Ruschelle: Theresa Derwin! It’s okay if I call you Theresa, right?
Theresa: No! You must call me ‘Mistress of Mayhem’!
Ruschelle: Yes Mistress of Mayhem. May I have another. Uhh…never mind. Maybe later. Let’s just delve in, shall we? You’re a prolific author. This year alone you have written a ton of stuff. How many stories/books have you written THIS YEAR?
Theresa: I’ve just checked my submission stats and I’ve submitted 17 projects; a mixture of short stories and novellas plus edited or created three anthologies.
Ruschelle: Woah, I’m tired just reading that. Now, how many of those have been accepted and published?
Theresa: I’ve done pretty well this year with a 57% acceptance rate. Which equates to around three anthologies and seven stories published with some out next year.
Ruschelle: Woman, you are a writing machine! Tell us a little bit about your website http://terror-tree.co.uk.
Theresa: I started Terror Tree ten years ago. It’s a genre review and blogging site, with completions and press releases. However, as my writing career has picked up I’ve handed over the reins to a Yvonne Davies, a prolific reader and booker lover. The site has a great reputation and I was invited to blog one of Sarah Pinborough’s earlier book launches for Mayhem, by Jo Fletcher books. As you’ll know, she’s just nailed a seven-figure book deal.
Ruschelle: Amazing. Both you and Sarah Pinborough. You are very active in many of Horror, book and comic Conventions. You’ve even helped put together CON events. What do you enjoy the most about the conventions?
Theresa: Meeting friends and like-minded people, Horror, and SFF fans and book lovers. A lot of the cons I speak at feel like family; community.
Ruschelle: Do you have a favorite cos-play costume when you attend the Conventions?
Theresa: I’ve seen some great cosplays in my time. At Birmingham Horror Con I loved the kids dressed as Chucky, but from a personal point of view, my favourite was when I dressed as Buffy the Donut Slayer.
Ruschelle: Bwahahaha! Donut Slayer…dammit. Now I’m hungry. Okay, this question many not be an easy one for you to answer. But I know you take this particular series very seriously. It is also a staple of some of the Cons out there, so take your time; who is the HOTTEST dude on Supernatural television series? And don’t say, Dean…He’s mine. I don’t want to share him…
Theresa: Ha ha! Oh, that’s a tricky one! I love Sam, though he looks like a hair salon advert at times, then I love Dean.
Can I say tormented S3 Dean and Demon Dean (S10) plus Sam most of the time but – seriously, Soulless Sam! OMG, the hotness!
Ruschelle: I have to agree, Soulless Sam was quite yummy. Like…a donut! UGH! Still hungry. Another question to stave off the donut craving. When were you first bitten by the writing monster? Or was it an alien?
Theresa: I was nine years old, sitting in a book reading area with my best mate Jo. We were asked to write a poem. The teacher applauded mine, though was concerned it involved a Lord who beheaded people.
Ruschelle: Your Daddy Paddy raised you right and baptized you in the dark, soul-chilling waters of 50’s Science Fiction and the Universal Monster classics. Which monster is your absolute favorite? Has it made an appearance in any of your stories?
Theresa: Hey, you’ve done your research! Well, my first collection Monsters Anonymous was a series of stories about all monsters. For me, it’s the Mummy. I wrote a story called ‘Are You My Mummy’ in that Collection, a deliberate pun that Dr Who fans will recognise.
Then this year I edited an anthology of Mummy stories ‘Mummy Knows Best’, dedicated to my Uncle Patrick an intrepid traveller, dancer and language professor, who passed away the day after the book launched at FantasyCon. So that book means a lot to me.
Ruschelle: You are quite close with your Daddy Paddy! He’s such a cute fellow. Has Daddy Paddy ever made an appearance in your any of your stories?
Theresa: Ha, not him personally, but his jokes do! He has some great one-liners I’m always using. The other day we watched a Supernatural episode involving organ theft and Daddy Paddy exclaimed, “He’s been kidney-apped!” Loved it.
Ruschelle: I see where you get your humor. Which we’ll get to in a few other questions. But, you’ve swam (or is it swum?) in the primordial ooze that is Fantasy, Horror and Romance. Hell, you have even bastardized a few and done Horrific Romance. So cool. Of the genres, which is your fav?
Theresa: Ah, it’s Horror. My first love is and will always be Horror – though as you point out I’ve merged genres. With my story ‘What About Bob?’ We have a possessed demonic vibrator as the baddie.
