@aniaahlborn #wrifrightfest #authorinterview #horror
I am happy that y'all were able to stop by. As part of the WRI Fright Fest we have author Ania Ahlborn.
Bunnita: Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Ania: I was born in Poland, moved to the States when I was around three years old, lived in a house next to a cemetery, and watched a ton of scary movies as a kid when my mom wasn't looking.
Bunnita: When do you write?
Ania: All throughout the day. It depends on how I'm feeling, really. Sometimes I'll be on a roll and write for two or three hours in the morning and be done for the rest of the day. Other times, mornings stretch out into afternoons. As long as I'm hitting my word count, I'm happy. What time I hit that word count is pretty irrelevant.
Bunnita: Do you write full time or do you also have a regular 9 to 5?
Ania: I've been writing full-time since 2012, but I managed to eke out my first novel, SEED, between days at a boring old office job.
Bunnita: What drew you to the horror genre?
Ania: People aren't drawn to horror, horror is drawn to them. It's as much a fondness for the dark and spooky as it is a way of thinking. I was wandering cemeteries at five years of age. I was smuggling horror flicks into my room before I was ten. When taken to a Toys 'R' Us, I spent my pocket money on a Ouija Board instead of a Barbie doll. This was never a choice for me...
Bunnita: What kind of research do you?
Ania: It depends on the book. BROTHER takes place in the early 80's, so I had to look up a lot of time-related stuff most people don't think about; like, what models of TV's were around in 1981, whether the car my character was driving was made as a stick shift or an automatic, what songs were on the Billboard charts, and what commercials you would see if you were watching a made-for-TV movie on late night NBC. I had to teach myself how to field dress a deer (virtually...because in real life? No thanks!). Today, I looked up the anatomy of a human heart and the history of baby diapers. It's all across the board, and it completely depends on the content of the book.
Bunnita: Is there anything you would say is hard about writing horror?
Ania: Everything is hard about writing horror. Writing is never easy. Writing suspense is masochistic.
Bunnita: What do you hope a person experience while reading your books?
Ania: First and foremost, I just want people to enjoy the ride. Getting in a good scare or creeping people out is just a bonus.
Bunnita: Do you have a favorite horror movie?
Ania: As far as classics: The Shining, Stanley Kubrick's version. A masterpiece. More recent: It's probably a tie between The Conjuring and Drag Me To Hell. They're two completely different styles of movie, but both are brilliant in their own ways.
Bunnita: Do you have a favorite horror author?
Ania: Stephen King. I know, what a cliche! But I really do love his writing style. His cadence is great. His use of language is amazing. Reading King, for me, is like listening to a favorite album or watching a favorite movie for the umpteenth time. It's less about the lyrics or the plot, and more about that warm fuzzy feeling.
Bunnita: Do you go all out with Halloween?
Ania: Surprisingly, no. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. One of my rituals is to play old horror movies on a loop in the evenings throughout the month of October. Even if I'm not actively watching the movie, hearing Jamie Lee Curtis scream for her life while I cook dinner in the other room is fun. Trick-or-treaters are always great as long as they're enthusiastic, not high school seniors thrusting pillowcases toward your chest with bored entitlement. But I've never lived in a neighborhood where Halloween was a huge event. Perhaps someday I'll get lucky and be the spooky horror author with the super creepy haunted house set up for kids to run through every October 31st.
Bunnita: Do you have a favorite holiday and why is it your favorite?
Ania: Next to Halloween, Christmas. I bake, and I cook, and I bake, and I bake...
Bunnita: What is your favorite horror book?
Ania: I don't have an all-time favorite because books are like people, they're different in so many ways. It's hard to fairly compare them. King's Full Dark, No Stars is at the top of my list, but that's a book of short stories, not a novel. Rosemary's Baby is phenomenal, but it's more of a novella. You can read it in an afternoon. I guess when we're talking full-length, Let the Right One In by John Lindqvist is at the top of the heap for me. It's such a fantastic, moody, atmospheric read.
Bunnita: Which book that you have written is your favorite and why?
Ania: Honestly, it's BROTHER. It's probably the darkest thing I've ever written, and everything in it is absolutely feasible. I love books that leave you thinking "man, that could really happen." BROTHER is one of those, which is....pretty terrifying. You'll have to check it out to see what I mean.
Bunnita: Do you have any advice for the aspiring writers out there?
Ania: Write what you'd want to read. Personally, I read across the board. It's not just horror, it's whatever I think sounds interesting at the time. But when it comes to finding scary novels dealing with the exact topics I want to read about, most of the time I either can't find them or they aren't out there. So I write my own.
Bunnita: Any advice specific to the horror genre?
Ania: Just the above. That, and if you're going to use age-old horror tropes, know that you're using them. It's one thing to riff on an old standby. It's another to be oblivious to the fact you're being cliche.
Bunnita: Do you have any last words?
Ania: Don't run with scissors, never give a dog avocado, cold brew your iced coffee, and if you like a book or an author...tell your friends and leave a review. Word of mouth and reviews are priceless. We love you for it. Seriously. Do it.
I would like to thank Ania for this interview. And thank y'all for stopping by. Until next time Happy Reading!
Ania Ahlborn is the bestselling author of the horror thrillers Within These Walls, The Bird Eater, The Shuddering, The Neighbors, and Seed, which has been optioned for film. Born in Ciechanow, Poland, she lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and their dog, Sulley. Facebook friend requests welcomed!
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Deep in the heart of Appalachia stands a crooked farmhouse miles from any road. The Morrows keep to themselves, and it’s served them well so far. When girls go missing off the side of the highway, the cops don’t knock on their door. Which is a good thing, seeing as to what’s buried in the Morrows’ backyard.
But nineteen-year-old Michael Morrow isn’t like the rest of his family. He doesn’t take pleasure in the screams that echo through the trees. Michael pines for normalcy, and he’s sure that someday he’ll see the world beyond West Virginia. When he meets Alice, a pretty girl working at a record shop in the small nearby town of Dahlia, he’s immediately smitten. For a moment, he nearly forgets about the monster he’s become. But his brother, Rebel, is all too eager to remind Michael of his place…
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