Thursday 2 May 2024

Interview with Stephanie Rosengrant of The Haunted Horrorstorian Podcast - By David Kempf

The Haunted Horrorstorian Podcast

When did you first become interested in ghost stories?

I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. By the time I was in high school, I was on a first-name basis with my school and local librarians (as you may have gathered, I was also kind of a dork).

I read every fiction, sci-fi, and fantasy book the library had to offer. As I started running out of fiction books at my small school library, I gravitated towards authors like Dean Koontz and Stephen King, and from there, it snowballed into who I am today.

How did you get involved in fantasy/horror? 

I’ve always enjoyed reading and watching fantasy and horror, so it seemed natural to try writing my own stories. I started writing just for myself, as a creative outlet. Then, my husband (aka Producer Joe) encouraged me to start telling them as a podcast.

I liked the idea of doing a narration-style podcast, where I controlled the stories I told, but I knew it couldn’t be all original work; I just didn’t write fast enough!

Right now, the only way to hear these stories is on my podcast, The Haunted Horrorstorian. However, in time, I hope to publish these stories, specifically the Naomi story, which is still in production and should come out later this year.

Tell us about your first podcast. 

The Haunted Horrorstorian is my first podcast! It started as a way for me to express my creativity. I do all voice work myself and tell a variety of spooky stories. Some are my personal writings and others I’ve cultivated from various sources, including public works by authors like Poe and Dickens and friends I’ve made in the creative writing space. All of my stories include links or credit to the authors.

We came up with the word Horrorstorian ourselves. We wanted to convey the vibe of an old, haunted library, and the word librarian just didn’t seem to fit. The word historian was close but didn’t capture the spooky elements enough. Thus, Horror-storian was born, then Horrorstorian.

How would you classify the stories you write? 

Spooky and spine-tingling! My stories tend to focus on a less is more mentality. I don't use gore because I am not a huge fan of over-the-top gore. I prefer psychological and supernatural scares; it's what I lean towards in my books and movies and what I tend to write.

I also like to keep it pretty PG. I loved stories like Goosebumps when I was younger, and I want this show to be a good starting point for younger listeners to be able to get spooked without hearing R-rated language and violence.

Why do you think horror and fantasy books remain so popular? 

I believe everyone can see a piece of themselves in the heroes or antiheroes of horror and fantasy. These genres also provide an escape from the mundane, and allow us to fully immerse ourselves in another world. What would we do, how would we survive? They make us think, plan, and dream.

What inspires your stories? 

Most of my stories start out with a small piece of the real world. I often lay in bed at night imagining, ‘What if this happened when that happened?’ For example, the story I’m currently working on, Naomi (part one currently available in my podcast) is based on an adventure my best friend and I had together several years ago, where we explored an old abandoned building.

Of course, the scariest thing that happened while we were there was that the floor was rotting, and I nearly fell through the kitchen into the basement, but hey, that’s why it's fiction, right?

What do you think the difference between American horror and British horror is? 

From a movie perspective, I have found that British horror tends to focus more on the storyline, on the people, and the place. In contrast, many American horror movies tend to jump from one big cinematic moment to the next, trying to get the most jumps and the biggest reaction. Sometimes, this works, but it often sacrifices the story to get to the scare.

What are your favorite horror books? 

Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House is a personal favorite. I’ve also enjoyed Stephen King’s works and Dean Koontz's since I was a teen. I would be remiss not to mention Poe, as he’s been my favorite poet since childhood.

And, of course, you can’t forget the Goosebumps books! I still have quite a collection of them on my shelves, and I’ve been known to go back and reread them when I need something light.

What are some of your favorite horror movies? 

There are so many! Hell House LLC, Insidious, Psycho, Scream, You’re Next, The Ritual, and The Descent, just to name a few. I don’t think I’ve ever met a supernatural horror film I don’t like.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as a podcaster? 

Before we started The Haunted Horrorstorian, my producer (also known as Producer Joe) and I tried a different type of interview-style horror show, and we had a virtual sit-down with Andrea Perron.

She was amazing to chat with and really told us a lot about the actual history of her family and the hauntings they were plagued by. I always think it's fascinating to get to the truth behind the story.

Do you have any advice for new writers? 

There is no wrong way to write. Not every day will result in you writing a hundred pages, but something is always better than nothing. Make an outline, then build out from there. Attend workshops and ask others for their opinions, but don’t take every critique to heart; reading is subjective.

What is your opinion of the self-publishing trend? 

Self-publishing tremendously lowers the barrier of entry for aspiring authors. However, you have to commit to getting yourself out there and ensuring your work is ready for publishing. This can be risky if you’re not entirely confident in your editing skills! Be sure to have a team you trust.

What are your current projects? 

Right now, I’m working on more short stories for the podcast and a longer-form written version of the Naomi story. Producer Joe and I are also working on a different podcast, where we will discuss procedurals and true crime shows!

Please, in your own words, write a paragraph about yourself and your work. 

First and foremost, I’m a nerd. I like words, and I like movies. When I’m not working on my writing and podcasting, I’m probably playing a game or watching a movie with Producer Joe and our three cats. In my free time, I also enjoy crocheting.

As for my podcast, it really came about as another way to express creativity. I’ve always enjoyed telling stories, and I thought it would be fun to put some out there for others to hear. I would love to be a voice actor or read audiobooks!

You can find me on Facebook at Haunted Horrorstorian.

Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify