How were you approached to contribute to SINS OF THE SIRENS? Did you know who else would be contributing to the anthology?
During the World Horror Convention in San Francisco, John Everson took me out for a drink in the Tenderloin and asked if I’d be part of a four-woman anthology for Dark Arts. Many years earlier, he’d read “The Angel’s Lair” in the slush pile for Dark Regions and, while he couldn’t sell his bosses on the story then, it always stuck in his mind. In fact, he’d tracked me down at my first World Horror Convention ever — in Denver — to tell me how much he’d liked the story. So my character Lorelei is the reason that John and I got to be friends.
In San Francisco, he honored me by asking me first – of all the women he could have chosen – to be in the book. He tossed out a couple of other names, some of whom didn’t end up in Sirens, but he also mentioned Maria Alexander and Mehitobel Wilson, both of whom I knew from working at Gothic.Net back in the day.
Each story included in this anthology is vastly different from the other. “The Angel’s Lair” is supernatural fantasy; “Sound of Impact” is a realistic tale of clandestine lovers; “Still Life With Broken Glass” is also realistic, a tale of sexual perversions and morbid curiosities; and finally “Last-Born” goes back to the style of your first entry – supernatural fantasy. How did you decide which stories to include? What was the inspiration behind each? And why do these fit with the theme of SINS OF THE SIRENS?
Actually, I gave John a bunch of stories and he made the final selection. He wanted a balance of two that were previously published and two that would be original to the anthology. Of the stories he didn’t choose, one of them was gay vampire porn, initially published in City Slab, and one was lesbian horror that will probably never be published, since it’s too far out there. It’s erotica, but the narrator is very young.
In terms of the stories that made the cut, “The Angel’s Lair” was written as a serial via emails to a friend, who lived in LA and continues to be obsessed by devil girls. I wanted to write about a party girl who walks into something far beyond her ken and knocks the universe on its ass.
“Sound of Impact” spun out of an essay I was writing about the old displays at the Griffith Observatory. I was, shall we say, enhanced during my visit there and was quite shocked by the pictures sent up on the Voyager spacecraft. How would aliens make any sense of our genitals or the image of a human giving live birth? When I converted the essay to fiction, I didn’t know how it would end, but a friend of mine really did joke about planting a bomb in my luggage at the Burbank Airport. Luckily, that was pre-9/11.
“Still Life with Broken Glass” came from my years living in Ann Arbor and roaming around late at night. I worked in the English Department and spent a lot of time amused by the grandiose schemes for getting published and becoming famous that the students and professors engaged in.
I thought the story would never see print. Originally, the characters were male, but I had one magazine tell me that they would publish it only if I made them straight, rather than gay. Eventually, I pitched it to Thomas Roche for the NOIROTICA series with the two female main characters, since he said he never got enough lesbian stories. He accepted it right away, but that book still hasn’t come out. The story won the fiction contest at one of the World Horror Conventions. Eventually, it was published in Cemetery Dance.
“Last-Born” features my favorite character, Alondra DeCourval. Her adventures have appeared in Not One of Us, Wily Writers, and will be coming soon in the next issue of Instant City as well as in THE HAUNTED MANSION PROJECT from Damnation Press. Alondra stories always spin from their setting. In this case, it was New Orleans, where I had some dear friends living at the time. They introduced me to several voodoo practitioners and led me around the Bywater and I got caught in a New Orleans downpour. So the story was born.
Lorelei is the main seductress in “The Angel’s Lair,” but just recently made a comeback in the DEMON LOVERS anthology. Can you give us some background on Lorelei? How did she come to be, and why were you inspired to bring her back? (We are grateful you did, by the way!)
I’m glad you liked “Never Bargained for You”! I’m really proud of how that story turned out. It was written specifically for the Demon Lovers book after the editor decided she wanted to put together a succubus collection – and I had to be in it. I was so flattered that I had to write something special for her.
You can read the rest of the interview on Dreadful Tales.
It was originally published as “Ladies of Sins of the Sirens: Interview with Loren Rhoads” by Meli Hooker on February 21, 2012.