Mothers of the Roundtable Author Spotlight: Nadia Bulkin

May 8, 2023

R. Leigh Hennig gathered many of the amazing authors from Mother: Tales of Love and Terror for a council at the roundtable about writing, mothers, and horror. Join us as we pop in for a brief spotlight on how the stories of Mother, and their makers, worked their horrible magic to create this book.


Author Spotlight: Ndia Bulkin, author of  “Worry Doll”


Q: What inspired your story?

A: Creepypastas! There are so many (truly creepy) creepypastas centered on mothers acting unusually – probably because we associate “mothers” with safety/comfort. 


Q: Thematically, what was important for you to include?

A: Emotional repression and societal expectations, as exacted on mothers. I kept thinking about an anecdote shared by the late Indonesian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer about the fact that he didn’t even know his mother’s full real name – not because she didn’t raise him, but because she was so utterly devoid of individual power as a colonized woman. 


Q: What was your process for writing this, and did that at all differ from your usual approach?

A: My POVs are usually fairly stable throughout a story, but with “Worry Dolly” I was extra careful to continuously change the perspective to reveal more of the truth – both in terms of what the POV character knows about herself and her family as she grows older, and in terms of who gets to be the POV character at all (i.e., not a mother). It’s also a shorter story than I’ve typically written, so it was kind of like working in miniature. 


Q: Have you explored these themes before, and if so, to what depth?

A: The place/power of women in society is one of the themes I write about most frequently, so yes-ish. But I don’t anticipate having children of my own, so I anticipate my perspective always being limited to that of a daughter (I’ve had a very close relationship with my mother and there’s more I want to write inspired by her).


Nadia Bulkin is the author of the short story collection She Said Destroy (Word Horde, 2017). She has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award five times. She grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia with her Javanese father and American mother, before relocating to Lincoln, Nebraska. She has two political science degrees and lives in Washington, D.C.
Fracture by Mercedes M. Yardley - Mother: Tales of Love and Terror

Fracture, by Mercedes M. Yardley

Read the full story that is on the Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot right here!

Vote for MOTHER!

Mother: Tales of Love and Terror has been included on the preliminary ballot for the 2022 Bram Stoker Awards® for Superior Achievement in an Anthology. If you are a voting member of the HWA, we would love to have you consider our anthology, as well as Mercedes M. Yardley’s story, “Fracture,” which is also on the ballot in the Short Fiction category. 

Popular Categories

Weird Up Your Inbox

Get news, updates, and recipes for mayhem delivered right to your electronic device once a week.

It’s totally worth it.

Great reads & deals

Humans are the Problem on Long List for Best Horror of the Year, Vol 14, ed. by Ellen Datlow

It’s been a crazy year with a lot of awesome news for Weird Little Worlds Press, and the perfect end to it was the inclusion of our inaugural anthology being considered for Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year anthology. 

Related Articles