The Chills at Will Podcast podcast

Episode 149 with Erika T. Wurth: Author of White Horse and Expert Student of, Teacher of, and Practitioner of Horror, Suspense, Psychological Thrillers, and More

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Episode 149 Notes and Links to Erika T. Wurth’s Work 


   On Episode 149 of The Chills at Will Podcast, Pete welcomes Erika T. Wurth, and the two discuss, among other topics, her upbringing in Idaho Springs, CO, her family background and the multilingual environment in which she grew up, writers who have made her feel represented and inspired her, contemporary writers whose subject matter and craft propel her own work forward and thrill her as a reader, Stephen King and Dave Mustaine and their impacts on her, the importance (or lack thereof) of genre, research for White Horse, and key themes that permeate her exciting new book. 


  Erika T. Wurth’s literary-horror novel, White Horse, is with Flatiron/Macmillan. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including Buzzfeed, Boulevard, Lithub, The Writer’s Chronicle, and The Kenyon Review. She is a Kenyon and Sewanee fellow, and a narrative artist for the Meow Wolf Denver installation. She is represented by Rebecca Friedman (books) and Dana Spector, CAA (film). She is an urban Native of Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee descent and was raised outside of Denver, where she lives with her partner, her two stepchildren, and her extremely fluffy dogs.

Buy White Horse


Erika Wurth's Website


October 31, 2022: Crime Reads-Erika on "Writing Native Horror During a Horror Renaissance"


From Oct., 2022: M.M. Kaufman Talks to Erika for Micro Podcast through LitHub



At about 7:15, Pete shouts out great writers who have spoken highly of Erika


At about 8:40, Erika explains her love of and connection with Dave Mustaine, highly featured in White Horse, and how he was a big part of her childhood


At about 10:10-The two shout out “Hangar 18”-check it out!


At about 12:00, Erika relates the story of trying to get a copy of her book to Dave Mustaine 


At about 12:45, Erika talks about growing up in Idaho Springs and her family background, as well as her relationships with language and reading growing up


At about 19:00, Erika outlines muses and inspirations for her writing-including artists and writers like Of Feather and Bone, Jhumpa Lahiri, Holly Goddard Jones, and Sandra Cisneros


At about 20:40, Erika speaks of ideas of representation regarding where she grew up and what she read growing up


At about 23:50, Erika shouts out contemporary influences and inspirations like Brandon Hobson, Morgan Talty, Kelli Jo Ford, David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Silvia Moreno Garcia, Grady Hendrix, Stephen Graham Jones, P. Djèlí Clark, and Rebecca Roanhorse


At about 26:10, Erika describes her process and path to becoming a writer


At about 28:50, Erika recounts Stephen King’s influence on her and her work 


At about 31:55, The two discuss Stephen King’s “On Writing” and Pete provides Silvia Moreno Garcia’s book cover blurb as Erika responds to Pete’s question about the importance-or lack thereof, of genre-she cites S. A Barnes book


At about 35:40, Pete cites a conversation with Tod Goldberg about his and Steph Cha’s work being so good that genre is irrelevant; Erika cites Jane Cleland as a master 


At about 37:40, Pete wonders about the balance in the book between allegory and more logistical/plot concerns; Erika cites Cynthia Pelayo as a writer who finds a great balance 


At about 41:30, Pete lists some of the scariest scenes from his memory and why he has trouble sometimes with horror/fantasy/sci-fi and their underlying themes 


At about 43:15, Erika “pitches”/gives a summary of White Horse


At about 44:10, Pete references the book’s dedication and the two discuss ideas of “nerdom”


At about 44:40, For those watching at home, Erika gives background on the bracelet that was the inspiration for an important object in the book


At about 45:35, Erika responds to Pete’s question about research done for the book-Erika especially highlights her investigating The Shining and its history and the inspirational hotel


At about 47:30, Erika describes her crafting a coherent work and talks about structure and books that helped her organize her head


At about 49:50, Pete lays out some of the book’s key plot points and background, as well as homing in on key themes of traumatization and guilt


At about 52:15, Erika gives background on the real-life White Horse and keys in on themes revolving around her main character’s challenges 


At about 54:40, Pete and Erika discuss cycles of violence and trauma and what the book has to say about the idea of “hurt people hurt[ing] people”


At about 58:10, Stephen Graham Jones is highlighted for his contributions to her book and for his all-around magnanimity 


At about 1:00:10, Ideas of the visceral/rational as mindsets and how they affects the book’s main characters (Keri, especially) are discussed 


At about 1:01:35, Pete compliments Erika for her using place as a veritable character, and Erika expands upon the ways in which Keri shows her intelligence and respects Old Denver 


At about 1:04:30, Pete compliments the psychological thriller aspects 


At about 1:05:45, Erika shouts out places to buy the book and great support from Flatiron Books, as well as giving out social media info and exciting developments involving book


At about 1:08:05, Erika describes her feelings as the book is published November 1 and shouts out a future project involving “New Denver”




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Please tune in for Episode 150 with Elizabeth Williamson, a feature writer at The New York Times and a reporter for The Wall Street Journal; her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and Slate. Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth, was published in 2022

The episode will air on November 4.


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