Happy Halloween Roomies! The start of Season 3 is just around the corner! As a Halloween treat, we sat down with author Kiley Ladwig to talk about her process as we listen to the horrors of our second preseason episode.
‘The Screaming Woman’ is a ghoulish tale that will leave you shrieking and make you want to investigate every bump in the night.
GR: Hi Kiley, welcome to The Grey Rooms- we love seeing new authors join the show. How long have you been writing?
KL: I have been writing since 5th grade. I started with Neopets fanfiction as part of an assignment my English teacher was making us do. We had to read what we wrote to the class and after a few times, she pulled me aside to tell me how good I was and if I wanted to pursue writing more she would start tailoring my assignments in English to help me. She was a huge part of my learning and I will always be in her debt.
GR: That’s amazing to be able to have a teacher that helped nurture your passion. Though Neopet fan-fiction is a new one for me. Truthfully… I always ended up killing off mine. Though I’m sure a few dead Neopets didn’t lead you down the path of horror, what led you there?
KL: While my teacher got me into general writing, my mom got me into horror. She and I love watching horror films together, mainly ghost stories and paranormal. One of my favorite things to either write or read is an amazing twist, one where you don’t see coming the first time around, but when you go back and read you can pick up on the clues hiding in plain sight. Horror is a genre that lends itself well to that idea. Plus, I love the aesthetic of horror and Halloween, the darker side of things.
GR: I think your story for our Halloween episode lends well to that, and a twist that people won’t see coming, you have such an interesting take on a ghost story.
KL: My favorite kind of horror are the ones with ghosts or paranormal happenings. The paranormal fascinates me, and I do believe that it exists. Maybe not vampires and werewolves per say, but spirits and the like. I think it’s fascinating that there might be a whole other dimension out there, one that we can only begin to try and comprehend.
GR: I can see how the paranormal world lent itself to this story, how do your story ideas come to you?
KL: Inspiration lies in everything and everywhere. Sometimes it comes from a dream, a photo, a song, a fleeting thought. The Screaming Woman came to me in a lecture for my World History class in college a few years back. Sometimes when you try to force inspiration to hit it doesn’t work, so I learned a while ago to always keep an ear, eye, nose, and finger out and let the idea move through you. I once wrote a short story in half an hour after seeing a photo of someone’s apartment bathroom being built over an old elevator shaft. The book I wrote came from an assignment where we had to write dialogue for a play. Inspiration and ideas are everywhere.
GR: I think that’s a great thing for young writers to hear, that inspiration can come from anywhere. What would be the best piece of advice you would give to authors just starting out?
KL: Always write. Even if it’s absolute garbage, even if you think no one cares, the idea is terrible, you aren’t making sense, keep going. Slap it onto paper, take a deep breath, and read it over. Most of the time you’ll find that it wasn’t as bad as you thought. And if it is? Well- erasers exist for a reason.
GR: What if they wanted to submit to the horrors of The Grey Rooms.
KL: Do it! and keep doing it! But also, don’t let rejection stop you. If for some reason it isn’t right for that season, that doesn’t make you a bad writer. You’ll hear a lot of no before yes in life, and if we listen to the no’s and stop there’s no way you can get to the yes. Don’t let that fear of not being good enough stop you from putting yourself out there.
GR: I think you’re absolutely right! Wanna give them a little hint at what it’s like hearing your story produced as a podcast episode?
KL: It’s INSANELY cool! It makes me feel so proud of my work and how far I’ve come with my writing. It’s something I love and it’s also pretty personal, so when it’s shared it can be nerve-wracking, The Grey Rooms has done an absolutely amazing job and takes the edge off that feeling. Being able to hear my words and ideas come to life is a dream come true.
GR: Well Thank you Kiley, It’s been a real scream working on your story- What projects are you working on now?
KL: I’m currently trying to polish up my manuscript for a Sci-Fi LGBTQ+ book so I can send it off to agents and publishers. I’m also outlining for some more short stories.
GR: We wish you the best, and I can’t wait to see what stories you send us next!
If you’d like to hear more stories from Kiley Ladwig, check out her social media in the links below, and we hope to have her back for more episodes here at the Grey Rooms