Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester happily welcomes The Sisters Dent, Karen and Roxanne, participants in our Small Business Saturday “All Your Fears in One Basket” event, to our Author Spotlight blog this Friday! The Dent sisters write in a variety of fiction genres, including paranormal fantasy, horror, mystery, regency, Sci-fi and YA. They have also written screenplays and collaborated on several plays, two of which were produced at the Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport, MA.
When living in New York, both sisters wrote screenplays. Roxanne’s “The Pied Piper,” (a thriller) won First Prize in Fade In Magazine. As members of The Sunday Club, the sisters wrote and directed their own 3-5 minute movies and Roxanne’s “Valentine’s Day,” another thriller, won the Audience Choice Award in the Bare Bones International film Festival.
What do they write?
The Sisters Dent attribute their eclectic flexibility to their passion for reading. As long as the characters and plot snagged them, they devoured it. They believe if a book has characters that stay with you, who you identify with or look forward to their demise – a story that can suck you in — is a story worth telling, no matter the genre,
Depending on what inspires her, Karen currently finds her fiction writing leaning to paranormal and horror. She’s also written and sold a YA mystery/horror and a Grade School Christmas story. She’s written several comedy/dramas in both play and screenplay format and several Television comedy scripts. Karen loves to write, funny, complex and strong female characters. She thinks people who are drawn to her stories might like to laugh and enjoy seeing themselves being able to actively take part in the outcome of their own lives.
Roxanne keeps extensive files, books and documents on subjects like poisons, Regency and Victorian customs and culture, popular names in different generation’s, myths, murder cases, and different types of monsters, fey and other paranormal creatures. When inspiration hits, she has the ability to immediately delve headlong into any story that appeals to her. In addition to paranormal and horror, she has written a YA Halloween ghost story, a middle grade Christmas Tale, a Western, two Regencies, Victorian mysteries, plays and screenplays from thrillers to slapstick.
The Dent Sisters’ favorite stories, research, and other cool facts
Karen’s favorite story that she’s written is from the Damnation and Dames anthology: “A Case To Die For.” Karen already created a noir character in her play, Tangled Web (comedy/drama) which was commissioned and performed by a NYC rep company specifically to showcase their individual talents. Her extensive research involved reading numerous books and screenplay scripts absorbing the language, lingo and rhythm of the 1940’s detective. Adding the paranormal aspect to her story was gravy, since that genre is currently her passion.
Roxanne’s favorite story is her novel, The Janus Demon. This isn’t Roxanne’s first paranormal. Many years ago she wrote “The White Fog,” a gothic paranormal, even before she knew there was a paranormal genre. Over the years, she has collected information on elves, fey, Irish myths and history, Celtic names and monsters. Irish myths, language and history were always fascinating to her, particularly the story of Hy-Brasil, an island in the Irish sea, whose inhabitants were supposedly from a highly advanced civilization. One day she intends to feature them in another novel.
Both sisters are also happy about their contributions to the anthology BUGS: Tales that Slither, Creep and Crawl . “Contamination” is by Karen, who’s always loved sci-fi. She began to re-read some of her favorite authors and saturated herself with Twilight Zones and Outer Limits to get into the head of her characters. She surprised herself by discovering the difficulty of writing her story without pronouns. For “Bug Boy,” Roxanne did research on serial killers both from the Internet, the book The Criminal Mind, and extensively researched the longevity and habits of the cockroach. Despite the nature of the subject, she found it fascinating. While repugnant to most people the cockroach is an amazing creature. The most surprising fact she learned involved the cockroach’s brain but you’ll have to read the story to discover that surprise yourself.
Karen got her inspiration for “A Case to DIE For” and “Contamination” from reading the open submission notices by Ticonderoga and Great Old Ones. The anthology desriptions resonated and inspired Karen. The creation and finished product of both stories practically completed themselves.
