Sunday School: Two Lessons from Stoker Award-Winning Authors

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This year’s Stoker Award ceremony was held in Long Beach, California aboard the Queen Mary—one of the world’s most haunted ships.

During the ceremony, horror author, Tom Deady received the Superior Achievement in a First Novel for Haven and, “word slinger”, Maria Alexander received the Superior Achievement in a Young Adult novel for, Snowed.

We highly recommend that you check out both of these authors and their books! In the meantime, Tom and Maria were gracious enough to accept an invitation to sit down with the Great Lakes Horror Company to talk more about their work. Jason White had the opportunity to chat with Tom Deady, and Monica S. Kuebler spent some time with Maria Alexander.

From these interviews, we were able to grab a fantastic nugget of wisdom from each author (applicable to readers and writers alike) and thought we would share them in this week’s, Sunday School.

StockerCon 2017 award winner for Superior Achievement in a First Novel for Haven

Jason White: You’ve published your second novel already, but there is a certain mystique that creeps in, of writers having trouble after finding success. Do you find that now? Is that creeping in or is your head still in the clouds?

Tom Deady: It’s a little of both, but mostly the former.

Regardless of what public opinion is, I’m not sure I’ll ever love any of my work as much as I love Haven. I’m hoping other people will too but I remember having a conversation with Bracken MacLeod (who wrote Stranded and Mountain Home) about this very thing. He called it, “imposter syndrome”. You never really feel like you really belong in the same sentence with certain other writers. I mean, I hope it wasn’t a lightening in a bottle type thing and I hope I have more success in the future.

Moving forward though, I think my novella that I have coming out is such a different . . .  almost a different genre really. It’s horror (I guess) but there’s no supernatural element. It’s much darker and a little more violent (I would say).

So, even though I’m an older person, I still feel like a rooky writer. I would say I’m still kind of exploring different voices and different forms (of writing). For example, one of the ghost story novels I’m working on now, I’m trying to incorporate a lot of epistolary writing and I know there are various opinions on that. I’m really just trying different things out and am basically having fun with it!

Follow Tom on his website, Facebook and Twitter.


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Maria Alexander
StokerCon 2017 award winner for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel for Snowed

Monica S. Kuebler: In Snowed, the protagonist, Charity is a very interesting, complex character. She’s bi-racial, she’s very smart, and she’s totally into STEM. Can you talk a little bit about your process in creating character?

Maria Alexander: Well, I started with just reading Tumblr’s written by bi-racial girls, and I did that for a year and a half, almost two years. I wanted to see what their challenges were and what they’re coping with. Also, one of my friend’s daughters (actually she has 2 daughters that are bi-racial, the same mix as Charity) made me curious: what are their challenges? These kids are the future, so what are they dealing with now that they’re carrying forward and I found it really fascinating.

Also, I wanted to show a girl who was comfortable using numbers, a girl who was comfortable using math and numbers, because I knew several growing up. In fact, one of my best friend’s moms was an engineer. So it never occurred to me when I was that age that anyone wouldn’t be comfortable with math and science and physics and all of that stuff.

You know, I knew that Charity was complex, and then also, making her an atheist was also going to give her an extra edge. But once she became a whole person, she really did become a whole person in my mind. The more details I was able to craft into her, the more compelling she became to me. And I love her as if she were one of my own children. She’s just an amazing young woman.

MSK: How have teenagers reacted to her?

MA: Oh they love her! Oh my God! I mean, partly because she’s a, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” type of character. She’s like, “Whatever. I’m going after this, whatever it is!”

Her confidence is overwhelming, and teen’s love seeing her just be so brave and so smart and so proactive in the story. Because you know, there are a lot of YA novels where the female protagonist is really just sort of mopey and really just doesn’t really drive the story at all. I’ve read these books and they are very frustrating to read. But the kids love Charity, and their response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Follow Maria on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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You can listen to the complete interviews with these Stoker-award winning authors on iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher, or right here on the Library of the Damned website.

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