Massie, Elizabeth

views updated

MASSIE, Elizabeth

PERSONAL: Female. Hobbies and other interests: "Camping and cattle rustling."

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Pocket Books, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

CAREER: Writer.

AWARDS, HONORS: Bram Stoker Award for best novelette, Horror Writers Association, 1991, for "Stephen," and for best first novel, 1993, for Sineater.



Sineater (novel), Carroll and Graf (New York, NY), 1994.

Southern Discomfort: The Selected Works (short stories), introduction by Yvonne Navarro, photographs by H. E. Fassl, Dark Regions Press (Brentwood, CA), 1994.

American Chills: Maryland—Ghost Harbor (young adult), Z-Fave, 1995.

Shadow Dreams (short stories), introduction by Gary A. Braunbeck, Silver Salamander Press (Seattle, WA), 1997.

Welcome Back to the Night (novel), Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1999.

Wire Mesh Mothers (novel), Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Contributor to anthologies, including Dead End: City Limits, edited by Paul F. Olson and David B. Silva, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991; Revelations, edited by Douglas E. Winter, Harper Prism (New York, NY), 1997; and Darkside: Horror for the Next Millennium, edited by John Pelan, Darkside Press (Seattle, WA), 1996.


Patsy's Declaration, Pocket Books/Minstrel (New York, NY), 1997.

Patsy's Discovery, Pocket Books/Minstrel (New York, NY), 1997.

Barbara's Escape, Pocket Books/Minstrel (New York, NY), 1997.


Jambo, Watoto!, Creative Art Press (West Bloomfield, MI), 1998.

The Great Chicago Fire, 1871, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1999.

1609: Winter of the Dead, Tor (New York, NY), 2000.

1870: Not with Our Blood, Tor (New York, NY), 2000.

A Forest Community, Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 2000.

Why Me?, Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 2003.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Picture books with sister, Barbara Spilman Lawson.

SIDELIGHTS: Elizabeth Massie has established herself as a writer of horror fiction and children's books, many with a historical background. Her first publication, Sineater, received the Horror Writers Association's Bram Stoker Award for best first novel in 1993. The story concerns Joel Barker, a Southern youth whose father has been chosen by a religious sect to live alone and bear upon himself the sins of the sect's dead members. As a consequence of his father's position as scapegoat, Joel finds himself alienated from others in the community. After a series of gruesome murders occurs in town, deranged sect leader Missy Campbell accuses Joel's father of the crimes. But Joel and his only friend, Missy's son Burke, are determined to find the true murderer. Their efforts, however, lead them to particularly alarming realizations. A Publishers Weekly reviewer stated that "Massie's sharp observations and eye for detail bring her characters to life and lend credence to the unfamiliar setting and bizarre plot."

Southern Discomfort: The Selected Works was the author's first short-story collection. It included such tales as "Hooked on Buzzer," which features a youth with an intense affinity for electricity; "Abed," in which a widow is pressured by her mother-in-law into having a child; and "The Sick'un," wherein a school-teacher makes a startling discovery when she investigates student absences. Locus reviewer Edward Bryant called Southern Discomfort "effective" and "attractive" and described Massie's work as "sensual, frequently erotic, and hard-edged."

More disturbing tales filled the pages of Shadow Dreams, Massie's second horror collection. "Snow Day" concerns a young girl with an unappealing mother; "I Am Not My Smell" chronicles an impoverished woman's final hours; and "Sanctuary of the Shrinking Soul" relates a mother's loss of her child. Reviewing the book for Feo Amante's Horror Home Page, William P. Simmons called it "refreshing and disrobing, captivating and depressing," and further remarked: "Presenting an emotional landscape of pains never eased, hungers never quenched, and horrors impossible to lighten, Shadow Dreams takes itself and its readers seriously with a passion and sense of craftsmanship rare in any medium."

Massie's efforts in the field of historical fiction includes the "Daughters of Liberty" trilogy, comprised of Patsy's Declaration, Patsy's Discovery, and Barbara's Escape. These books, set during the American Revolution, recount the exploits of two girls in Philadelphia. Reviewing Patsy's Discovery in School Library Journal, Mary M. Hopf noted that one of the strengths of the book is Massie's "vivid" descriptions of life in the 1700s.

Massie set her novel 1870: Not with Our Blood during the Industrial Revolution, exploring the plight of mill workers through the story of a family displaced by the Civil War. The central character, Paul, wants to attend college and become a writer, but the harsh realities of life stand between him and his dreams. Overall, Massie "paints a bleak picture of New England factory life," commented Kay Weisman in Booklist.



Booklist, December 1, 1997, Kay Weisman, review of Patsy's Discovery, p. 637; April 1, 2000, Kay Weisman, review of 1870: Not with Our Blood, p. 1474.

ForeWord, August, 1998, Anne Stanton, review of Jambo, Watoto!

Locus, January, 1994, Edward Bryant, review of Southern Discomfort: The Selected Works, p. 49; November, 2002, review of Shadow Dreams, p. 27.

Necro, fall, 1993, p. 25.

Publishers Weekly, August 30, 1991, review of Dead End: City Limits, p. 67; May 23, 1994, review of Sineater, p. 79; June 2, 1997, p. 72.

School Library Journal, August, 1997, review of Patsy's Discovery, p. 138; June, 2000, Lisa Prolman, review of 1870: Not with Our Blood, p. 150.

Science Fiction Chronicle, October, 1994, p. 45.


Elizabeth Massie Home Page, (July 27, 2005).

Feo Amante's Horror Home Page, (February 11, 2003), William P. Simmons, review of Shadow Dreams.

About this article

Massie, Elizabeth

Updated About content Print Article