Mothers of the Roundtable Author Spotlight: R. Leigh Hennig

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: R Leigh Hennig, author of  “Here in the Cellar”


Q: If there were ever a FATHER anthology put together as a sequel, would you follow that up, or write something totally new?

A: Yes, I think I would write a Father story in conversation with my Mother’s story. Not only do I have a lot I’d like to say to my own father someday, but as a dad myself, I think I’d like any ‘sequel’ to as well be a message of sorts for my own children. If “Here in the Cellar” were a cautionary tale, then perhaps any Father-themed follow-up to that would be more hopeful.


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

A: Child abuse is often a central theme to many of my stories. I think a lot of editors shy away from that, but it’s vitally important to talk about, which is why I was so excited that this story was included in the anthology. I really felt like the editorial team understood what I was trying to do here.


Q: What would you like readers to take away from your story?

A: That there aren’t often ‘clean’ endings. Stories don’t have to end how you want them to, and a lot of times things are the way they are just because even if you don’t understand it or expect otherwise. As readers, we carry a lot of baggage with us in terms of the expectations we place on a story (‘Why didn’t they do that?’, ‘It’s hard to believe they did this,’ etc), but it’s important for us to remember that some of the best stories, the most meaningful, hurtful, or important, defy those expectations, whether we like it or not.


Q: Why did you decide to submit to this anthology? Was there something particular that called to you?

A:  I knew from the moment I saw the call that I had to write something for it. If there was ever any theme that was tailor-made for my work, ‘bad mothers’ is it. Though I realized too late that I was too emotionally invested in the story because rejection would’ve really hurt. Obviously, that’s a part of submitting, as every writer knows, but I felt this story in my soul and just had to get it out there. I think that’s what they mean, however, when they say ‘write what you know.’ Fortunately this time for me, it worked.


R. Leigh Hennig is an author, editor, and engineer living in coastal New England. An active member of the HWA and Codex, his work has appeared or is upcoming in anthologies by Flame Tree Press, Crystal Lake Publishing, and the HWA’s best of the year Poetry Showcase. He fits these things around his day job as a network architect, and in what sometimes feels like another life, has worked on closed projects for AWS, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, NASA, JPL, and various three-letter agencies. He keeps an irregularly updated blog at semioticstandard.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @bastionsf.
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. 

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