BY MARY WICOFF
Tracy DeVore of Danville will have the best seat in the house Saturday during the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Awards ceremony in New Orleans, La. Or rather, instead of a seat, she’ll be standing right there on stage — handing out the awards.
DeVore, an author and editor, said her onstage role of “Vanna” — that is, similar to Vanna White’s role on “Wheel of Fortune” — is exciting.
“It’s fun to stand up there,” she said. “I just stand behind the emcee, the winner comes up and I hand over the award.”
This is her second time as a presenter; the first time was at the World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City. At that 2008 event, the emcee turned around and said something to her; she was so surprised that she didn’t know how to respond. This year, she’s going to ask the emcee to give her advance warning.
The highly coveted Bram Stoker Awards are given during the World Horror Convention, which also offers workshops and chances to meet publishers.
DeVore has written three fiction books, which are for sale at the Fischer Theatre gift shop: “Scent of the Wolf,” a paranormal/gothic book; “Maiden’s Promise,” a historical romance; and “Symbiosis,” science fiction.
She also has written a cookbook, “Madame DeVore’s Kitchen,” which is for sale on www.amazon.com, and has edited numerous books. In fact, she runs an editing business from her home.
DeVore has attended other World Horror conventions, which run from Thursday to Sunday. The awards are given on Saturday, and people may watch the ceremony on their computers.
She got the presenter’s job when a friend was unable to do it, and asked her to stand in. This year, she was talking to the emcee, and he asked if she wanted to do it again.
“It is a neat thing,” she said of the awards. “It’s a big awards thing for this community.”
The Bram Stoker Awards is the horror writing community’s equivalent of the Oscars or Grammy awards. Each 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 awards were instituted immediately after the organization’s incorporation in 1987.
Previous winners have included Stephen King, Anne Rice, Peter Straub, Joe McKinney, Jonathan Maberry, Joe Hill (son of Stephen King) and director John Carpenter.
The award itself is an 8-inch replica of a fanciful haunted house. The door of the house opens to reveal a brass plaque engraved with the name of the winning work and its author.
Attending the awards ceremony and the convention gives DeVore a chance to meet famous people, such as Del Howison, who has played the character Renfield from “Dracula” on four occasions. She also has met Joe Hill.
At this year’s convention, she and her daughter, Piper Jones, 16, will attend a small session with Amber Benson, who played Tara on the TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Piper is a fan of the show, and is “pretty excited” about this chance, DeVore said.
Being at the convention will give DeVore a chance to pitch her novels to publishers — which is even more nerve wracking than standing on stage, she said. She’s trying to write a pilot for a TV show, and is working on a horror mystery book.
Formerly from Indianapolis, DeVore has lived here five years with her husband, Tim, who works at AutoZone. He also is a photographer, whose work has appeared in the book “Weird Indiana” and on a wall mural at Barnes & Noble in South Bend, Ind. (His website is www.846studios.com.)