Eerie Pride: Interview with Shelby Suderman
So, tell us a little bit about you. How did you get into writing?
I’m Shelby Suderman (rhymes with Superman) and as of 2022 I’m officially published in Eerie River’s annual anthology Monsters & Mayhem, which includes my short story Nightmares. I’ve been writing since first grade, but it really picked up once I reached junior high and hasn’t stopped since. Even before that, I loved coming up with stories. I’m asexual, and often times the aspectrum will be part of whatever I write.
What piece of writing are you most proud of and why?
Right now that would be definitely be my short story Goodbye, which will be featured in Eerie River’s upcoming anthology It Calls From the Veil. It’s a ghost story where the main couple happen to be in a queerplatonic relationship. I spent a lot of time just working on developing that dynamic because it was really important to me that it felt as real and natural as any other couple you might come across. (Please note that some people in queerplatonic relationships don’t want to be referred to as a couple! It’s up to the individuals involved how they want to define their relationship, but that is how I wrote Rachel and Livia.)
I know a lot of people don’t know what a QPR is, so I wanted readers to be able to pick up the general idea even if they’re not familiar, but I made sure to actually put the word in the text too.
It was important to me that the type of relationship they had was never to blame for anything that went wrong, when that’s so often the trope for aspec-passing characters. It’s never the source of the tension here. They are committed to each other and it’s as loving and healthy as it is because it was designed by them for them.
Goodbye is big, and it’s complicated, and things aren’t necessarily what they seem. And then of course there’s all the horror. It was a stressful writing project, but I’m pleased with how it turned out. I hope I pulled it off. I guess now I wait to find out.
What tropes and genres would you like to see more of in LGBTQIA2S+ representation?
For the longest time it seemed like the contemporary genre had the monopoly on queer representation, and arguably it still does, but I like that it’s started to expand out into genre fiction like sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, because those are the genres I gravitate towards. It’s not that I never pick up contemporary, but I struggle with most of it. It’s just really not my thing, and I while I love that the rep is there, I want to see stories that reflect our world and its diversity in the genres I read.
As far as tropes, I’d say…everything. I want to see us branch off into every type of story. I want us to have everything that’s been mainstream forever. I want us to be everywhere.
What books did you read as a child that inspired you to become an Author?
The go-to answer for this is always the Silverwing trilogy by Kenneth Oppel. That was the first book I picked up and actually read instead of just scanning the pages with my eyes, and it took that book to make me notice the difference. It drew me right in and I read those books over and over again. I made some time last year to revisit them, and I was still impressed. The sequel in particular has so much going on and so much build-up and payoff. Someday I hope to write something as good as Sunwing.
If you’re looking for where my love of the creepy, unsettling horror came from, I have an answer for that too. It took me a while to figure out because it’s not one most people are going to think of as horror, but the picture book 50 Below Zero by Robert Munsch is probably where it started. It’s a picture book about a boy who wakes up to discover his father keeps sleepwalking and how he tries to deal with it. It’s short, it’s minimal, it’s not particularly scary, and nobody dies. And yet there’s just something there. It takes place in the dead of night in the freezing cold. The colours are very muted, and the atmosphere is wonderful. The family appears to live in the middle of nowhere, and while the problem is dealt with via cartoon logic, there is a real danger there that any kid who lives somewhere cold will know about. It’s a bit baby’s-first Twilight Zone and I love it to this day.
What are your favorite genres to read and write?
I mainly read fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, and those are what I tend to write. Although I do pick up thrillers whenever the mood strikes me, and I’d say any fantasy or sci-fi I write that isn’t horror will still have thriller elements. I can’t get way from it.
FDo you have a best revenge story that you have written? i.e have you tortured your boss? Killed your MIL?
No, nothing like that! Although I am in the midst of writing a horror story where things don’t go well for the main character, so I named her after a character I hated growing up, and now I don’t have to feel bad about it!
Do you have any writing rituals?
I’ve gotten into the habit of listening to ambient noise and music without lyrics while I’m writing. (I can’t do lyrics while I’m working.) Lately I’ve been listening to Miracle Forest’s channel on Youtube. I love the variety of mood and settings, especially while working in the horror genre!
Shelby has been writing stories down for almost twenty years, and telling stories even longer. In 2022 her short stories will be featured in two different anthologies from Eerie River Publishing: Monsters & Mayhem and It Calls From the Veil. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @ShelbySuderman or check out https://linktr.ee/shelbysuderman