Ruschelle: I hate when good vibrators go bad. You have been involved with Knight Watch Press and of late your own publication, Quantum Corsets where you have knitted together some fantastic anthologies. Which one has been your favorite? And you don’t have to say Weird Ales 2 -Another Round because I have a story in it. It would be nice, but you really don’t have to. But there is a nice crisp 10 dollar bill in it for you….
Theresa: Ooh, tempting …. Actually, it’s the Weird Ales trilogy. A lot of work and love went into those three books and they were nearly four years in the making from concept to final products.
Ruschelle: You are a fan of humor in horror, which purists find vile! I say…well, never mind what I say about that. But one word does rhyme with truck… There is most definitely humor in horror! That being said, is there anything you feel SHOULDN’T be humorous? Where do you draw your line when writing or reading a humor/horror story?
Theresa: I think it’s the obvious here. Forms of sexual abuse of any kind and humour which pokes fun around deeply disturbing and emotional historical events.
Ruschelle: Is there a genre that’s a stranger to you? Is there one you’ve been flirting with and eventually plan to invite it over for some cheap wine and mushy peas, and after a few hours of pretending you care about its hopes, dreams and underwhelming childhood, you slip on the Marvin Gaye, eye up the bulge throbbing in… whatever kind of pants a genre wears and jumps its bones? In other words, is a genre you’d like to wrestle? I may need a cigarette for this answer.
Theresa: Okay, confession time. It’s Christmas Romance. Not PNR but full on chick lit Christmas Romance – Sarah Morgan, Carole Matthews, Sue Moorcroft. I love those books, but I don’t have the willpower not to take the piss out of genres I’m afraid, so I think I’d fail.
Ruschelle: Speaking of wrestle- we’re touching on the boys from Supernatural again! Would you rather see them wrestle in a pool of chocolate pudding OR a life-size bowl chicken noodle soup? And which do you think will come out a winner? As usual, clothing optional….for you and them.
Theresa: Right, first let me say I think the boys are brilliant actors, passionate about the series and their fans and the writing (not Buck-Lemming,) is exceptional – all that aside, chocolate pudding and the winner would depend on the season. For instance, post season 12 it’s got to be Sam with his leader vibe.
Ruschelle: Oh yeah, donuts and now pudding! Sweet Christmas Romance. Soooo…of everything you have written, is there one story you are most proud of?
Theresa: My recent story Trapped, which came out Oct in Below the Stairs along with Ramsey Campbell, Clive Barker and Paul Kane. Steve Dillon the editor worked my arse off but found themes in that story I never knew existed.
Ruschelle: Steve Dillon! He’s my cousin’s, brother’s, boyfriend’s ShihTzu’s plumber twice removed! As you can clearly see, we are tight. Hi Steve. Since you are from the UK here’s a question that is rife with political implications….Chips or Fries?
Theresa: Chips – were done here!
Ruschelle: You always have such exotic hair colors! I love it. Does the change in your hair color create another persona? And does this persona have its own writing style and voice?
Theresa: Hmm, an interesting one. In a way yes, it’s the Mask I wear to attend a con when it’s vibrant and bright. The pink and blue Harley Quinn look enabled me to feel confident and vivacious.
Ruschelle: You have an anthology entitled, Her Dark Voice 2, slinking out of the ether early in 2018. Some of the profits will be donated to the Breast Cancer Now Campaign. Other than being a woman and donning breasts, why did you choose to dedicate an anthology to breast cancer research? http://breastcancernow.org/
Theresa: Unfortunately I’ve lost quite a few friends and family to this awful illness, and as the old adage goes, knowledge is power, so funding research into this area is vitally important. I’ll be starting a campaign in early 2018 to raise production costs so more money can go to the charity.
Ruschelle: How can our readers and your new fans get involved in the Breast Cancer Now campaign?
Theresa: Contact me at [email protected] or via Twitter @BarbarellaFem and you can pre-order the book or donate to the design costs.
Ruschelle: Is there anything else exciting coming up for 2018 beside Her Dark Voice 2? What do you have cooking up in that brilliant writer’s mind of yours?
Theresa: Ha ha! Mwahaha I’m working on a couple of horror stories, but I’m pitching a non-fiction genre related book to a publisher and finishing off my post-apocalyptic sexually transmitted disease novella ‘God’s Vengeance’ for Crystal Lake Publishing as well as ‘Once Upon a Feather’ a post-Trump world in which supernatural creatures are housed together in old holiday resort complexes away from ‘normal’ society.
Ruschelle: Theresa, you have been fantastic. Thank you so much for letting Horror Tree readers dissect you without the messy blood spurts and clean up.