As a young girl, Lucy Snyder turned her tea sets into bunkers for toy soldiers and pretended her hairbrushes were pistols and daggers.
She grew up on an Air Force base in Texas, in a house filled with books, and her imagination would run wild as she read fairy tales and children's fantasies like The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. Trips to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., where family resided, made her all the more curious about spaceships.
All of it inspired the Worthington resident to become an award-winning horror, fantasy and science-fiction author.
"One of the first books I read was A Wrinkle in Time, and I thought that was really cool, and I really wanted to do that," said Snyder, who earned the horror-writing community's equivalent of the Oscar or Grammy during a ceremony in New Orleans on June 15.
Every year, the Horror Writers Association presents the Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement, named in honor of Bram Stoker, author of the original Dracula. The award itself is an 8-inch replica of a haunted house. The door of the house opens to reveal a plaque engraved with the name of the winning work and its author.
Previous winners have included Stephen King, Anne Rice, Peter Straub, Joe McKinney, Jonathan Maberry, Joe Hill (son of Stephen King) and director John Carpenter.
"Horror is doing pretty well these days," Snyder said. "It's cathartic for people, and it's suggestive and personal. With most horror readers, you have to engage a person's emotions and really take them through the ringer. Reading an exciting horror novel can be the equivalent of riding a roller coaster."
Snyder received her award for achievement in short fiction for her story, Magdala Amygdala, which originally appeared in the anthology, Dark Faith: Invocations, and has been selected to appear in Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 5. It also will appear in the Japanese magazine, Night Land.
Snyder previously won a Bram Stoker award for her poetry collection, Chimeric Machines. Her urban fantasy novel, Spellbent, which, along with its sequels, is partly set in Columbus, was nominated for the award.
Her husband, Gary Braunbeck, is an occasional co-author.
"You develop a practice like anything else," said Snyder, who has sold more than 60 short stories to various books and magazines. "It takes good characterization to create a piece of fiction that's compelling to the reader. The short stories are fun because you can complete them sooner. If you have a free afternoon and feel inspired, you can get a story done in a few hours."
Snyder graduated from Angelo State University and continued her education at Indiana University for graduate studies in environmental science and journalism.
She will appear at Context 26, a local convention for readers and writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror, over the weekend of Sept. 27-29 at the Holiday Inn in Worthington. Author guests include Jack McDevitt, Elizabeth Bear and Scott Lynch.