In preparation for the exciting new anthology, EVIL IN TECHNICOLOR, coming out on October 1, of this year, we had an opportunity to sit down with Stina Leicht, author of the acclaimed Malorum Gates series, and the forthcoming feminist space adventure, Persephone Station. She is the author of “Forgiveness is Warm Like a Tear on the Cheek” from EVIL IN TECHNICOLOR, about a haunted house and some very haunted people in Austin, TX. We’ll be running a little excerpt of her fantastic story on Wednesday, so come on back, then!
VB) Your story deals with haunted houses in a very original way. Without revealing too much, where did you find the inspiration for this unique take on the classic haunted house?
Stina) I love haunted houses. Love them. I’ve always wanted to live in one because of The Munsters and The Addams Family. However, I never want to live in a space full of negative energy. It’s not a great idea. So, I haven’t. Anyway, one of my favorite haunted house stories in media form is The Haunting of Hill House. The new one. I adore it. I’m also a Shirley Jackson fan. So, my story makes reference to it–in fact the title comes from a line spoken in the last episode. I took inspiration from that and ran with it in a different direction. Also, I thought it’d be a hoot to make references to The Munsters. So, I added that too.
VB) Is there a Maufrais house in Austin? Is there a real house in your neighborhood that inspired your version?
Stina) There isn’t one. After seeing “Maufrais” stamped on sidewalks all over my neighborhood for years and being unable to find any information about it, I made up something. Funny thing: I did find the real story today when I looked. (see http://www.texasescapes.com/AustinTexas/Austin-Sidewalks-Maufrais.htm) It was a concrete manufacturing company that created a large portion of the sidewalks and other concrete structures around Austin. They existed for ninety years and then the business shuttered. The dynasty vanished with it. Thus, the mystery. As for the house, I used a friend’s place as the model. It’s gorgeous and sits on a hill just as described. (No cemetery, though.) The house really is on Academy. My friends are goths and throw a great Halloween party. They’re thrilled. The house even has those same speaking tubes in it that appear in Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House. Cool or what?
VB) What’s one thing that really surprised you how things changed in your life with the Covid situation?
Stina) Covid didn’t change much of my day to day life–other than not being able to go to the coffee shop to write. Interestingly enough, I see quite a bit more of my husband and that’s been wonderful. The surprising thing is that I actually interact with people more than I did before. I make a point to do so whereas before I didn’t. Weird, isn’t it?
Stina Leicht writes science fiction, horror, and fantasy. Her next novels, Persephone Station and Loki’s Ring are Feminist Space Operas scheduled for publication in January 2021 and 2022 by Saga Press. She was a finalist for the Crawford Award and the Astounding (Campbell) Award for Best New Writer in 2011 and 2012. She has also written four Fantasy novels: Cold Iron, Blackthorne, Of Blood and Honey, And Blue Skies from Pain.