Tag Archives: Mercedes M. Yardley

Special Needs in Strange Worlds: An Interview with Mercedes M. Yardley

Mercedes Murdock Yardley is a friend of mine. We talk frequently, and commiserate about health issues neither of us can control, just deal with as best as we can. She’s an up-and-coming author with several books under her belt, and more on the way. She’s creative, and passionate, and an absolute joy to talk to.

One of the things that always gets me about her writing, especially now that I know her on a personal level, is how certain aspects of her life fuel her books. Her books are dark and delicious, with a shocking (and quite refreshing) innocence, and an undertone of deep, profound loss, all of which is reflective of the life she has lived, and the challenges she faces daily.

I asked her if she’d be willing to open up with me about her life, her son with Williams Syndrome, and how it has all impacted her writing. This conversation is the result of that. Huge thanks to Mercedes for being willing to talk about these tender topics.

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MIND MELD: Which Non-Horror Novel/Writer/Movie Spooked You the Most?

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

This is a double-edged question about a writer/book who/that evoked that emotion of fear in you. Not a horror writer/novel (for example not Stephen King), but perhaps an Epic Fantasy, Science Fiction, or Urban Fantasy novel where you found parts of it scary/creepy. To the point you might think to yourself, “I’d love to see a straight-out horror novel from this writer!” (Which some participants answered)

Q: Which novel/writer/movie, that wasn’t specifically a horror novel/writer/movie, spooked you the most?

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MIND MELD: Our Favorite Library and Bookstore Memories

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

These summer days have me feeling nostalgic for the summers of my youth, when I’d ride my bike to the local library for another stack of paperbacks. It was experiences like that that helped make me a reader for life.

With that in mind, I asked our panelists this question:

Q: What is your favorite childhood memory of a library or bookstore?

Here is how they responded…
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BOOK REVIEW: Beautiful Sorrows by Mercedes M. Yardley

REVIEW SUMMARY: A debut collection that effortlessly plays with the finer nuances of sorrow and whimsy, though not without some wandering.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Beautiful Sorrows has no theme other than to showcase the range and skill of Mercedes M. Yardley. Her debut collection presents a rich assortment of short stories, flash fiction and micro fiction set in worlds that both resemble our own and remind of forgotten fairy tales left to their own devices.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Beautiful language that pairs with imaginative storylines; surreal, dream-like events; a general sense of unconventionality that works in favor of the narratives; emotionally charged scenes and strong characterization.
CONS: The flash and micro fiction pieces pale in comparison to the longer offerings, which make for an uneven reading experience
BOTTOM LINE: It’s a great debut. Beautiful Sorrows is subtle in some places, heartbreaking in others. Both surreal and painfully relatable in its familiarity. Mercedes M. Yardley sounds like no writer I’ve read until now and there’s a high chance she sounds like no one other than herself. That’s something to look forward to experiencing.

Beautiful Sorrows is a peculiar collection by a peculiar author with a peculiar voice and even more peculiar stories. That’s the best introduction I can manage and be concise as to what you can expect reading. This debut collection falls on the slimmer side, peppered with micro and flash fiction pieces serving as punctuation to the greater emotional narrative within Beautiful Sorrows. In his introduction, P. Gardner Goldsmith compares Yardley to a siren and rightfully so, but instead songs that fuel lust, Yardley sings songs to make hearts break.

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MIND MELD: The Best & Worst Genre Movie Adaptations

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Sure the books are almost always better than the movie, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from adapting genre fiction. So with that in mind, we asked our esteemed panel…

Q: What is the best movie adapted from SF/F/H fiction? The worst? Why did they succeed or fail?

This is what they said…

Lisa Morton
Lisa Morton is an award-winning screenwriter, novelist, and Halloween expert whose most recent books are the novels Malediction and Netherworld: Book One of the Chronicles of Diana Furnaval; forthcoming is a tie-in novel to the Stephen Jones-edited anthology series Zombie Apocalypse: Washington Deceased, and a non-fiction history of ghosts. Lisa lives in North Hollywood, California, and online at www.lisamorton.com.

The best for me is The Exorcist. Because the screenplay adaptation is by the original novelist, it hews closely to the book and it never gives into either backing down from the book’s most controversial scenes nor inflating them. I’d also suggest that director William Friedkin chose the perfect style to compliment William Peter Blatty’s story — he eschewed the Gothic trappings that had been common in horror films up to that point, and instead took a documentary approach to the material, treating it in a dramatic and very realistic fashion.

For my worst, I’m going to choose the film version of Alan Moore’s brilliant Watchmen, because I’ve never seen another adaptation that so completely inverted the intent of its source material. Moore’s original graphic novel is a deconstruction of superheroes, but the film is a ludicrous celebration. My favorite example is a scene in which the very disturbed character of Rorschach crashes through an upper-floor window and falls into a ring of police. In the graphic novel, it takes three small panels to show Rorschach crashing through the window and landing, where he’s stunned and easily beaten down; in the movie, he falls forever in slow-motion and then fights off the cops successfully for some time before being overwhelmed. The entire movie mythologizes these characters where Moore’s intention was to show them as psychologically damaged. I was so furious after seeing that movie that I wanted to punch the projectionist.

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MIND MELD: The Scary Stories That Made Us Lose Sleep

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

It’s Halloween time and what better way to celebrate than with a terrifying tale? So we asked our panelists the following question:

Q: What was the last horror novel that kept you awake at night?

Here’s what they said…
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THE CRAFT: Mercedes M. Yardley on Writing Horror

The Craft is a column that explores the writing process, each month focusing on a different aspect of the craft. This month I asked Mercedes M. Yardley, the author of Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love and Beautiful Sorrows, about writing horror. Here’s what she had to say…


James Aquilone: What is the surest way of scaring the bejesus out of a reader?

Mercedes M. Yardley: I think the surest way to scare the reader is to write something that scares yourself. If you’re writing with that sense of terror, the reader will pick up on it. I’m scared of losing my children. I’m scared of being cut with knives. These are themes that show up in my work, and even if you aren’t afraid of being sliced and diced like I am, hopefully you’ll feel that sense of foreboding because I do.

We’re all afraid. We’re all human animals, and fear is hardwired into our genes. As an author, exploit that.
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