Asked why she uses her initials in her pen name, Lori Gaudet, says that the majority of successful horror/thriller authors are men so her initials give her anonymity.
"A reader might see my name and think, ‘Oh, it’s a chick — she can’t write’," Gaudet, of Sanford, said.
"The adult horror genre is a man’s game. Search horror books and you will find an overwhelming ratio of men to women. No one questions whether Don Harrison can write horror. But change Don to a woman’s name, and it can be an instant sales killer, like a man writing romance. A man can write romance just as well as a woman, but will find it harder to sell than a woman," Gaudet wrote in an email message.
Gaudet, the mother of two teens who works as a billing and payroll clerk for a transport company, might appear to be someone who’s unfamiliar with murder, people vanishing and desperation and violence. However, she has an agile imagination that often strays to dark topics.
"I wrote a short story that ended in cannibalism from seeing a red mitten lost in the snow. A seed of an idea will take root," she said.
Gaudet’s fourth novel and third in her McAllister series was recently released. Hunting Michael Underwood follows the story of the search for a serial killer that began in the first of her series, Where the Bodies Are.
"It goes deeper into that world."
Gaudet said she feels the series isn’t finished yet.
"It looks like there is going to be another book."
She grew up in Winnipeg and moved to Sanford with her family about 14 years ago. "We lucked in to a house deal that we couldn’t refuse," she said.
While some might think that life in a small community would be too predictable and ordinary to spark the dark themes that Gaudet explores, she said this isn’t the case. Although she enjoys small-town life, she’s able to find inspiration around her.
"The ugly oak trees behind our house constantly inspire ideas from tiny people riding the squirrels to creepy people randomly walking from the woods," she said.
Local residents’ discontent over new residential construction in their neighbourhood gave rise to Gaudet’s theme for her novel, Garden Grove, which includes vandalism, poisoning, sabotage and intentionally planted human remains.
Gaudet said she started trying her hand at fiction when in high school, but first her education and then marriage and motherhood took up most of her time. Now that her children are older, she’s able to spend more time on writing.
Asked why she’s gravitated to the horror/thriller genre, Gaudet said it’s what interests her most.
"I’ve always had a love of horror. As a kid, I snuck to the basement to watch old killer B flicks, The Blob, Ben, and Willard. Vincent Price was one of my favourite actors."
Many fledgling authors struggle to find a publisher, but Gaudet said she used connections she’d made with other authors to get picked up by American company Second Wind Publishing and have her first book released. The company later became Indigo Sea Press and it carries all of Gaudet’s titles. They can also be ordered through Amazon and at Winnipeg's McNally Robinson.
Local residents can stop in at Sanford Lumber and Building Supplies (9 Railway Ave.) where signed copies of Gaudet’s books are available.