Friday, September 20, 2019

Apex Back Catalog Tour Author Interview - Elizabeth Massie

During the month-long celebration of Apex's back catalog titles, I had the opportunity to read both a short story by Elizabeth Massie as well as a full length novel, both set in the same Appalachian town and both focused on the Mustard family.  So I'm thrilled today to bring you my interview with an author I'll definitely be checking out more from in the future!

So the short story about Granny Mustard appeared in "Appalachian Undead" before "Desper Hollow" was released.  Did you always plan it this way or did Granny and Jenkie just take on a life of their own and demand more?

I hadn't planned on writing a full-fledged novel based on Granny Mustard but once I completed the short story, I realized that Granny and Jenkie did, indeed, need to have their lives fleshed out and their stories told. And oh! They evolved into even wilder characters than I'd first imagined!

I live in WV so personally it's been fun to read "Desper Hollow" and "Appalachian Undead."  I kind of think the area is ideal for zombie tales.  How did this setting become so prominent in your tales?

I live in western Virginia, not too far from the West Virginia border. The Appalachians/the Alleghenies are right there, visible from our home. My family has been in the region since 1746, so the land and the people are a huge part of who I am. Lots of bright, cheery things. And lots of dark, spooky things. I mean, the caves and the hollows and the thickly-forested patches on the mountains can be breeding grounds for all sorts of bizarre people and creatures. The shadows are especially dark there...and we all know what can grow in the shadows. 

I love horror - movies, TV, books.  Is horror something you always enjoyed and if so, how did your love come about (mine came from my father)? Also, what are some of your favorite movies, books and authors?

As a kid I was easily scared, and yet fascinated by scary books, movies, and television. We'd watch Shock Theater on Saturday afternoons. Shock Theater featured the great old Universal Monster films such as Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, and more. I watched with a pillow in my lap so I could cover my eyes when I got too frightened. On Friday nights, my family would watch The Twilight Zone (first run). That show could be really scary but also could make me feel great sympathy for many of the characters. I guess, that's the key right there. I came to enjoy horror because it was thrilling but also had the potential to reveal the human condition and help me develop a sense of empathy for others. Neither of my parents liked horror but didn't mind the kids watching Shock Theater, The Twilight Zone, or Outer Limits. They never found out that at ten, I checked out a copy of Psycho from our local library (which was one block from our house) and read it at night. That, I'm sure, they wouldn't have approved of! 

As to favorite movies, books, and authors of mine today... 
Movies: All the old Universal Monster classics (with the exception of Creature From the Black Lagoon...I always found that one to be a snooze.) Also, The Exorcist, Freaks (1932), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Wicker Man (1973), Get Out, and A Quiet Place are top of my list. 
Books: Psycho (Bloch), Innocence (Koontz), The Stand (King), Johnny Got His Gun (Trumbo...not often considered horror, but oh, it is), Death Watch (Mannetti), Rosemary's Baby (Levin), The Stepford Wives (Levin), Harvest Home (Tryon), and more.
Authors: Honestly, there are so many I hesitate to try to make a list!

Do you have any future works coming out you'd like to share?  And when you're not writing, what else keep you busy. 

Right now I'm focusing a lot of time and energy on my Ameri-Scares series of novels for middle grade readers. There are 9 books out so far, and I'm working on number 10 (Montana). Each novel is set in a different state in the Union and is based on an actual folktale, legend, or historic event from that state. Author Mark Rainey has joined me in this venture, with the goal of getting novels written for all 50 states. What's particularly exciting is that Warner Horizon (Warner Brothers) has teamed up with Margot Robbie and her production company, LuckyChap, to develop Ameri-Scares into a television series. I don't know the time frame on these things, but as soon as I know more, I'll be making an announcement  As to fiction for adults, I have horror stories coming out this fall in several anthologies. They include "Terror From the Briny Depths," in Dark Tides (a charity anthology edited by John Questore), "Those Who Would Be Terrified" in Midnight in the Graveyard (Silver Shamrock Publishing, edited by Kenneth Cain), and "It's In the Cards" in Porcupine Boy and Other Stories (Crossroad Press, edited by Christopher Jones.) I hope to get back on my new adult historical horror novel as well - The House at Wyndham Strand and get it finished by early 2020. Thanks for asking!

Finally, my pup Cassius is my co-blogger (well, it used to be him and Booker T but we tragically lost Booker T in early summer).  He would kill me if I didn't ask you if you have any 4-legged family members who assist you with your writing process.

Alas, no. My sweet black kitty, Pammy, died a while back and I've yet to introduce a new cat to our family. I will, though, when the time is right.

I want to thank Elizabeth for taking the time to join us at Booker T's Farm!

Also as a side note, I feel in love with the cover of "Desper Hollow" and have since discovered that Elizabeth's husband, Cortney Skinner, is the illustrator. 


  1. I loved reading this interview, Barb! And I hope Massie gets another cat :)

  2. Awesome interview! I loved Desper Hollow as well, and I'm intrigued by Elizabeth's Ameri-Scares series. What a cool idea! Looking forward to The House at Windham Strand when it comes out😁

    1. Yes, that historical horror definitely sounds like something we'd love.

  3. I do like the cover. It's interesting and different. I might well give this a try when time allows-maybe next year!

    1. I think you should. It isn't an extremely long read either so it's great for a great scare.

  4. Great interview. The book is a new one to me. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. the banner made me look twice and so did the cover. :-) I enjoyed the interview and appreciate the time taken to share
    sherry @ fundinmental

  6. I love this interview!! I'm going to have to check out her work soon!!

  7. Granny Mustard huh? I adore that name -- this sounds like great fare for the Halloween season!

  8. Great interview - I love the name Granny Mustard btw - I should take a look at the full length novel.
    Lynn :D