Author Spotlight: Meet Eden Royce

Think a small-town girl who grew up around rootworkers and hoodoo practitioners might have a new take on horror?

Eden Royce is descended from women who practiced root, a type of conjure magic in her native Charleston, South Carolina. She’s been a bridal consultant, reptile handler, and stockbroker, but now writes dark fiction about the American South from her home in the English countryside.

She is the recipient of the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Diverse Worlds grant for 2016.

She also writes a regular feature for Graveyard Shift Sisters, a site dedicated to purging the black female horror fan from the margins, where she interviews black female authors and reviews their latest work. Eden is one of the founders of Colors in Darkness, a place for dark fiction authors of color to get support for their projects.
When she’s not writing, Eden loves roller-skating, watching quiz shows, and perfecting her signature dish for Masterchef. Learn more about Eden’s brand of horror on her website

Pull up a rocking chair and sit a spell. Soak in these twelve tales of Southern Gothic horror:

A woman’s search for her mother drags her into the binding embrace of a monster, a witchdoctor’s young niece tells him a life-altering secret, a man’s beachfront home becomes the site of his worst nightmare, an investigator who knows how to keep a 100% confession rate….

These are stories where the setting itself becomes a character—fog laced cemeteries, sulfur rich salt marshes—places housing creatures that defy understanding and where the grotesque and macabre are celebrated.

Spook Lights is a collection of short horror stories by Eden Royce, who was inspired by the rootworkers—Southern hoodoo magic users—she grew up around. 

Her Southern Gothic horror stories employ the use of the macabre and the ironic, to explore the ideals of the American South, along with a few spells from her great aunt, who was a local rootworker. 

Also used in the collection is the Gullah language, a vibrant mix of English and several African languages formulated from the first slaves brought to the United States, still spoken today in certain parts of Charleston, South Carolina and her surrounding sea islands where Royce grew up. The language is rare to hear now, and Royce hopes this collection will renew interest in the heritage of the Gullah-Geechee people.

Those fascinated by the mystique of the South, will appreciate these tales of the Holy City at its darkest. Many readers will find the descriptions of the lives of people of color, under represented in horror fiction, a refreshing take on the genre.