Michelle is from Arizona. She writes alongside her twin sister, Melissa Lason. They have been dubbed The Sisters of Slaughter. They write horror and dark fantasy. Their work has been featured in FRESH MEAT by Sinister Grin Press, WISHFUL THINKING by fireside press. MAYAN BLUE by Sinister Grin Press is their debut novel. The Sisters of Slaughter hold no punches with the horror and violence in Mayan Blue. I was lucky enough to get a chance to chat with Michelle and Melissa, to learn about their writing process, what they read in the genre, how Mayan Blue came to life and what’s coming next. Mayan Blue was my first experience with these two wonderful writers instantly making me a fan. Many thanks, Michelle and Melissa, for your time today and I’ll be following and keeping an eye out for more of your work. Best to the both of you!
The Scary Reviews: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourselves, where are you from and when did you both start writing?
Melissa & Michelle: We are Melissa Lason and Michelle Garza and twin sisters. We started writing together as little girls just for fun and never stopped. We are both married and Melissa has one daughter and Michelle has two sons. We live in Arizona and we write Horror, Sci-fi and dark fantasy.
TSR: How did you become a writing duo, have you always written as a team?
M&M: We have always written together, it feels natural to us since we have worked that way most of our lives. Recently we have done some work separately on some sci-fi novellas that were in a boxset with other writers and it worked out good, but we still turn to each other to discuss stories even when we are working on them individually.
TSR: When you collaborate on a book how do you form the story, how does this process differ from writing individually?
M&M: When we are collaborating on a story we go over our story ideas, pick one that we both feel really strongly about, and then proceed to outlining the story together. We map out the bulk of the story before even starting to write it. When we write separately it’s much the same process, but it is up to us individually to choose a storyline that feels like a good fit.
TSR: Who are you favorite authors? Which author(s) had a significant impact on you growing up?
M&M: Roald Dahl, Gary Paulsen, R.L. Stine and Tolkien are some of the early influences that showed us the magic of imagination. It was discovering these authors that really got us into writing our own stories. As teens and adults we enjoy so many but a few are Stephen King, Richard Laymon, R.A Salvatore, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Ronald Kelly. We enjoy a wide variety of genres and writers; these are really just a handful.
TSR: What do you find the most difficult part of your writing process, individually and when writing together?
M&M: Sometimes writing together it can be difficult with our schedules to get a chance to sit down together but we get around that with a million emails, text messages, and phone calls. Individually sometimes it feels like we are missing something in the process, probably the goofy conversations over coffee or how we play jokes on each other and write a few sentences that are totally never going to be in one of our stories just to make each other laugh.
TSR: Who are some of the authors you enjoy reading when you’re not writing?
M&M: We can’t wait for James Newman’s new book, ToneyeEyenot is a great horror and dark fantasy writer, Daniel Arenson, Michael Wehunt’s collection Greener Pastures was one that was really amazing. Adam Cesare, Kealan Patrick Burke, Kevin Strange, Jasper Bark, Jaime Johnesee, Leza Cantoral. The list is never ending 🙂
TSR: I know from the short Q&A on the women in horror spotlight we did back in February that you both write in many sub-genres of horror. Do you have a favorite sub-genre and if so why.
M&M: We don’t have a favorite but we always lean towards dark subjects. We like how the lines blur between genres, finding that sweet spot that incorporates horror, sci-fi, and fantasy is the best and where we are striving to go.
TSR: Is there one subject/topic you wouldn’t write about, if so what is it and why?
M&M: We don’t have any subjects that are off limits but there are a few things like child molestation that we will only allude to. We don’t trash anyone that does write about them in detail but we think there are some horrors that your mind will elaborate upon all on its own and doesn’t need to be described graphically.
TSR: Talk a little about the origin or how the idea for Mayan Blue originated.
M&M: The idea came from when Melissa watched a television show about mysteries in America where some people believed that the Mayan’s could have migrated up into the southern states. We were both intrigued by the idea of it so we started brainstorming ideas for a story and researched Mayan mythology. The depictions of their underworld and those inhabiting it became the foundation to the story.
TSR: Now that Mayan Blue has been released what is on the horizon that your readers can look forward too.
M&M: Around the same time that Mayan Blue came out we had two sci-fi stories released in Galactic-Ten book Space Opera Sci-Fi boxset. It worked out really well and we got an invitation to write more sci-fi so that will definitely happen. We are also writing a horror novel right now that is a sequel to our story, “A Church in the Middle of Nowhere,” that appeared in Widowmakers, a benefit anthology of dark fiction. We are also going to finish a horror novella with our friend Kam Lee. In 2017 we are also writing a horror novel and a dark fantasy novel.