Writing a Meta Supernatural Thriller with Clay McLeod Chapman, author of THE REMAKING
I’m joined in this episode by Clay McLeod Chapman, author of meta-horror thriller THE REMAKING. The tragic campfire tale of a mother and daughter burned as witches haunts the imagination of a small town local – including a budding horror director. When child actress Amber Pendleton is cast in a ‘70s B-movie about the urban legend, it seems like a springboard to a Hollywood career. Instead, the traumatic events of the film follow her into a medication-saturated, cash-poor 1990s adulthood.
She makes her living at third-rate horror conventions, signing photographs for too-eager fans who cannot separate Amber from her disastrous childhood. But when the story that destroyed her life comes calling — again and again — does Amber have any choice but to play a new, desperate part each time?
THE REMAKING follows that backwoods ghost story from ’70s horror flick to ’90s auteur remake to modern day true crime podcast, each time asking — why do these tales consume us, and do we really care about the lives they ruin for our entertainment?
THE REMAKING is out now from Quirk Books. Buy it at:
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About Clay McLeod Chapman
Clay McLeod Chapman is the creator of the storytelling session “The Pumpkin Pie Show” and the author of Rest Area, Nothing Untoward, and The Tribe trilogy. He is the co-author, with Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick, of the middle grade novel Wendell and Wild. In the world of comics, Chapman’s work includes Lazaretto, Iron Fist: Phantom Limb, and Edge of Spiderverse. He also writes for the screen, including The Boy (SXSW 2015), Henley (Sundance 2012), and Late Bloomer (Sundance 2005).
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About The Remaking
Inspired by a true story, this supernatural thriller for fans of horror and true crime follows a tale as it evolves every twenty years—with terrifying results.
Ella Louise has lived in the woods surrounding Pilot’s Creek, Virginia, for nearly a decade. Publicly, she and her daughter Jessica are shunned by their upper-crust family and the Pilot’s Creek residents. Privately, desperate townspeople visit her apothecary for a cure to what ails them—until Ella Louise is blamed for the death of a prominent customer. Accused of witchcraft, both mother and daughter are burned at the stake in the middle of the night. Ella Louise’s burial site is never found, but the little girl has the most famous grave in the South: a steel-reinforced coffin surrounded by a fence of interconnected white crosses.
Their story will take the shape of an urban legend as it’s told around a campfire by a man forever marked by his boyhood encounters with Jessica. Decades later, a boy at that campfire will cast Amber Pendleton as Jessica in a ’70s horror movie inspired by the Witch Girl of Pilot’s Creek. Amber’s experiences on that set and its meta-remake in the ’90s will ripple through pop culture, ruining her life and career after she becomes the target of a witch hunt. Amber’s best chance to break the cycle of horror comes when a true-crime investigator tracks her down to interview her for his popular podcast. But will this final act of storytelling redeem her—or will it bring the story full circle, ready to be told once again? And again. And again…