Roxanne has a lot of pieces that went into writing The Janus Demon. Growing up, she read Fairy Tales From Around the World, Ann McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, becoming lost in a world of magic. As an adult, when she picked up Ann Rice’s vampire series she became enamored with paranormal all over again. Some of her favorites are George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, Jim Butcher’s wonderful Dresden series, Charlene Harris’ series, and The Sister Fidelma mysteries set in ancient Ireland. Unable to put these books down, she began to envision writing her own paranormal series. Thus began The Janus Demon, followed by Beyond the Iberian Sea, which she is currently writing as well as the YA prequel, The Boy in the Green High Tops.
For Roxanne’s short story, “Bug Boy,” at an Anthocon, Great Old Ones publishing announced their next anthology, BUGS: Tales that Slither, Creep and Crawl. Roxanne’s imagination was sparked and even before she left the conference, “Bug Boy” came to her in its entirety. Writing it was easy.
The Dent sisters would suggest taking classes, join support and critique groups, get out and mingle, go to conferences, attend book signings, and socialize with other writers. But most important: keep writing and keep submitting.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
Karen just finished her paranormal noir novel, A Case To KILL For, picking up with the same characters from “A Case to DIE For.” GM, now bored and disillusioned both with Los Angeles and Manning, agrees to take on a case by herself, thrusting her into a soul sucking fight with three hungry demons ready to slaughter anyone who gets in their way. Manning’s earth shattering secret and his involvement with a seemingly innocuous case could end up killing her. Karen’s short, “A Case to MURDER For,” takes place prior to her previous Case stories and has been submitted for consideration. She is currently assembling an outline for book two, A Case to SLAUGHTER For.
Roxanne is currently working on her paranormal / fantasy novel Beyond the Iberian Sea, book two of The Janus Demon which interweaves the lives of Mick, the lonely, shape shifter detective from our world, and Bronagh, the betrayed, bitter daughter of a Volk King from beyond the Iberian Sea in Mag Mell. Mick’s search for the missing daughter of a client among the Volk, Taren and Sharee leads him to Bronagh, who has aligned herself with the dreaded Sorcerer Priest Dorn, who has promised her revenge on her enemies. Mick and Bronagh are forced to use their wits to outsmart old enemies, evil priests, armies of demons, treacherous elves and fey and their own personal demons. It is a world where sex is power, love has no value, and death hides in the shadows. Roxanne’s YA paranormal fantasy, The Boy In the Green High Tops focuses on moody, bright, fifteen year old Molly, a movie fantasy addict, guilt ridden over her younger brother’s death. In an outdoor mall, Molly follows a strange boy with pointed ears and sparkling, green high tops. She witnesses him being choked by a demon and attacks the demon. They all fall into a rift. Molly winds up in Mag Mel, land of the fey.
While writing, do you prefer music, silence, or something else?
When Roxanne or Karen are creating, they prefer total silence or the very low, muted murmurings of a coffee house, especially if creating from scratch. Editing and cutting however, do not require total blackout. Their favorite writing haunts are Paneras or Starbucks, frequently accomplishing more there than they would at home.
Do you have furry or otherwise non-human companions? Do you find them more of a help or hindrance?
Roxanne has a cat named Loki who lets her know if she’s ignoring him too long by jumping on her lap when she’s on the computer. If she still ignores him, he begins the “attention getting campaign” of chewing her papers and books, spitting the paper out on the floor while looking her in the eye. However, when she feels down over a pass, frustrated over unaccomplished goals, or she just needs a warm furry body to hug, Loki will demand to be picked up for snuggles. His purr, with eyes half closed, and tail wrapped around arm or neck reminds her that Life Really Is Good.
Karen lived most of her life with a variety of fur balls but is, to her great regret, without animal companionship. This will end soon.
Where can people find your work?
Various anthologies and novels can be found at Annie’s Book Stop in Worcester, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and the Kindle Bookstore.
How can we share your work, follow your awesomeness, or stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
Thank you very much Karen and Roxanne for coming to our Small Business Saturday “All Your Fears in One Basket” event and for sharing your time with us on our Spotlight Blog!