Special Ed teacher by day, horror novelist by night. By Kelly Lotz for The Northwest Explorer, November 22, 2000
Billie Brannock has two identities,Billie Brannock and Robbin Nickaell, and one of them is horrific.
By day, she is a teacher's aid for special needs students at Marana High School. By night, she is a horror writer who spins tales of terror to frighten even the most stolid imaginations.
"People have often wondered about my sanity due to my craving for horror," she said.
However, upon meeting her and experiencing her jubilant personality, you would suspect her to be anything but a horror novelist.
She said she has just always been compelled to be a writer and enjoys scaring people.
"I used to tell stories that would scare the dickens out of people," she remembers fondly. "My mom used to threaten to kill me because I would terrify my sisters."
She was a horror writer in the making, and now she has a published book to prove it.
Her first horror novel, "The Boneyard," was just released and is on the shelves at Borders Books & Music.
"In all reality, I have found that people are very receptive to horror," she said. "Horror is a realm of fantasy that opens endless doors of escape from the everyday humdrum of life."
During her book signing Nov. 11 at Borders, the sizable crowd indicated people were eager to support the new local author.
Pat Telli, an MUSD parent, said she thinks it is exciting that there is an up-and-coming writer in the school district.
"My teenager just loves her new novel and thinks that she is going to become a best seller one day," she said.
Brannock dreams of accomplishing that task. Among her many goals--to meet Stephen King. She said she would like to have her books associated with him and other horror greats like Anne Rice and Dean Koontz. If her first published novel is any indication of her future success, she is likely to achieve that goal.
Brannock's novel is a complilation of two horror stories, "A Desert Dweller" and "Jasper's Deadly Embrace." The first novella is a bloods and guts tale sure to give readers the willies; whereas the second story is a psychological thriller.
Brannock said her plots are derived from her active imagination as well as bizarre experiences that she contemplates actually happening.
Brannock said even if she became a famous author, "It would be very difficult for me not to do what I do right now", with the special needs students. Her next book in the works, "Siggi's Trolls", a children's fantasy, is related to her beloved day job.
It is based on handicapped and abused children who fall through "trolls holes" to the underworld and must overcome their handicaps during the journey in order to save the other captive innocent children from the mythological bad guys."