Richie Tankersley Cusick
For three decades, Richie Tankersley Cusick (b. 1952) has been one of the most prominent authors of horror fiction for young adults. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana—home to some of the country’s most ancient ghosts—Cusick grew up in a small bayou town called Barataria. Inspired by the eerie Louisiana swampland, she began writing at a young age. After college, Cusick took a job at Hallmark and moved to a haunted house in Kansas City, where she began work on her first novel, Evil on the Bayou, whose success allowed her to leave her job and begin writing fulltime. Since then, Cusick has written more than two dozen novels. She and her three dogs live in North Carolina, where Cusick writes on an antique roll-top desk that was once owned by a funeral director. The desk is, of course, haunted.
Richie Tankersley Cusick
Born on April Fool’s Day 1952, Richie Tankersley Cusick was destined at a young age to write scary books. In a career spanning three decades, she has paved the way for young-adult horror writing, a genre she continues to publish in today.
Although born in New Orleans—home to some of the country’s most ancient ghosts—Cusick spent her early years in a small bayou town called Barataria, which once provided a safe haven for the fearsome pirate Jean Lafitte. A true Southern writer, she took early inspiration from the landscape of crumbling mansions, Spanish moss, and aboveground cemeteries, and began writing stories at a young age. For years a ghost lurked in her family’s house, making particular trouble around the holidays, when he would strip the Christmas tree of its ornaments and hurl them to the floor.
After graduating from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Cusick took a job at Hallmark and moved to Kansas City, where she once again shared her home with a mischievous spirit. It was then that she started work on her first novel, Evil on the Bayou (1984), based on her childhood memories of life in the eerie Louisiana swamps. Its success allowed her to leave Hallmark and begin writing fulltime.
When Cusick’s novel-writing career began, horror fiction for teens was a new genre. Along with authors like Christopher Pike and R. L. Stine, Cusick pioneered the form, finding success writing chilling stories with only a dash of the gore that defines adult thrillers.
Since Evil on the Bayou, Cusick has written more than two dozen novels about everything from vampires to pirate ghosts. In 2003 she began The Unseen, a four-volume series about a young girl who is tormented by the occult. Cusick currently lives with her three dogs in Missouri, where she enjoys listening to classic horror-movie soundtracks as she writes on an antique roll-top desk once owned by a funeral director. The desk is, of course, haunted.