At some point in mid-2015, I started hearing about these two sisters that wrote horror together. After the release of my novel, Blood and Rain, I was welcomed into the Facebook Wolf Pack. Among those first to welcome me was Michelle Garza (half of the Sisters of Slaughter- the Sisters of Slaughter moniker refers to Michelle and her twin sister, Melissa Lason). Michelle and I started up a pretty cool friendship and I’m grateful for it.
Fast forward just a bit and Michelle tells me that the Sisters of Slaughter will be putting out their first novel, MAYAN BLUE, with Sinister Grin Press. I got an early glimpse of the amazing cover and was totally on board.
The book came out a little earlier this summer. I started seeing lots of super positive reviews and my already high expectations grew. This could have been bad….it is so easy to get disappointed when your expectations are up in the clouds. I’m happy to confess MAYAN BLUE lived up to the hype. (You can peep my review HERE)
I was happy to get the opportunity to interview these awesome ladies. So, without further adu…..I give you, the Sisters of Slaughter (Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason)
Glenn Rolfe: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me! And thanks for writing such a great horror story. Let’s start with that novel (Mayan Blue from Sinister Grin Press).
I’ve read that you guys did a lot of research for it. I find the Mayan culture and people extremely fascinating which is a huge lure to a story like this. Of all the information you guys uncovered, what are a few of the things that really blew you away? And did they make it into the book?
Michelle Garza & Melissa Lason– There were definitely a few things that either didn’t make it in there or we changed a bit, like a few of the trials people are put through in Xibalba. For instance, the ball court where human heads were used as balls for the games and even a few of the underworld deities we weren’t able to add though they were really intriguing.
GR: I mentioned to you two the other day about an episode I saw of Expedition Unknown (Travel Channel) that I caught right as I was finishing up Mayan Blue. They focused on a pre-Aztec community built around the city of Teotihuacan. They found some cool tunnels and chambers beneath a pyramid and found that they had a huge mine of green obsidian.
Your Mayans do a lot of damage in this story with obsidian. Was it fun getting to dig into all this history and getting the opportunity to use some old weapons and legends that maybe we don’t see a lot of in horror? I mean, these guys seemed perfect for a story of this nature. How did it open up your creative freedom compared to a more traditional horror world like werewolves or serial killers?
M&M– We’ve always been fascinated with ancient civilizations, how they lived, who they prayed to and how they killed, so getting to use the obsidian daggers for removing organs was right up our alley. We really love mythology and often turn to it for inspiration so this book became a mixture of things we really dig. We also decided early on that our first novel had to be about something kinda unique so it would stand out and get people into reading our stuff, plus some guy wrote a book called “Blood and Rain” and we knew we couldn’t top it with any werewolf book we could possibly write.😉
GR: I mentioned in my review that you guys got to utilize some great imagery in this piece. I really like the owl headed creatures and the inclusion of owls in general. Such cool and mysterious animals. Also, the simian army had a slight Wizard of Oz feel which of course scared the bejesus outta me as a kid. Which of these freaks and creeps was your favorite to create and why?
M&M– Definitely the Wayobs, the owlmen, It was our chance to throw a shapeshifter in the story. They could be either Owl or Men or somewhere freakishly in between, absolutely remorseless in their killing and liked to taunt their victims a bit.
GR: Obviously, being the Sisters of Slaughter, you managed to make this one mean and nasty piece of work. I caught glimpses of early Brian Keene in here. Was Brian a big influence? And who else really gets your horror juices flowing past and present.
M&M– We Dig Brian Keene and have always looked up to him as a writer, he’s read Mayan Blue and gave it his stamp of approval which is like some crazy dream come true. We also enjoy Jonathan Janz, James Newman, Ronald Kelly, Shane McKenzie, Adam Cesare. Just to name a few.
GR: I find it amazing that you two collaborate on these stories. You couldn’t tell. It was freaking seamless. How does it come off so natural? Have you ever butted heads on a part, and if so, how does that compromise come down?
M&M– We think it is because we’ve written together since we were eight years old, it’s just how we’ve always done it. We also have creepy twin powers and it feels like we are sharing the same brain. It’s like our wonder twin powers activate into the form of a horror writer and we kinda meld together until the story is complete. We’ve never had major issues when working on a story, if we come to a part that we both don’t agree on then it gets changed or tossed.
GR: Michelle, what do admire most about Melissa’s writing?
Michelle– She comes up with some really good twists that really helps take a story to the next level.
GR: And Melissa, what do you admire most about Michelle’s?
Melissa– I like the way she can figure out how to end stories, she helps make those links in my brain to get to that final scene and make it really good.
GR: Lastly, what can we expect in the next year or so from you two, oh, and any chances of you guys doing solo work (just asking, not looking to start a split)?
M&M– We are writing a horror novel and a sci-fi novel at the moment. We will also be in a couple short story anthologies. In 2017 we’ve already agreed to write a horror novel and a dark fantasy novel as well. J
GR: Thanks, ladies, for taking time out for me. Rock on!
M&M– Many thanks, Wolfbrother!!! You rule so hard for taking the time to read Mayan Blue and setting up this interview. We really appreciate your support and friendship. J
Follow along the tour with these hashtags: #MayanBlue #Mayans #legends
Mayan Blue, Synopsis
- Publication Date: May 25, 2016
Xibalba, home of torture and sacrifice, is the kingdom of the lord of death. He stalked the night in the guise of a putrefied corpse, with the head of an owl and adorned with a necklace of disembodied eyes that hung from nerve cords. He commanded legions of shapeshifting creatures, spectral shamans, and corpses hungry for the flesh of the living. The Mayans feared him and his realm of horror. He sat atop his pyramid temple surrounded by his demon kings and demanded sacrifices of blood and beating hearts as tribute to him and his ghostly world.
These legends, along with those that lived in fear of them, have been dead and gone for centuries. Yet now, a doorway has been opened in Georgia. A group of college students seek their missing professor, a man who has secretly uncovered the answer to one of history’s greatest mysteries. However, what they find is more than the evidence of a hidden civilization. It’s also a gateway to a world of living nightmares.
Melissa Lason and Michelle Garza have been writing together since they were little girls. Dubbed The Sisters of Slaughter by the editors of Fireside Press. They are constantly working together on new stories in the horror and dark fantasy genres. Their work has been included in FRESH MEAT published by Sinister Grin Press, WISHFUL THINKING by Fireside Press, WIDOWMAKERS a benefit anthology of dark fiction.
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Praise for Mayan Blue
“From the outset, Garza and Lason let the blood spill, plunging their small cast of characters into the depths of Mayan hell. There’s plenty of action to go around as the group is confronted with a number of horrors, from the labyrinthine and booby-trapped maze of the newly discovered Mayan temple to the angry gods and their owl-headed, sharp-clawed servants.” –Michael Hicks, Author of Convergence
“Their short works are wonderful to read. However this book proves that they can tackle longer works without missing a beat.” –Tom, GoodReads
“These two show no quarter dragging the characters–and by extension, the reader–into the depths of the Mayan version of Hell. There’s vividness to the scenes they craft that made me want to make sure I was reading in full daylight, or at least with most of the lights on.” –John Quick, Author of Consequences
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Sinister Grin Press