Hillary: What is the most magical/terrifying place you’ve visited?
Mercedes: Goblin Valley in Utah is an absolutely beautiful, twisted landscape. They used it for an alien planet in the movie Galaxy Quest. It’s gorgeous red rock and it truly looks otherworldly. When we were children, my father would take us to Goblin Valley during a full moon. He’d park at the top of the park and turn the headlights on so we always had a point of reference. My brother and I would take flashlights and scramble down to play among the rocks. We’d stay out all night. It’s one of my favorite memories.
Hillary: How does place generally fit into your writing?
Mercedes: My work is firmly rooted in the concept of place. It’s one of my major themes, and I really like to play with the idea of place being cognizant. In my book Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy, the desert comes alive and stalks the main character. It’s based on the area where I grew up, which is the same desert portrayed in my Shadow Atlas story. My Southern Gothic novel releasing next year, titled Darling, is about a small Louisiana town where the very soil itself is wicked. I think location adds so much to stories.
Hillary: What is one place that is top of your to-go list and why?
Mercedes: Iceland was always the place of my dreams! I was enchanted by the landscape. Ice and fire and steam. I wanted to see the black sand and the black pebble beaches. We finally made that trip a few years ago and it was just as brutal and magical as I had always hoped. It felt like being in a Grimm brother’s fairytale, all beauty and teeth.
Mercedes M. Yardley is a dark fantasist who wears red lipstick and poisonous flowers in her hair. She is the author of Beautiful Sorrows, the Stabby Award-winning Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, Pretty Little Dead Girls, and Nameless. She won the Bram Stoker Award for her story Little Dead Red and was a Bram Stoker Award nominee for her short story “Loving You Darkly” and the Arterial Bloom anthology. Mercedes lives and works in Las Vegas with her family and strange menagerie. You can find her at mercedesmyardley.com.