Author and HELLRAISER II star Barbie Wilde talks to SHOCK.
This writer has been raving about the written word of actress turned author Barbie Wilde for years, in a myriad media, to the point where Wilde asked me to pen the foreword to her recent short fiction compendium, VOICES OF THE DAMNED. It was an honor to do so.
Because Barbie’s tales of demonic sex, insanity and phantasmagoria are not only compelling reads, they’re personal. They have meaning. We know that Wilde’s greatest claim to cult infamy stemmed from her appearance in the Clive Barker produced sequel HELLBOUND:HELLRAISER II as the Female Cenobite and much of her work initially took shape from her run in that weird world.
But Wilde’s stories are also informed by the many lives she’s led, from her time as a fringe figure in the British post-punk/new wave scene, from the many films she’s absorbed and adores and the books and music she loves.
And yes, Wilde’s tales are nasty, often sadistic (try her first novel THE VENUS COMPLEX for maximum rude). But at there’s also something charming and strangely feminine about them.
VOICES OF THE DAMNED (which also features exclusive artwork from Barker himself and other noted artists and has a companion paperback featuring that art exclusively) has been selling well and garnering rave reviews. And in honor of the waning days of Women in Horror Month, we decided to shine another light on Lady Wilde and her spectacular tome.
Here she is…
SHOCK: When did you first consider the possibility of putting your work into a single compendium?
WILDE: Its been a long-standing dream of mine to put together an illustrated collection of my short horror stories that Id written for different anthologies. In late 2014, Paul Fry of SST Publications contacted me to say how much he enjoyed my debut serial killer novel, THE VENUS COMPLEX. He mentioned the idea of working together and I pitched the concept to him. Since I knew that one of Pauls specialties was publishing high quality art books and graphic novels, I thought that SST would be an ideal fit as a publisher for an illustrated work like VOICES OF THE DAMNED.
SHOCK: Were there any issues with clearing rights for the tales, as many, if not all, have appeared in other published works?
WILDE: Most anthology contracts for short horror stories have an exclusivity clause of just one year. As soon as I started to think about a collection, I made sure that any new contract would not include an exclusivity clause, so there wasnt any problem with clearing rights. And two of the stories: my vampire tale Valeska and The Cilicium Rebellion (Part 3 of The Cilicium Trilogy), are new to the collection.
SHOCK: You seem to have a strong support system from your fans when it comes to your “transition” into other media; have they embraced the book?
WILDE: As with THE VENUS COMPLEX, the response from fans has been fantastic. Although when I attend horror conventions, some fans still seem surprised to discover that Im also a published author. Its quite delicious to be able to introduce them to my recent work as a writer of erotically charged horror fiction.
SHOCK: When in the editing phase, did you go back and alter any of the existing text in the tales? If not…were you tempted to?
WILDE: I wrote most of the stories for various horror anthologies over a period of six years. I was very conscious of the fact that I was now putting together a project where the stories would be read as a collection, not as separate works, so yes, I did do some editing. There was always going to be a certain amount of duplication of favorite phrases, words, etc., that I had to tidy up. I was also aware that there was a reoccurring theme of sexual violation throughout many of the stories. Although these events were very different from each other, I had to make sure that the descriptions of certain acts would not become too repetitive. (I think that this is an ongoing challenge for any writer of erotic fiction.) Since my work is very character driven and I like my characters to be three dimensional, there is always going to be a strong sexual aspect to my stories, in one form or another, since sex is such a driving force for us humans…as well as for the supernatural entities that I create.
SHOCK: The idea to not only incorporate original art into the book, but include them in a separate compendium is interesting. Were all of the pieces commissioned exclusively for this edition?
WILDE: With the exception of Clive Barkers contributions: She Waits (for the cover art), Kiss Me (for Sister Cilice), Princess Breath (for Gaia) and Eric Grosss The Cilicum Pandoric, the rest of the illustrations were all specially commissioned for the book from top artists in the genre like Nick Percival, Daniele Serra, Tara Bush, Steve McGinnis, Ben Baldwin, Vincent Sammy and Eric Gross. I got Dani on board first, because hed done the cover art for The Venus Complex. Then I decided to approach Clive and I was delighted when he generously allowed me to choose three of his artworks for the collection that seemed remarkably relevant to the stories and the cover. I knew most of the other artists work and Im deeply grateful that they all contributed such striking, haunting and delightfully sinister illustrations to VOICES OF THE DAMNED.
SHOCK: The stories are of course your children…do you have a favorite? One that you think best represents your style?
WILDE: How can you choose between your children!? I guess I have a special love for Sister Cilice, my first short horror story about a sex-starved nuns transition into a demonic Female Cenobite. I adore Gaia because I loved the idea of an emotionally fragile shut-in suddenly morphing into an avenging Fury. Writers Block still makes me laugh out loud. (What can be more amusing that making fun of your own profession?) And Zulu Zombies holds a place in my heart because its a crazed roller-coaster of mayhem, blood, Zulu rituals and well zombies. (And normally I hate zombies!) You see what I mean? Its impossible to choose. I love em all.
SHOCK: Presumably, you’re not resting on yer lovely bum…you must be working on something. Can you tell us about your next literary adventure?
WILDE: Im planning on expanding Valeska into a novel and Im still working on finishing up the screenplay for Zulu Zombies. More short horror stories for different anthologies lie in the future as well