Interview with Annie J. Penn, author of “Voodoo Knights”
Annie J. Penn Biography
Phyllis Khan wrote the horror fantasy “Voodoo Knights” under the pen name Annie J. Penn. The story deals with black magic, monsters and aliens and features characters such as Moh Moh Oh, a manwhoring alien hybrid who is the father of all monsters, and Miss Conceptiona, a shape-shifting transgender swamp monster. She also writes short stories. Annie Penn is a nomad who lived in more than nineteen towns and cities across two continents. She is currently writing her third novel somewhere in a remote place that both man and time have forgotten. Her other must read title is No Saints also written in English. Annie Penn is bilingual and hopes to write her fourth book in her native language. When asked where home was, Annie Penn would answer, The World. She is passionate about the safety of the elderly and would like to see the citizens of the world take better care of them.
The Book: Voodoo Knights
MohMoh Oh is the spirit monster creator of the Voodooverse. Hard to believe he was once human. in his swamp lives the three headed, five legged, very moody, sometimes blood thirsty angry, but always bejewelled, bi-sexual monstrocity, the fabulous Miss Conceptiona. Very much in awe of his talents are the fierce opposition, the day time hours hospital director who becomes something totally different when day turns to night. Lets not forget the real Voodoo master, the never have been and never would be human, spirit from Planet Katanga, father the most honorable. In opposition to them all is the fast talking genius girl, Hetti O!
Annie J. Penn Interview
Q. “Voodoo Knights” combines elements of horror fiction with science-fiction genre elements such as aliens. How do you think these two genres came together in your story?
A. Voodoo Knights was my introduction to the readers. I thought if I lost them as a horror writer I could interest them with science fiction for now. I guess this has to do with my concern about being accepted as a female in horror. So, yes, merging the two genres was deliberate.
Q. What can you tell us about the sequel you are working on, about alien hybrid Moh Moh Oh, the father of all monsters?
A. I am currently multi tasking which means that Moh Moh Oh is coming along a lot slower than what I originally thought. Because he was a character in the horror-sci-fi Voodoo Knights the book continues in that vein. I am having a lot of fun with Moh Moh and would sometimes, whilst in the middle of doing something else, seek him out (stop and write about him instead).
Q. You have said regarding “Voodoo Knights,” “I now feel that I held back on the horror bits because I was unsure how the readers would take to me, a female writing horror.” Do you think that knowing that there are other women out there writing horror makes you feel more at ease about writing in the genre?
A. When I first started writing Voodoo Knights I told no one. I was worried people would find it, sorry ladies, un-ladylike. Also, I had no idea so many ladies were indeed interested in writing horror. Gee, if only I had done my research. There is no telling what Moh Moh might have been then. He might just have a surprise up his sleeve about some transformations for himself. He is after all, Moh Moh Oh the father of monster creations. Damn, I love the guy. I could talk about him all night!
Q. As I was adding you to the list of black women writing horror fiction, I realized that you are the first and so far only Australian on that list. How do you feel about representing Australia? Are you originally from there? Do you think that being Australian affects your writing or story backgrounds at all?
A. NO! I am not Australian. I come from the beautiful South Africa. I fled the Apartheid regime in 1983 and have been over here in Australia ever since. Australians are not interested in Voodoo and told me so when they rejected my manuscripts dozens of times. It is extremely difficult to write anything that is not mainstream and expect Australians to show an interest. That is me, the writer speaking. I love living in Australia.
Q. Besides “Voodoo Knights,” you write short stories. You wrote one, “The Funeral,” for the eBook edition of “60 Black Women in Horror Writing.” Is there anywhere else our readers can look for your short stories?
A. My short stories are somewhere here on my computer. I will probably publish them one day. I recently came up with the brilliant idea to publish them as a free e-book to expose myself a bit more. Gee, wonder where I got that idea from. Some of these short stories were written in Afrikaans which is the language my people speak in the Cape Province of South Africa.
Q. Is there anything else you would like the readers to know that we haven’t covered yet?
A. A couple of things about me that are not already known to my writer and reader friends: I speak English as a second language. As a matter of fact, I was about eight or nine when I was first introduced to the language in an educational facility. I am able to read and understand a third language but am unable to keep a conversation. Crazy, but true. Horror is my favourite genre, but I also write erotica and crime. I am a qualified Registered nurse but retired early due to medical reasons. I love holidaying in the United States, so much, I have been to 29 states.
Where to Find Annie Online: