Legendary, edited by the amazing Laura Harvey, in all its hot, romantic, urban legend goodness releases today. I wanted to celebrate the list release with an interview with two of the authors included in the anthology. So, please welcome Sara Dobie Bauer who wrote “Not Again” and Wendy Sparrow who wrote “She Wore White.” (I’ll wait for the applause to die down.)
RP: Now let’s get this party started. Why did you choose the urban legend you did?
SDB: Psycho with a hook hand? What could possibly go wrong? I’m a big fan of horror movies, and I’ve always enjoyed their twisted way of imparting life rules on the masses. Drink booze? You’re gonna die. Have sex? You’re totally going to die. Have sex in a parked car after drinking booze? DEADED. This story is me giving a big middle finger to life rules, however, as you’ll see in “Not Again.”
WS: From the first moment I read a hitchhiking ghost urban legend, I was hooked. There are so many of them. Some are spooky and violent, like the woman in the Supernatural series pilot. Others are like the hitchhiking ghost on Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride—mostly benign spirits. I love them all. There’s something very real about a hitchhiking ghost. I think it’s because we see hitchhikers, now and then, and some part of us wonders about their story, even if we pass them by.
RP: What urban legend freaks you out?
SDB: The one about the old lady whose dog sat under her bed and licked her hand when things were all right in the night. Eventually, the dog gets murdered in the bathroom. Written in blood on the mirror: “Humans can lick, too.” BAHHHHHH!!!! Nope. Just nope. Makes me want to vomit.
WS: Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary has and will always freak me out. I did a little bit of a research for a guest post on the subject and I’ve maxed out how far down that rabbit hole I will ever go.
RP: You are not alone in that, Wendy. That one wigs me out too. Enough about *shudder* Bloody Mary… What was the hardest part of re-writing an existing legend?
SDB: Figuring out my romantic leads. Re-writing an urban legend isn’t too tough, but when you have to throw romance into the mix, you really need to give it some thought. Not only did I make “Not Again” a horror-comedy, but I also cast two gay men as my male leads. Then, I had to somehow mix the perfect recipe of terror and toe-curling yum yum yum. It’s a delicate art.
RP: There’s definitely that yum, yum, yum factor going on. *wolf whistle*
WS: It’s difficult to know how much of the original legend to incorporate. Where do you draw the line? Is this a retelling, a reimagining, or a jumping off point? There were enough hitchhiking ghost stories that I could pick and choose what I wanted to use. If I’d gone with some of the more classic urban legends, as I’d planned at one point, then I might have been forced by my OCD to work in some of the integral elements. Before the drafting phase, I’d also had the hooked man urban legend on the table, but a plot didn’t jump out at me (which is just as well since it was nabbed in this anthology.)
RP: *cough* Sara *cough* Okay, so now for the $64,000 question, why should people pick up this book? Other than the obvious that you’re in it.
SDB: Because I’m in it. Oh, you need another reason. Um, because urban legends are amazing! We’ve heard the stories since we were kids, sitting around a campfire. It’s fun to revisit the things that scared us most and possibly shaped our definitions of morality. (Of course, the urban legends I heard did nothing for my morality and really just turned me into a horror movie freak with a twisted sense of humor.)
WS: WUH?!! *side-eyes you* How is this even a question?
RP: *side-eyes back* My interview, my rules. Just answer the question, Wendy. Unless you’re too scared.
WS: Fine. Urban legends are the adult version of the fables and fairytales—though we’re often introduced to them as children. While you might not believe in dragons and elves anymore, the if/then morality lessons ingrained from many of these spook stories haunt us into adulthood. If you’re naughty, you might just end up in a bathtub in Vegas missing a kidney. The stories in this anthology grab those morality lessons by the neck and rewrite the ending. It turns out that naughty or nice, we still might get out alive…and have sexy times. You don’t want to miss out on that.
RP: I know you guys are busy. What else do we have to look forward to in 2017 from you?
RP: More Imogene. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
SDB: I have a novella trilogy shared with three other authors, called Enchanted, which will be released over the course of the year. A cornucopia of Sara Dobie Bauer short stories will be hitting the web, too, so if you’d like to keep up with all the goodness, subscribe to my blog on my website or stalk me on social media (Twitter, Facebook). I love stalkers—unless they have hooks for hands. Seriously.
RP: Unless it’s Killian Jones from Once Upon a Time. He could stalk me any time.
WS: I’ve got a hacker story in an upcoming geektastic anthology called Covalent Bonds.
RP: It’s awesome. Just trust us on this.
WS: I just released a whole series of novellas about Father Time’s sons called the Servants of Fate series.
RP: Those are awesome too.
WS: Then, I’ll be making my YA debut in the summer under the pen name Wendy Laine with a novel about a gargoyle and a girl with OCD who cuts herself. This novel is the story of my soul and I’ve been working on finding just the right place and way to get it published for many, many years. I’ve been trying to shine light on OCD and normalize mental illness and this is me finally finding my fictional voice. It’s not a story about OCD. It’s a paranormal romance with a main character with OCD. This is the story I needed to read as a teenager when the only characters I identified with in fiction were the ones going slowly mad. There are no words to really say how important this story is to me, but, also, I’m terrified. 2017 is going to be big for me. I might spend much of it a nervous wreck of a person. Don’t get too close to the author’s cage, I might bite.
RP: I had the pleasure of reading an early draft of the gargoyle/cutter story and I absolutely loved it. I’m looking forward to reading the final version. You all will too.
[Editor’s note: Wendy Sparrow will also be included in Enchanted, even though she doesn’t mention it.]
Thank you to both Sara Dobie Bauer and Wendy to take the time to fit me into their increasingly busy schedule. Make sure you follow them on Twitter… you won’t be sorry.
Urban legends. We’ve all heard them, we’ve all told them. They fill the role that fairy tales once held—morality tales meant to frighten us into sticking with the herd, obeying society’s rules, and not taking any chances. In most urban legends, once someone transgresses, we know things won’t end well for them.
But what if the bright spark of romance also common to these stories refuses to be snuffed out? What if it bursts into a love that fights for its chance to burn? Can love triumph over evil? Forgive any trespass? Heal any wound?
Set off into a dark wood with a young love that won’t go quietly into the night. Bait a vengeful ghost to find family, and love. Ride along with a hitchhiker who won’t vanish for long. Learn to love a touch that is not human. Find passion beneath the scars. Dive into five tales that speak to the heart of myth and find love that is nothing short of legend.
Featuring new stories by Sara Dobie Bauer, Wendy Sparrow, T. R. North, Aisling Phillips, and Michael Leonberger.