Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam is joining us today to talk about her novella, Glorious Fiends. Here’s the publisher’s description:
When infamous hot mess vampire Roxanne resurrects her deceased best friends, she’s confronted by a dream-dwelling Guardian of the Underworld, who demands that she replace them in his afterlife with three equally nefarious creatures-or he’ll drag her there instead.
Reunited with Medusa and Mx. Hyde, Roxanne and her macabre girl gang must become monster hunters themselves and fight for the future of their friendship.
Gory, sexy, silly, touching-Glorious Fiends asks who the real monsters are, and if the bonds that we think are solely human are really ours alone. This Hammer-inspired odyssey is a nostalgic trip through ’80s horror tropes—with modern sensibilities.
What’s Bonnie’s favorite bit?
BONNIE JO STUFFLEBEAM
The character of Roxanne is my favorite bit. I describe her as a hot mess vampire, and that’s accurate. She’s impulsive, horny for hot ladies, and she never takes herself too seriously. Spending a whole novella with her shenanigans was a delight—and it helped bring me out of a terrible funk.
In early 2020, like most of us, I was zapped. I had this idea for a novel, and it was a lofty blend of sci-fi and romance that crossed space and time boundaries. Plus, the characters were based on two of my most recent exes who were not in fact exes when I came up with the idea and started writing it.
I wanted to do anything at all besides work on it.
But Vernacular Press asked me to write a Hammer-inspired horror novelette for an anthology called Evil in Technicolor. As I dove into the story, “Hammerville,” I discovered a girl gang of monsters vying for their place in the spotlight in a Dracula-powered world. One of them was Roxanne, and she begged for her own narrative. Once I finished “Hammerville,” I started writing a nebulous thing from her POV—and it was the most fun I’ve had writing in a while. Suddenly, I wanted to sit at my desk again.
To craft the narrative, I started with her. She’s loosely based on a certain lesbian vampire from a Hammer film, but she took on a life of her own. Roxanne struggles between obligation and immediate gratification, so I knew I needed to put her in a situation where she was required to abstain from her bloodlust; to fulfill the terms of her best friends’ resurrections, she has to deny herself blood from innocent people until she has killed three monsters. There’s more to it—as deals with the underworld are always complex—but her contract challenges her love of impulsivity. After all, she’s hungry and horny, and one of the monsters is super-hot.
And I relate to that.
I feel like a lot of us do.
Finding out how to form a healthy balance between want and need, work and play, lust and friendship, hunger and satisfaction—it’s a process that takes practice, lots of mistakes, and an iron will. Every day that I wake up and want to stay in bed rather than write, or every time I want to blow off some event I’ve promised I’ll do, I’m channeling Roxanne.
And on days when I give in to the urge to do the fun thing instead, I never regret it—because it takes both work and play to make a life.
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam is the author of the short story collection Where You Linger & Other Stories and the novella Glorious Fiends. Her Nebula-nominated fiction has appeared in over 90 publications such as LeVar Burton Reads and Popular Science, as well as in six languages. By night, she has been a finalist for the Nebula Award. By day, she works as a Narrative Designer writing romance games. She lives in Texas with her partner and a mysterious number of cats.