Mary relocates her family to her aunt’s old house in Alabama, a place she fled from sixteen
When her family experiences odd and threatening occurrences, Mary dismisses them as
dreams or heat-induced hallucinations.
Can Mary accept the truth before it is too late to save her family?
Our Fearful Roots is a Southern Gothic Horror novel by Carmilla Voiez and Faith Marlow.
Available at Godless – https://godless.com/products/our-fearful-roots-by-carmilla-voiez-faith-
With three 5* reviews https://www.amazon.co.uk/Our-Fearful-Roots-Faith-Marlow/product-
Faith and I were already friends before we started this project, although we still haven’t met
in the flesh. We decided to write together after a larger group project was abandoned.
Choosing the concept was easy, the haunted house idea appealed to both of us, but we were
unsure about how we might approach co-writing as a process without stepping on each
other’s toes. I think it was me who initially suggested we have multiple protagonists and
divide them between us, but as happens with collaborative projects, the idea quickly became
ours rather than mine.
We imagined a family with two male and two female characters. Faith took the father and
daughter and I, very happily, wrote the mother and son. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the house
itself feels like the primary character in the finished novel; it connects them all and acts as
both hero and villain. Everything beyond the family and the haunted house was revealed to us
through the process of writing. We had no plan, and the story grew organically or magically,
like the sinister climbing roses in our story.
The novel was written entirely via email. After writing a scene or two from the mother’s or
son’s perspective, I send it to Faith who picked up where I left off. Editing the finished draft
was challenging. I had to fix time jumps and repeated scenes, choosing the most powerful
and important POV (character’s point of view) for each event and weaving in any vital plot
points which would have been lost in the cutting of the other version(s). I smoothed the
narrative and adjusted aspects of language use so that it would feel as though a single author
had written the story, not me or Faith but a consolidation of both of us – Familla Marloiz, if
you like, but I needed to be careful to do this without sacrificing the individuality of the four
As is often the case with my novels, it took longer to edit Our Fearful Roots that it took to
write the first draft, but the favourable reviews and being shortlisted for an award assures me
that the finished book succeeded in its purpose.
“Run!” The breath that accompanied the voice in Mary’s ear felt colder than the recycled air
blasting through the dashboard vent.
She was smothered by darkness, unbroken except for needle-points of blinking stars far
above the towering treetops. Her nose burned with the acidic perfume of conifers while her
ears caught the sharp sounds of pine needles snapping underfoot. Adrenaline spurred her
onward as she sprinted between ancient trunks, knowing that if she were caught, she too
Not a dream— she wasn’t asleep. Was it an exhaustion-induced hallucination?
Mary was in the passenger seat of their minivan— her husband, Chuck, behind the wheel and
her children in the backseat. She shivered uncontrollably while staring in disbelief at the
superimposed woodland which obscured the road ahead. Her desert-dry eyes pulsed.
“What?” she asked out loud.
Chuck glanced at her briefly, his forehead furrowed by a frown before returning his
concentration to the road ahead. “I didn’t say a word,” he snapped.
Eric, at fifteen, was frequently lost in his own world, but Anita had the eyes of a hawk and
the ears of a rabbit— a five-year-old who missed nothing and would surely be able to provide
the validation Mary needed. Both kids glanced up from their electronic devices and shook
their heads. Mary noted their bleary-eyed stares and realized even Anita’s senses had been
dulled by the monotony of travel.
After four days on the road and three nights spent in cheap motel rooms that stank of other
people’s sweat, the atmosphere in the minivan had the weight and darkness of a burgeoning
storm. Her family was wrapped in blankets of resentment, and Mary could taste their anger.
None of them wanted to leave Seattle, and all of them blamed her for forcing the move.
“None of you heard the voice?” The sharp, plaintive tone of Mary’s question grated on her
nerves. “It sounded old and female.”
“Must have been a dream. You didn’t sleep well last night,” Chuck said.
Always Another Chapter
Be Afraid of the Dark
Carmilla Voiez British Horror Author (The guest author is here)
Angela Yuriko Smith
James P. Nettles
Silver Hollow Stories (You are here)
Carmilla Voiez is a British horror and fantasy writer living in Scotland. Her influences include
Graham Masterton, Thomas Ligotti, and Clive Barker. She is pansexual and passionate about
intersectional feminism and human rights. Carmilla has a First-Class Bachelor’s degree in
Creative Writing and Linguistics. Her work includes stories in horror anthologies published
by Crystal Lake Publishing, Clash Books and Mocha Memoirs; a co-authored Southern Gothic
Horror novel; two self-published graphic novels, and the award-winning, dark
fantasy/horror Starblood trilogy. Graham Masterton described the second book in her
Starblood trilogy as a “compelling story in a hypnotic, distinctive voice that brings her eerie
world vividly to life”. Carmilla is also a freelance editor and mentor who enjoys making