R.C. Mulhare was born in Lowell, Massachusetts and grew up in one of the surrounding towns, in a hundred-year-old house up the street from an old cemetery. Her interest in the dark and mysterious started when she was quite young, when her mother read the faery tales of the Brothers Grimm and quoted the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe to her, while her Irish storyteller father infused her with a fondness for strange characters and quirky situations. When she isn't writing, she moonlights in grocery retail, and enjoys hiking in the woods of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, plus browsing the antiques shops one finds all over New England. A two-time Amazon best-selling author, contributor to the Hugo-nominated Archive of Our Own, and member of the New England Horror Writers, her work previously appeared with Atlantean Publishing, Off the Beaten Path Press, Macabre Maine, FunDead Publications, Deadman's Tome, and Weirdbook Magazine.
When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I learned to be a storyteller from my dad, and my mom has penfriends all over the world and has encouraged me to write. She even helped me write down my stories when I was too young to write! I've tinkered with fanfic and fantasy most of my life, but it wasn't until much later, after I'd faced down the real life fear of losing my job that I decided to face my fear of rejections and get published. Our town's library hosted a gathering of local horror authors which I attended in October of 2015, and while chatting with one gent, he asked me why I wasn't published yet, I told him I work retail and it takes a lot of time and energy out of me. He asked me how I long I'd worked retail; I told him I'd worked it for thirteen years. Then he looked me in the eye and said, "If you can work retail for thirteen years, *you* can get published." A light went on in my head and I thought 'Well, why the heck not?' The following summer, I got two stories accepted by two indie presses, and the rest, as the saying goes, is history and a very spirited one.
What genres do you most enjoy writing in, and why?
I started in fantasy and science fiction, then moved on to supernatural and cosmic horror more recently. Speculative fiction is my home in the writing world and I love carving out my own little spaces in it!
Do you write nonfiction?
I keep a journal of my daily life, and I've thought about taking some of the entries from during the pandemic and editing them as a short autobiography, a modern day Journal of the Plague Days, like Daniel Defoe's!
How did you get the idea for "The Terror on the Gridiron"? More importantly, how many times did you read the source material to create this apocryphal tale?
I had the idea come to me during Thanksgiving week when I was bagging turkeys at my day job in grocery retails and I overheard a conversation about the high school football rivalry between my town and a neighboring one, which got me to thinking of a similar rivalry between Harvard and Yale. And since Yale was one of HPL's inspirations for Miskatonic U, I got the clear mental image of Herbert West and his unnamed assistant working over an injured football player. The HPL story and the movie version by the late, great Stuart Gordon are among my favorite horror pieces. I often listen to an audiobook version of the story, performed by Jeffrey Combs, while I'm writing,and this one inspires me to write the kind of chapters that Lovecraft didn't write but which could have happened to the gruesome twosome (and yes, like Pete Rawlik with his Reanimators series, I've cleverly woven in some ideas based on things in the movie). This one came to me so quickly, it practically wrote itself!
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Usually, it involves not having enough of at least one of three things: time, energy (physical and-or emotional), or inspiration. Sometimes I'm able to jumpstart the inspiration by watching or reading something that makes me think of the current WIP, but other times I have to be patient with myself while I figure out how to better manage my time and energy.
You're a writer, but also a reader. Who is your favorite author, and what do you like best about them?
Oh man, there are many: besides HPL, I love Jane Austen for her insights into human relationships, Flannery O'Connor for the way she depicts humans at their less than best but still fascinating, and Oscar Wilde for his wit and wisdom, but I also love reading Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series and George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones, which have taught me a lot about world building.
What are you working on now?
I'm taking a mini-breather from writing horror, and I'm looking at some weird romances I've had on various back burners. What do I mean by weird romances? One puts a romantic slant on H.P. Lovecraft's Wilbur Whateley, another combines Robert W. Chambers's King in Yellow stories with the shopgirl romances he'd write later in life - and a third involving Herbert West romancing an eventually ill-fated socialite. I've got more stories in the works, so watch my FB page at https://www.facebook.com/rcmulhare/ for an anthology of Eighties horror stories which some friends of mine in the New England Horror Writers have put together, which includes my "The Cherryfield Terror", a tale of summer teen hijinks and the Satanic Panic in small town Maine... More recently, Hellbound Books released their Dennis Wheatey-inspired anthology Satan Rides Your Daughter , which includes my "Stonehedge Street Terror", in which a young actor finds his role as a possessed person in a house haunt attraction taking on a terrifying reality. You can find it at tinyurl.com/krvut992
Thank you for a great interview!
To read R. C. Mulhare's great addition to the Herbert West saga, download or order a copy of Strangely Funny VIII. She's also contributed to several previous volumes of the series, so your enjoyment of her work can go on and on.
Strangely Funny VIII is available in print and Kindle now!
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