Tuesday, January 18, 2022


Chatting with Among the Headstones Author Cinderella Lo

Welcome author Cinderella Lo to Darkling Delights. She's sharing not only cemetery rules and traditions in Hong Kong cemeteries, but what inspired her short story The Eternal Glow of Yue. 


How do you feel about cemeteries? Do find them creepy? 

I don’t find cemeteries creepy  unless they’re neglected or abandoned.  A cultural factor plays into this. Because I find cemeteries in Southeast Asia a lot spookier than those in Canada where I used to live.

My birthplace Hong Kong has a wealth of ghost stories related to cemeteries. People accept these legends as facts, or at least take them into consideration for important decisions such as moving into a condo or opening a shop nearby.


Do you know where your ancestors are buried? Do you visit their graves?

In Hong Kong’s culture, people are expected to worship their ancestors several generations back. Because land in the city is notoriously scarce, burial grounds are rare and often limited. Most people are cremated, their ashes stored in tiny rectangular hollos in cement walls inside multi-storied public cemeteries – which ironically reflects their life-long residence in multi-storeyed shoebox-sized apartments.

I remember when I was a child in Hong Kong, my family we went to worship our ancestors – especially the maternal and paternal grandparents - at the annual spring and autumn worships. For us kids, these were exciting events, because we got together with cousins and were allowed to wander around while the adults were busy with worship ritual, e.g. preparing the incense.  They used to share offerings with the ‘neighbouring ancestors’ – the people buried next to our grandparents  - as an act of neighbourly amicability.


 Do you ever wander around cemeteries, read the inscriptions on strangers’ headstones, and wonder what their lives were like, how they died, what families they left behind?

 There are many taboos in our culture, including complex etiquette rules for visits to cemeteries. You’re not supposed to make loud noises because those might disturb the ancestors, or to read out names on strangers’ headstones, or to comment on pictures or reveal life anecdotes of the graveyard’s residents. All these are considered disrespectful.

 We are supposed to focus our attention on the worship of our own ancestors.  But sometimes when I see names and pictures of my ancestors’ ‘neighbours’ – the people buried next to them – I’m tempted to let my imagination wander, wondering what their lives were like and how they passed.


 How would you like to be buried?

 I really love water in all forms – swimming pools, waterfalls, oceans. Water empowers me. So I’d like to have my ashes scattered in a nice turquoise body of water. 

What gives you the creeps?

Sometimes the realisation that I’m alone in a secluded environment is enough to give me the creeps. 


For your story in Among the Headstones, where did you get the inspiration? 

My inspiration for the story “The Eternal Glow of Yue” came from an urban legend in my native city, Hong Kong. Several decades ago, a sick, impoverished woman died in a run-down flat. Her death wasn’t discovered for days, until the police broke into the apartment. All the while, her children were still being fed – by their mother’s ghost.


In my story, I changed some details and I added the character of the delivery guy. I wanted to add a romantic note to the story, and also to highlight the issue of intergenerational poverty.


 Describe your writing voice.

Fantastic and whimsical, intensely romantic but not necessarily about requited or fulfilled love, realistic yet timeless.


What are your literary influences?  

I’m drawn to fiction that is simple in structure yet has great depth and allows multiple interpretations. Authors who inspire me include Mitch Albom, Paulo Coelho, Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen and Shu Yi (a popular romance writer in Hong Kong).


What’s the first horror story you wrote? 

Normally, I write fantasy and romance, and “The Eternal Glow of Yue” published in Among the Headstones: Creepy Tales from the Graveyard is my first ever horror story. 

The creation of this story was supported by creepy signs right from the start, which I consider auspicious.

To research ideas,  I sat in the library of my condo, alone, reading about local legends and the horrific tales of true events that had happened in Hong Kong. I felt goosebumps and a slight wind stirred from behind me. There was nobody there, no movement – but the wind kept brushing  me in a creepy way. I told myself that it was a strange effect of the air conditioner.

The next day when I began to write, it was a dark rainy day. Here in Bangkok, such weather is unusual.  Watching the thick hovering clouds from the full-length corner windows,  I thought, “What better time to write ghost stories than a gloomy rainy day?”  

 This signs signalled to me that the story I was working on was special, and meant to be chosen chosen and published in this amazing compilation among talented writers.

 Being a romantic at heart, I inserted a romantic element into the tale.


Where do you find inspiration for your writing?

 People fascinate me.  In my daily life, I  meet people of various backgrounds and cultures, and I listen to them.  I then use personality traits, chains of thoughts, snippets of conversations in my stories. 


For instance, my story in the anthology Hikikomori – A Short Story Collection (Creed of Slaves Book 2) was inspired by a friend who has both a daughter and a son. She mentioned once that she prefers her son to her daughter, and inspired me to write a story about the mother-daughter relationship  during the self-isolation in the pandemic.



What are you currently working on?

The past two years have been a very special period in lives, because of the pandemic, and this has inspired my current writing project: a compilation of short stories and a romance novel.



As her name entails, Cinderella always carries a whisk of fantasy in her wherever she goes.  She devotes her life in the pursuit of beauty in life:  beautiful things, beautiful minds, beautiful hearts, beautiful relationships.

With her background in psychology and social work, she has worked as a fundraiser and project manager in the non-profit sector. She currently lives and explores life’s possibilities in one of the most exciting cities in the world, Bangkok (Thailand), where she is an active member of the Bangkok Women Writers Group.  She wants to touch people’s hearts with her poems and stories.




 This book, edited by Rayne Hall, presents twenty-seven of the finest - and creepiest - graveyard tales with stories by established writers, classic authors and fresh voices.

Here you'll find Gothic ghost stories by Robert Ellis, Lee Murray, Greg Chapman, Morgan Pryce, Rayne Hall, Guy de Maupassant, Myk Pilgrim, Zachary Ashford, Amelia Edwards, Nina Wibowo, Krystal Garrett, Tylluan Penry, Ambrose Bierce, Cinderella Lo, Nikki Tait, Arthur Conan Doyle, Priscilla Bettis, Kyla Ward, Edgar Allan Poe, Paul D Dail, Cameron Trost, Pamela Turner, William Meikle and Lord Dunsany who thrill with their eerie, macabre and sometimes quirky visions.

You'll visit graveyards in Britain, Indonesia, Russia, China, Italy, Bulgaria, Thailand, USA, Australia, South Africa and Japan, and you can marvel at the burial customs of other cultures.

Now let's open the gate - can you hear it creak on its hinges? - and enter the realm of the dead. Listen to the wind rustling the yew, the grating of footsteps on gravel, the hoo-hoo-hoo of the collared dove. Run your fingers across the tombstones to feel their lichen-rough sandstone or smooth cool marble. Inhale the scents of decaying lilies and freshly dug earth.

But be careful. Someone may be watching your every movement... They may be right behind you.

Purchase Link: www.mybook.to/Headstones

The ebook is available for pre-order from Amazon at the special offer price of 99 cents until 31 January 2022. (After that date, the price will go up.) A paperback is about to be published.

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