Monday, August 30, 2021

Author Interview - This Morbid Life by Loren Rhoads #NonFiction #Memoir #Horror #AuthorInterview

Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.

This Morbid Life is a death-positive memoir in the form of a collection of essays. The pieces were written for zines from Cyber-Psychos AOD to Chaotic Order to Morbid Curiosity magazine and for online sites like Gothic.Net, Jane, and Scoutie Girl.

The book starts with taking prom pictures in a cemetery in the rain and ends with falling in love with a sensory deprivation tank. There's a lot in there. 

Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

Everyone in this book is a real person! I've changed some of their names -- maybe not enough of them. As Anne Lamott says, "You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better."

Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?

I grew up really sheltered and spent a lot of time alone as a kid. It took me a long time to realize that it's fun to get scared. One of the things that scared me most was the eventual deaths of my friends and family members, to say nothing of my own mortality. So I started to study death, to see if I could make it less frightening if I knew more about it. In the end, studying death has made me savor life even more. 

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I don't dress all in black. My favorite colors are sky blue and grass green. I consider every day aboveground a good day.

If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?

The series is called No Rest for the Morbid. This Morbid Life is the first in the series. The second one will be Jet Lag & Other Blessings. It will collect my morbid travel essays, from staying in the Hotel Esmerelda across from Notre Dame to wandering alone through Tokyo at night to attending a weekend music festival at an isolated anarchist commune to flying in a helicopter over a volcano. I can't wait to share that book with the world next year.

What book are you reading now?

I'm reading Forest Bathing: The Rejuvenating Practice of Shinrin Yoku by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. You'll laugh when I tell you why. I'm working on an essay about how walking in a cemetery can be as rejuvenating to your spirit as walking in the woods or in a park. There's no better place to stop and smell the roses than in a cemetery.

This Morbid Life
No Rest for the Morbid 
Book One
Loren Rhoads

Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir/Horror
Publisher: Automatism Press
Date of Publication: August 22, 2021
ISBN:  978-1-7351876-2-4 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-7351876-3-1 (ebook) 
ASIN: B09C11J43W
Number of pages: 200
Word Count: 58 K
Cover Artist: Lynne Hansen

Tagline: What others have called an obsession with death is really a desperate romance with life.

Book Description:

What others have called an obsession with death is really a desperate romance with life. Guided by curiosity, compassion, and a truly strange sense of humor, this particular morbid life is detailed through a death-positive collection of 45 confessional essays. Along the way, author Loren Rhoads takes prom pictures in a cemetery, spends a couple of days in a cadaver lab, eats bugs, survives the AIDS epidemic, chases ghosts, and publishes a little magazine called Morbid Curiosity.

Originally written for zines from Cyber-Psychos AOD to Zine World and online magazines from Gothic.Net to Scoutie Girl, these emotionally charged essays showcase the morbid curiosity and dark humor that transformed Rhoads into a leading voice of the curious and creepy.

Excerpt from "The Ghost of Friends":

On Thanksgiving morning, I was making coffee when Jeff strolled out of his room. I debated what I should say. When my hands were busy filling the pot in the sink, I said, “I saw Blair’s ghost last night.”

“I haven’t seen him,” Jeff said, “but I’ve been pretty sure he was here.” I don’t know what I expected to hear, but that wasn’t it. Jeff is very down-to-earth, feet on the ground. If he could sense the ghost, then something must surely be there.

He told me, “One morning I was lying in bed in that half-awake state, thinking about the ghost. I felt a blast of wind blow straight up the length of my body into my face. When I opened my eyes, there was nothing to be seen—and nowhere for the wind to have come from.”

I shivered. Jeff slept in the bed where Blair suffered and died. It was all I could do to make myself sit on the bed when we watched a movie.

“Did he speak to you?” Jeff asked.


“I wonder what he wants.”

Of course, it could all be shrugged off as the power of suggestion on susceptible minds. I was very high, then sleepy; Jeff was half-awake. But it makes sense to me that if you don’t have a corporeal body to affect real space, you have to work in those times and spaces when people will be most likely to sense you. Or maybe he’s there all the time and we’re only able to perceive him when we’ve lowered our resistance.


The last time I saw Blair’s ghost, he was full color. He wore a red flannel shirt over black jeans, just as in life. His hands were linked behind his head as he lounged on the bed, ankles crossed. His black hair had grown out to the velvet stage. He looked healthier than he had in the entire last year of his life. His dark eyes sparkled as he grinned at me: Gotcha.

Immediately, I turned back to the stereo. It was Monday. Blair had died on a Monday. He’d died in the afternoon, in this room, on that same side of the bed.

All that flashed through my mind, followed by a rush of fear. I did not want to have my back turned to Blair’s ghost.

I whirled around so fast that I stumbled against the bookshelf and had to reach out to steady myself. The bed was empty again. Blair was gone.

I reached the incense down from the bookshelf and lit a stick of Blair’s favorite sandalwood. I waved the smoke over the bed and myself before leaving it to burn on the bedside table.

“Be at peace,” I wished him, but I had the sense that he was.

About the Author:

Loren Rhoads is the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die, Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, a space opera trilogy, and a duet about a succubus and her angel. She is also the editor of Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: Tales of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual and Tales for the Camp Fire: An Anthology Benefiting Wildfire Relief. This Morbid Life, her 15th book, is the first in the No Rest for the Morbid Series. Book 2, Jet Lag and Other Blessings, will be out in 2022.

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Loren Rhoads said...

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

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