Weird West Author Spotlight: Laura Marden

Welcome, Laura!

Laura Marden (she/her) is a sci-fi and weird fiction writer. Her flash fiction has appeared in The Chamber Magazine, and her short stories have been published in Starward Shadows Quarterly and on Creepy Podcast. Her newest short story is forthcoming in The Q&A Queerzine. She lives in Maryland with her family and their two dogs, and finds that the best time to write is when they’re all asleep.

About “Come, Devil”

“Come, Devil” is a short story originally published on Creepy Podcast in 2021. An unnamed protagonist must escape from a creature that is slaughtering the whole town. Left exposed, alone on the blood-covered streets, and unable to imagine a way to fight back, they desperately search for a hiding place in order to survive. Inevitably, they come face-to-face with the monster itself.

Interview with Laura Marden

Tell us about yourself – what is something readers would be surprised to find out? 

I’m an emerging author, coming up on only my second year of writing professionally, though I’ve had the bug for writing stories for as long as I can remember. Something readers might be surprised to find out is that in addition to writing, one of my hobbies is cosplaying. Some of my favorite costumes I’ve done are a humanoid Minecraft creeper, Mara Jade Skywalker, and Pagan Min from the Far Cry 4 video game.

What is it about the Weird West genre that draws you to it? What are your favorite aspects or examples of this Under-appreciated genre? 

I’ve always been drawn to westerns because they were one of the earliest forms of storytelling I knew. Growing up, there was usually either a western or a war movie on the tv, and I soaked up classics like BonanzaTrue Grit, and Gunsmoke. As an eight to twelve-year-old girl though, there were very few representations of myself on screen. That’s what I love about the Weird West genre; it allows me to take tropes and aspects of western storytelling that I love and insert a protagonist who better reflects my values and my lived experience. And how could I not fall head-over-heels for a genre that combines my love of sci-fi and fantasy with the gritty westerns I adored when I was a kid?

If you were living in the Weird West, what kind of character would you be?

I think I would want to be the homesteader with a past. I’ve hung up my guns and I’m just trying to learn how to grow potatoes, but then a beast that I helped release from a hell portal years ago starts terrorizing the countryside and I know I have to make it right. So then, I go to my old nemesis who is the only one with the experience to lock the demon away again, and we have a whole enemies-to-lovers arch. Honestly, now that you’ve asked me this question, the story is writing itself.

Are there any other writing projects you’re working on?

I have some western short stories in my backlog that are very special to me. One is a slow-burn horror piece, but the other is a historical fiction western that I wrote while on a solo hiking trip in Big Sur and it incorporates some more complicated themes than my other work. There are a few sci-fi short stories in progress, including a post-dystopian sci-fi murder mystery novella that I am very close to completing. I’ve also recently been experimenting with a story based on pagan mythology that I’m very excited about. There is, of course, the elusive novel that I will finish—one of these days.

What are you reading right now? 

I’m currently reading The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah, and it’s been so long since I read a fantasy novel that I’ve enjoyed this much. Most of the time, my fantasy reading/film choices revolve around familiar favorites, and The Stardust Thief is taking so many elements that I enjoy and weaving them together with a beautiful setting and captivating characters.

Learn more about Author Laura Marden and Her Work:

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