We’re excited to host Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason – who go by the nickname The Sisters of Slaughter- today on Ink Heist! The Sisters of Slaughter burst onto the scene with Mayan Blue, their Stoker nominated debut that took readers on a bloody trip into the Mayan underworld. Mayan Blue was a blast to read and it was the novel that made Shane and I huge fans of the Sisters writing. They followed up Mayan Blue with their equally vicious sophomore novel Those Who Follow last summer. As awesome as Mayan Blue was, the Sisters of Slaughter have taken their writing to another level with Those Who Follow. This novel is dark and brutal, featuring a villain that relishes the torment and horror he inflicts on his victims. If you like your horror a little more on the extreme side, definitely add this one to your collection. This year they also released the Bizzaro novel Kingdom of Teeth, which Shane reviewed recently.
The Sisters of Slaughter are stopping by today to talk a little about Kingdom of Teeth and also their involvement in the recently announced Serial Box project Silverwood: The Door, which also features Brian Keene, Richard Chizmar, Stephen Kozeniewski and Tony E. Valenzuela. We would like to thank the Sisters for stopping by and answering our questions and giving readers some insight into how Silverwood: The Door came together and some of the themes that make up their story.
Ink Heist: I think I can speak for most horror fans when I say The Door was a highly anticipated project since it was first teased by Brian Keene. Now that the project has been announced, what can you tell us about how it all came together?
Sisters of Slaughter: We’ve been friends with Brian on Facebook since he read our debut novel. He’s someone we’ve always looked up to. He was hinting at some projects on the horizon and we expressed interest and months later we got an email asking us to be a part of the Silverwood writing team. We were absolutely floored by him asking us to be involved in it. The team came to Phoenix and everything went wonderfully. There was definitely some magic in the writing room, we all worked perfectly together. After Brian, Richard, Stephen, Lydia and Tony left Phoenix, we all went about writing our designated episodes and conversing through email and phone calls. It’s been the best writing experience of our lives.
Ink Heist: The official title is Silverwood: The Door and it’s based off the popular Silverwood anthology series from Tony E. Valenzuela through his BlackBoxTV channel. Were you guys familiar with the series prior to this project? What appealed to you about writing for this project?
Sisters of Slaughter: We weren’t immediately familiar with it, but upon watching the series we agreed we’d stumbled across some of the episodes before. We got excited because there was so much a writer could do with the storyline, it already incorporated many subgenres that we felt we could venture into many different territories. It sparked our imaginations right away and really drew us in.
Ink Heist: Serial Box sounds like an awesome platform for both readers and writers. Each episode is a short piece that can be enjoyed in the amount of time it takes to watch a TV show, whether through reading or audio. What do you feel is the biggest benefit about writing in this kind of format? What excited you the most about working in this format?
Sisters of Slaughter: People are super busy so when they have something like Serial Box they can not only read but also listen to episodes of their favorite stories on the go. They are written as episodes so they’re really exciting. We’re excited about Serial Box because it offers a ton of great stories and the subscription prices are very reasonable.
Ink Heist: Building off of that, were there any challenges to working in this format? What kind of lessons can you take from this project to apply to your normal writing routine?
Sisters of Slaughter: We learned a lot in the writing room about story beats and will definitely apply them to our manuscripts to keep them exciting.
Ink Heist: Silverwood: The Door features one hell of a writing room with yourselves, Brian Keene, Richard Chizmar and Stephen Kozeniewski. What was the process like in the writer’s room? Did you guys email your ideas back and forth or did you collaborate in person?
Sisters of Slaughter: Brian wrote the story bible and took the lead. He got to stand up and tell us all about the plans for the season. Before we met in Phoenix we all read the story bible and watched the YouTube series so we could prepare for the writers room. Meeting Brian and Richard was like a dream, we were super nervous. We were excited to meet Stephen, he’s been our friend online for years and we knew he was going to be fun to hang out with. Lydia and Tony were not only top notch professionals but also super cool and got our dark humor. After the writing room we kept in touch through emails and conference calls. We all worked super hard and the result is something really special.
Ink Heist: Although collaboration among many writers in television and film, most fiction collaborations are between two authors. Was it difficult meshing everyone’s style into a cohesive voice?
Sisters of Slaughter: We were told horror stories about writers rooms by Brian and Richard but our team ran like a dream. We all meshed well as far as writing and personalities, it was like getting together with old friends who just so happened to be writing together.
Ink Heist: Most Serial Box series have multiple seasons. Are their plans to continue in the Silverwood world or is it kind of a one off project?
Sisters of Slaughter: We’ve all joked that we’d see each other next season in the same Air BnB but we haven’t set anything in stone. We’d work with this crew again any day of the week. It was a lot of fun!
Ink Heist: I missed out on the original Silverwood, but I binged the original episodes after the announcement. Each episode stands alone, but there seem to be elements that carry throughout. Does Silverwood: The Door tap into some of that mythology or is the only similarity the town?
Sisters of Slaughter: Elements from the original series are present in the series we wrote. We aimed to not only please folks new to Silverwood but also it’s diehard fans as well.
Ink Heist: If it draws from the original mythology: A lot of the elements that carry throughout the Silverwood episodes are always present, but kind of vague. Does Silverwood: The Door attempt to develop some of those elements?
Sisters of Slaughter: There are a few elements and a certain character that is elaborated on in our series.
Ink Heist: Along those lines, does each episode of Silverwood: The Door stand alone or do they all tie together to form one cohesive story? If so, that seems to be the longest story in Silverwood to date.
Sisters of Slaughter: They all tie together to create a great story that blends a bunch of different horror subgenres.
Ink Heist: Can you give readers any insight into your story?
Sisters of Slaughter: We wrote three different stories. The underlying subject matters were issues that hit close to home for us, like infertility, motherhood, abandonment, and the feeling of being an outsider. We got to exercise a few demons in the process of writing them.
Ink Heist: Serial Box offers both text and audio versions of their serials which I think is a really cool idea. As of right now, Silverwood: The Door is only focusing on the literary aspect. Do you know if Tony E. Valenzuela plans on shooting this project for the show?
Sisters of Slaughter: We haven’t heard if he plans on doing that or not. We would love to see it if he did because Tony is so incredibly talented and just speaking with him we got the sense of how much thought he puts into his work. He’s amazing.
Ink Heist: You recently released Kingdom of Teeth, a sort of Bizarro fairy tale for adults through Eraserhead Press. What was the inspiration behind that story? Bizarro kind of goes hand in hand with horror, but what made you decide to explore that particular sub-genre?
Sisters of Slaughter: We’ve always gotten freaked out by the dentist so that was our number one inspiration but we find bizarro to be very liberating to write, we got to add elements of fantasy and gore and humor into this book and we feel it really represents the many parts of our personalities. Rose and Eraserhead Press let us run wild across the page and have it published. We love her for that.
Ink Heist: Silverwood:The Door undoubtedly took a lot of time to put together, but are there any other upcoming projects for the Sisters of Slaughter?
Sisters of Slaughter: We have a few things that will be out this year but we can’t announce them until the publisher gives the green light. You’ll also see one of our previous novels in limited edition hardback form. We just plan on writing submitting until our heads explode in the mean time.
You can now pre-order Silverwood: The Door at Serial Box. The season is expected to launch this October!
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Rich Duncan talks to the Sisters of Slaughter over at Ink Heist.