I’m delighted to announce the start of a brand new feature of guest posts on my blog, featuring authors talking about the locations of their books. Called ‘Where the heck Wednesday’, it will run semi-regularly on Wednesdays (now there’s a surprise) and I’m hoping to include as many locations, near at hand and far flung, as possible.
I was going to start the ball rolling in mid-November, but I’ve had such a good response to the idea from fellow authors that I’m kicking it off early, and my first victim, er, guest, is noir writer Graham Wynd who writes dark, even bleak stories and novels with an added blend of humour and erotica. Over to you, Graham, and thanks for taking part!
Book Title: Satan’s Sorority
Setting: Connecticut, USA
Author: Graham Wynd
“I set my novella about the devilish girls of Sigma Tau Nu at a mythical Connecticut college because I thought it fit the story well: Sandra Delites comes from New York City, but she’s clearly been exiled to the wilds of Connecticut as a punishment. I know the place well because I went to grad school at the University of Connecticut. After living in Cambridge I found it a bit…rustic.
There are a lot of cows. I mean a lot.
When people think of Connecticut it’s mostly the ‘gold coast’—the rich suburbs just a train ride away from Manhattan. The north east’s ‘Quiet Corner’ is worlds away from that rich life even in such a small state. It’s mostly farms and former mill towns, both struggling to stay afloat these days. For a city girl, it’s the middle of nowhere, so Sandra feels quite marooned.
The undergraduates I taught were oddly complacent. The chief advantage as far as I could tell about the location was that it was easy to get to Boston or NYC. I was amazed to find that most of my students had never been to either place. They really lived sheltered lives. They felt a bit like the kids from Village of the Damned grown up a bit.
But in the spring, these quiet kids tended to turn a little wild. There was a patch of time that riots broke out on the normally tranquil green fields of the campus, and a few times even cars were set on fire. The fraternities and sororities seemed to provide a good training ground for that on many weekends. I was glad to be living off campus most of the time. I didn’t actually hear of any of the greeks turning satanic, but I wouldn’t have been much surprised (joke). I grew up watching a lot of 60s and 70s movies that were all afraid of Satanists, so it was a fun bit of nostalgia for me.
I did cheat on one thing: Satan’s Sorority is set in 1959. I have Sandra and her sorority sister Trixie steal a book from the library, The Munich Handbook, which has a ritual to summon Lilith. It’s true the Yale Library has the Paul Mellon collection of alchemical books and manuscripts, but they didn’t receive that gift until 1967, and the Beinecke Rare Book Collection didn’t exist until 1963. I have the library doing a little conservation work on the book they’ll eventually have, which seems fair enough.
Admittedly I was probably far more interested in keeping the occult bits reasonably accurate than readers will be. You don’t have to believe that anything the least bit supernatural happens in the story—of course the sisters of Sigma Tau Nu think the devil made them do it, but it could all be in their heads. I guess when you’re spilling a lot of blood, you always have a reason—right?”
A writer of bleakly noirish tales with a bit of grim humour, Graham Wynd can be found in Dundee but would prefer you didn’t come looking. An English professor by day, Wynd grinds out darkly noir prose between trips to the local pub, including SATAN’S SORORITY from Number Thirteen Press and EXTRICATE from Fox Spirit Books, as well as tales in the Anthony Award-winning anthology Murder Under the Oaks and the Anthony Award-nominated Protectors 2: Heroes. See a full list of stories (including free reads) here.