Elizabeth Massie admits that horror inspired her to write.
Her main literary inspirations were Stephen King and Ray Bradbury, and she also found inspiration in television series such as “The Twilight Zone,” “The Outer Limits,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “Way Out.” But it was the gentle, emotional aspect of scenes like Frankenstein trying to make friends with a little girl or the Wolf Man begging someone to help him that really drew her in. As a result, most of her writing transcends the horror to include a deeper emotional element.
Of her own books, Massie has an affinity for “Sineater,” her Bram Stoker award-winning book concerning the old Irish tradition of placing food on a deceased person’s chest as they are laid out in the home. A sineater (eater of sin) arrives to eat the food and free the spirit to enter heaven. The book is set in the Appalachian Mountains where Massie lives, and concerns the dark mystery that surrounds the sineater and his isolated family. The Bram Stoker award was her second. She had previously won the award for a novella titled “Stephen.”
Massie wrote for several years before taking the plunge to write full time. Like so many authors, even though her books were selling well the income wasn’t adding up. So she began to diversify and found that she enjoyed writing historical novels as much as she liked horror. They both contained a common thread — the deep human element. At the time, historical novels for younger readers were popular, and she found herself with a four-book deal for the series Tor/Forge — Young Founders. Though the historical works require a great deal of research, she found she loved the process.
Her historical writing led to Simon & Schuster/Spotlight Entertainment and Michael Lafon of France to ask her to write novelizations of the then-upcoming television mini-series “The Tudors” (a Showtime Original) and “Versailles” (a French mini-series). She immersed herself in English and French history, the specific time periods and real-life characters. The companies filmed the shows as she was writing, converting bare-bones scripts into novels, fleshing out the countless, interesting details. Her deadline for books more than 90,000 words in length was only four months, and between the research and writing, she rarely left her computer.
Massie is currently working on a middle-grade series (ages 8 to 12), called “Ameri-Scares,” in which each book takes place in a different state and is inspired by an historic event, folktale or legend from that state. For example, “Maryland: Terror in the Harbor” is a time-travel tale that deals with the true horrors of the Fugitive Slave Act. By September and just in time for Book ‘Em North Carolina, the sixth book in the series, “North Carolina: Mountain of Mysteries,” will be published.
She is also writing a horror/dark fantasy novella set in the near future and a young adult supernatural horror novel “The House at Wyndham Strand” set in 1890 in a juvenile detention facility on an island off the coast of South Carolina.
Not a writer to be pigeon-holed, she also writes mainstream fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Her mainstream novel, “Homegrown,” is set in a childrens’ home in the 1970s and 1980s and deals with teenagers and their struggles to know who they are and discover their places in the world. Her nonfiction book, “Night Benedictions,” offers 365 poems and meditations about the goodness of the night, and is intended for people who have trouble sleeping. She also has written countless biographies and special features for American history textbooks and educational programs for companies such as Scott Foresman, National Geographic, Rigby, Scholastic and more.
Massie will be sharing her decades of experience with new and seasoned writers alike at Book ‘Em North Carolina, scheduled for Sept. 22 at Robeson Community College. The event is free and open to the public. She suggests that aspiring writers read as much as possible and attend conferences, conventions and book events to talk with fellow writers and editors, publishers and agents. She will be sharing a variety of tips in the Lewis Auditorium as she speaks about writing novels and the tie-ins between television, film and books, and how authors can become more successful.
Her website, www.elizabethmassie.com, is currently under construction, but you can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.massie.96. Her books are sold in all book stores and her amazon page listing her work is at https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Massie/e/B001HO4Q8A/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1.
p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than 20 books, including two series set in Lumberton. For information about Book ‘Em, visit bookemnc.org. For information about terrell, visit pmterrell.com.