Fun Fact: Lucy tells us, “My first paid job was taking care of snakes and spiders at a nature center.”
SR: Practice pitching: tell us what your new book is about in 50 words or less.
LAS: This book is a collection of 12 horror, dark science fiction, and fantasy short stories. Many of the stories are Lovecraftian, and most of the tales’ protagonists are women.
SR: Cage match between you and your protagonists. It’s a fight to the death. Which one of you will be left standing, and why?
LAS: I am less capable of surviving a death match than most of my protagonists! I’d like to think I’d be able to kick Joseph Pendleton’s butt, but the moment he opened his mouth half the other characters would tear him to pieces. The final showdown would probably be between Louise from “The Yellow Death” and Bea from “Blossoms Blackened Like Dead Stars.” Louise is a deadlier fighter, but Bea is deadlier in general and harder to kill.
On the other hand, it’s possible that the unnamed protagonist of “That Which Does Not Kill You” might be the last one standing. Or possibly Lindy from “Fraeternal”. A case could be made that any one of my protagonists might survive the fight, because they all have different abilities and weaknesses.
SR: What’s the first book you remember reading that had a huge impact on you? How did that story affect you? How do you think it shaped your desire to be a writer?
LAS: It was Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time that simultaneously hooked me as a lifelong science fiction/fantasy reader and fixed me on the idea of writing fantasy and SF instead of mainstream work. I remember that the book spoke to me in a way that nothing I’d read until then really had, and I had that shivery sense of wonder you get with really good speculative fiction. And I thought to myself that if I could write something that made another person feel the way I was feeling, then that would have to be the best job in the world.
SR: What was your journey to publication like? What kind of obstacles did you have to overcome?
LAS: Garden of Eldritch Delights is my 12th book (not counting foreign translations of my urban fantasy series) overall and is my third book with RDSP. My goal since 2009 has been to have at least one book out a year, but I didn’t have any books out in 2015 or 2016. That gap in publication bugged me, but there wasn’t a lot I could do about it.
My typical strategy is to sell the stories I write to magazines or anthologies first and then collect them into a new book after the publications’ exclusivity clauses have expired. That worked well with my book-a-year plan when most publications were asking for exclusivity periods of six months to a year. But recently, more of the high-paying markets have wanted two years of exclusivity, and that threw a bit of a wrench in the works.
The other piece was that I started writing more humor that just doesn’t fit well in a collection with my typical fiction. So for a while I had 50% of a humor collection, and 60% of a more serious collection. It was a race to see what kind of new book I’d get finished first.
I’ve made up for the gap. In addition to Garden of Eldritch Delights, Chiral Mad 4 (an anthology I co-edited with Michael Bailey) will be out soon, and Chaosium will release my novel The Girl With the Star-Stained Soul in early 2019.
SR: It’s the zombie apocalypse. You have to pick a weapon from what’s currently within 10 feet of your present location. What will you defend yourself with?
LAS: I’ve got several weapons in my office: a machete, a couple of throwing axes, a mallet, some clubs, and various knives. The one I’d choose really depends on if being a zombie is contagious, and if it is, how the disease is transmitted. For instance, the machete is probably the best overall weapon, but if we’re dealing with a zombie virus that can be transmitted through blood spatter, eh, maybe I should stay a safe distance away and try my luck with the throwing axes and harsh language instead.
SR: How long will you survive in the zombie apocalypse? How long will your protagonists survive? Why?
LAS: I’d say most of my protagonists could last indefinitely. Having lived through the vampire apocalypse, Louise from “The Yellow Death” has got the whole apocalypse survival thing down to a science. That said, the protagonist of “That Which Does Not Kill You” is a kind of zombie already, but she’d be very sad if anything happened to her friends.
My own strategy for the zombie apocalypse is to be delicious.
SR: Everyone needs an outlet to help them recharge. What hobbies do you have outside of writing?
LAS: For a while, I was in an axe throwing league, and that’s definitely a stress reliever! I’m a member of the Columbus Area Boardgaming Society (CABS) and I play games there every other week; I’m also involved in a weekly Star Wars RPG game. I’ve also recently started doing watercolor painting. I painted a little bit when I was a kid, but hadn’t done anything with art since I was probably 10 or so. I’m enjoying that a great deal.
SR: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
LAS: Keep working to improve your craft, and don’t give up.
SR: Do you have any special events coming up? Where can people catch up with you in person?
LAS: I’ll be speaking at the Wayne County Public Library in Wooster, OH from 6:30-8:00 pm on October 29, 2018. I might be at the World Fantasy Convention in Baltimore in early November, and I will definitely be at StokerCon in Grand Rapids, Michigan next May.
Lucy A. Snyder is the five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author of over 100 published short stories. Her most recent books are the collection Garden of Eldritch Delights and the forthcoming novel The Girl With the Star-Stained Soul. She also wrote the novels Spellbent, Shotgun Sorceress, and Switchblade Goddess, and the collections While the Black Stars Burn, Soft Apocalypses, Chimeric Machines, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Asimov’s Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, and Best Horror of the Year. She’s faculty in Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction MFA program. You can learn more about her at www.lucysnyder.com.