangerous, seductive wolf. A sweet little girl protected by the wolf. All of these different takes are fascinating but have been done before. So how do I write something unique that still keeps my interest as a writer?
I thought deeply about the story, and realized that it isn’t a story about a young girl traipsing through the woods. It’s a tale about a mother who sends her child directly into the claws of a wolf. If Mother had taken the basket herself, Little Red would be just fine. So that’s the route I took, a mother’s anguish, when I wrote Little Dead Red.
2. As a woman in horror, do you find any added pressure?
MMY: Sometimes. Sometimes it feels like people are watching to see if you fail. On the other hand, there are so many people cheering you on. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what others think, really. You just write the best story you can and be true to who you are as an author.
3. Name three things on your desk right now.
MMY: I have an adorable Maleficent doll, a glass of Coke Zero, and a voodoo doll. I’ll throw in an extra and say that I have a gothic Little Red Riding Hood doll on there, too. Wow. I have a thing for dark little dolls, I guess.
4. What are some writers that have influenced your work.
MMY: I’m influenced a bit by Roald Dahl, Joyce Carol Oates, and Erma Bombeck. Shake them all up, add glitter, and my work pours out.
5. Tell us what your future plans are? Any novels in the works?
MMY: Absolutely! I’m currently finishing up another novella. As soon as I’m finished with that, I’m diving into the second Bone Angel Trilogy book. It’s titled Heartless: Carnival of Isolation. Then I have a standalone novel I’m dreaming of working on, temporarily titled The Kitchen Witch. After that, it’s the third Bone Angel Trilogy book. All of this is interspersed with short stories and the like. I’m happily busy.
6. If I were your favorite dessert what would I be?
MMY: You, Madam, would most likely be Burnt Almond Fudge ice cream spooned onto a Chips Ahoy cookie. Aren’t you delicious!
7. What would you tell writers new to the horror genre?
MMY: Horror is so much fun! It should be taken seriously, but not too seriously. It’s a big, beautiful playground. Explore it and enjoy doing so.
8. Plotter or pantster?
MMY: I’m an extreme pantser. Doing a trilogy was different for me because I had to do some plotting, and that broke my brain a little bit. But I love to dive deep into my WIP and swim around without having an ultimate destination. There’s so much freedom that way.
Little Dead Red Excerpt
The second she saw the policeman, the look in his dark eyes, her hand flew to her mouth.
“Ma’am, we believe we found your daughter.”
Two months had passed. Two months of looking out the window and doors and standing on the
front porch in the wind and rain and sunshine, just in case Aimee forgot what home looked like. If her
little girl happened to wander by, confused, looking at houses and porches and trying to remember
which apartment had been hers, why, there would be her mother! To love and hold and greet her. To
smooth her hair back from her eyes and promise she’d love her always, no matter what had happened,
no matter what she had been forced to do.
But the eyes of this man, of the way he held her gaze far too carefully while his partner couldn’t
manage to hold her gaze at all, told her she had no need to stand in that doorway ever again.
Her fingers fluttered on the ground, useless.
“Ma’am,” the first officer said again, and his voice was so kindly that it hurt her. Be cruel to her.
Yell and scream at her for losing her child. Tell her all of the things she told herself every day,
but please don’t be kind. Nobody can stand up to that kind of thing.
Mercedes M. Yardley is a dark fantastic who wears red lipstick and poisonous flowers in her hair. She writes short stories, novellas, and novels. Her latest release is Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy, from Ragnarok Publications. Mercedes lives and works in Sin City, and you can reach her at www.mercedesyardley.com.