About Teresa Lo
Teresa Lo was born and raised in Coffeyville, Kansas, population of 10,000, home of the Interstate Fair and Rodeo and the legendary Dalton Gang. Her Chinese-American family was one of three Asian families in their conservative, Midwest town, and they ran the popular China Garden restaurant, which Teresa worked at from ages twelve to eighteen.
After high school, she attended the University of Kansas, where she earned a B.A. in History. She was a graduate of the honors program, a 2007-2008 Woman of Distinction, and founder of the T.Lo Club, an organization devoted to eating cookies. During her senior year of college, she was a research intern at The Late Show with David Letterman, where she gained her first hands-on experience in television.
In 2007, she moved to Los Angeles to attend the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she majored in screenwriting. She graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts in May of 2009, and her scripts have placed in several major writing contests. Most recently, she won the Grand Prize in the 2010 Script Pipeline Screenplay Contest, and she also placed two other scripts in the finals, a rare accomplishment. That same year, her drama script The Physicist also was a finalist for the prestigious 2010 Bluecat Screenplay Contest.
Her produced film credit Angel’s Bread, short directed by Lea Dizon and produced by Pia Chikiamco and Mahsa Moayeri, won the Silver Lei Award for Excellence in Filmmaking at the Honolulu Film Festival 2010. In October of 2009, she was a participant of the NAMIC Fall Writer’s Workshop, a competitive writing workshop that accepts twenty members. Her short story Guilt, a murder mystery, was published in the Comma, Splice Literary Journal in 2006, and she has contributed to Examiner.com, Yahoo.com, The Hollywood Reporter, USC’s SCA website, and The University Daily Kansan. In 2011, Bart Enigma Books released her first collection of short stories Realities and later The Other Side.
Currently, she is a cast member on the film and television review website, Just Seen It, and in 2012, she released her first YA horror novel, Hell’s Game.
About Hell’s Game
On Halloween night in Deer Creek, Kansas, Jake Victor, Ashley and Ashton Gemini, and Kristin Grace convince Ronnie Smalls to meet them at the town cemetery, which local folklore has always rumored to be the Gateway to Hell. Their intention was only to scare him, but soon the wicked prank becomes actual horror as the group learns the Gateway is all too real. After demons snatch Ronnie and drag him to Hell, the terrified foursome vow to keep what they had seen a secret.
Two years later, the group receives a mysterious letter, an invite to play a high-stakes game in Hell. If they win, they release Ronnie’s soul as well as their own from eternal damnation. If they lose, they are stuck in Hell forever. Choosing to play, they face nightmare after nightmare as each level escalates in intensity and forces them to face the seven deadly sins.
Inspired by the legends of the Gateway to Hell in Stull, Kansas, Hell’s Game explores the cruelty that teenagers can inflict upon each other as well as the horrors that exist amongst mankind. It is a dark, action-packed young adult novel that will both scare its readers and make them question the true meaning of evil.
Many horror stories, like Hell’s Game, follow the consequences of a group of people who have tried to test a legend, to see if it is true. Have you ever done something similar? Did that inspire the novel?
Hell’s Game is based upon the legend of the Gateway to Hell in Stull, Kansas. In real life, many people travel to Stull’s cemetery on Halloween night to see if the Gateway is real, and I based my novel on that concept. I have never been to Stull’s cemetery (too scared!), but I have used a Ouija Board, called on Bloody Mary, and tried to see if I was “light as a feather, stiff as a board.” The only legend that ever seemed to be real was when I broke a mirror as a child. After I broke it, I had seven years of bad luck—being a tween and teen was not a cool time in my life!
The characters of Ashton, Ashley, Jake, Ronnie and Kristen face horrors as a group, but also individually. What scares you?
I think the reason I write scary stories is that I am scared of almost everything. Home invasions. Heights. Snakes. A new fear has cropped up in the past few years for me because I now live in Los Angeles, a place where people spend many hours of the day in their cars, the roads are very congested, and many drivers are impatient and do reckless things. I was rear-ended here, and the other driver hit me so hard that my car flew forward like a ball in a croquet game. My car ended up in a busy intersection, and I was lucky to not have gotten T-boned but the accident injured my back. Although I’ve recovered, I’m still fearful of car crashes.
Do you think of Hell as a place with varying levels and intensities? Do you think you yourself could win Hell’s Game?
Each level of Hell’s Game was a representation of one of the seven deadly sins. Even though each level was equally horrifying, it was more intense if the characters had a personal connection to what was happening in the level. For instance, the carnival in Wrath was more difficult for Kristin than for Ashley or Jake. I think Hell is like that. I think it’s a place where you are confronted with your own personal demons for all of eternity, and if I were ever to play Hell’s Game, I would probably die the minute I used up all of my lifelines!
The novel weaves in various mythologies.
Is there something with regards to legend, myth, or folklore that you discovered while researching this novel that surprised you?
I knew about what the Gateway to Hell was before I started the novel, but as I did more research, I was surprised by other details of the mythology. For example, some people stated that they would travel to the cemetery and a mysterious man would pull up and block them from entering. They’d question his role, and this unofficial gatekeeper gave no answers. I also learned that in 1995 the Pope refused to fly over Stull, which only further validated that maybe the Gateway is real, and if the Stull Gateway is real, is it true that there are six others on Earth?
Hell’s Game is a supernatural horror blend. Is this your preferred genre? If not, what is?
I’m very drawn to literature with darker tones, and most of my stories are horror. However, combining supernatural elements is something new for me. I really liked the results, and I’m working on other stories that I could tell in the genre.
Mayor Hercules in Hell’s Game had an interesting reading list. What are some of your favorite horror novels? What are you currently reading?
I love horror and YA horror, especially, and I’ll read anything by Stephen King, L.J. Smith, or R.L. Stine. At the moment, I’m reading Fear by R.L. Stine, which is a compilation of thirteen horror/thriller stories by various young adult writers.
Relationships are at the center of this novel, relationships with friends, family, and lovers, as well as the relationships that demons and angels can have with humans. These relationships also leave the possibility for a sequel. Will there be one?
I would definitely be open to writing a sequel, and I have a general idea of what I’d like to include but I don’t have the story worked out yet. However, I do know that I want Ashley and the gang to rescue Eric Whitehorse!
For more about Teresa: www.tloclub.com
To download HELL’S GAME visit: http://www.amazon.com/Hells-Game-ebook/dp/B007S3HYTC