Tuesday, September 15, 2015
THE MADHOUSE STEALS KRISTIN DEARBORN
This week in the MADHOUSE, I'm hanging out with one of my favorite horror gal pals, Kristin Dearborn.When she told me that she had another book on the horizon, I knew I had to interview her to get the scoop. Check out the blurb for STOLEN AWAY below, along with a short Q&A about the book and her writing process. Plus, I think there's something in there about prostitutes and Skunk Apes...
Trisha doesn’t have much going for her, but she is a good mother. That’s what she’s always told herself, anyway. She wakes in the middle of the night to hear her infant son has been taken. Her daughter, who saw the kidnapping, tearfully tells her a monster took him. Her ex-boyfriend Joel owes the Russian Mafia a million dollars, but that’s nothing compared to the trouble Trisha’s got herself into. Searching for her son, Trisha and Joel won’t let gangsters, demons, or Joel’s overbearing mother stop them.
Trisha and Joel are forced to confront demons along the way, and not all of them are the literal kind. Not everyone can be trusted, and that has nothing to do with who’s a demon and who’s human.
Trisha knows her son is out there, and is alive. Will she be able to reunite her family?
Q. What was the inspiration for your novel?
A. While on vacation with my family in Florida in 2005 I wrote 100,000 words of an uncompleted novel based vaguely on this theme. It was bloated, uninspired, and I shoved it unceremoniously into the proverbial trunk. I didn’t think of it again until I was watching Breaking Bad recently. Something about the storyline where Jesse starts dating the woman with the little boy made me think of these characters. I like writing about people who aren’t squeaky clean, who have a nasty past that haunts them. Stolen Away has shades of True Romance and Supernatural.
Q. How long have you been writing fiction?
A. I’ve pretty much been writing fiction forever. Before I could write, I used to dictate stories to my mom. I focused on creative writing at the University of Maine, walking the same halls as Stephen King. I started selling work after I started graduate classes at Seton Hill University, where I got my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction. I have several short stories published in various magazines and anthologies.
Q. Where have you previously published your fiction?
A. My first novel Trinity and novella “Sacrifice Island” are available now from DarkFuse. Later this year they will publish a second novella, “Woman in White”. I’ve published in a variety of shorter markets, including Midnight Echo, the official magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association; Wicked Tales, the Journal of the New England Horror Writers (vol. 3); and the Horror Library Volume 5.
Q. Who are your influences?
A. As a writer, I read a lot. Like, a lot. My first literary love was Michael Crichton. I fell madly in love with Jurassic Park, and after that devoured everything by him at the time. Andromeda Strain, Sphere, Congo…I read everything I could get my hands on. I moved on to pretty much everything Dean Koontz had written up to the mid 90’s, then I fell in love again. The writer who has been my single biggest influence is Stephen King. I feel his gift for bringing realistic characters to life and depicting Americana is unsurpassed in any genre, but especially horror. Books don’t often deeply scare me, but his novella Big Driver gave me nightmares. My favorite novel is the much underrated The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon—I love the blending of hallucination and reality, and the wasp face of the God of the Lost. I don’t think anyone will ever write a coming of age tale like The Body, and every coming of age story (of which there are many in the horror genre) pales in its shadow.
Q. What is your writing process like?
A. My favorite quote is “don’t get it right, get it written.” I am a chronic pants-er, and like to vomit out an exploratory first draft. Then I make an outline, and in red I note all the things I want to change, and in blue I make my additions. I’m very quantity driven, so tools like Write or Die or word wars with friends inspire me. I’ve done NaNoWriMo for several years, but I tend to look at it as a palate cleanser, and have never revised or published any of the products. I try to engage my writing daily (though that doesn’t always happen), either with new material, edits, or something to stay connected with the work.
Q. What are you most excited about with this novel in particular, i.e. what was shocking or surprisingly to you while you were writing it?
A. This novel is the only book where I’ve ever truly felt like nothing more than a conduit for the story. I had several 10,000 word days, a feat I haven’t managed before or since. Maybe it’s because I’d already done so much of the writing back in 2005, maybe the characters just spoke to me. An awesome writing experience, and a very easy editing experience.
Q. How do you define horror?
A. Goodness, what a question. Horror is an emotion more than a genre…it finds itself across all the different types of stories. It’s ancient, and omnipresent, the old myths and legends put today’s splatterpunk and torture porn to shame. Horror is the feeling you get when your animal brain perks up, and something deep down inside identifies I’m not safe. Sometimes even when I’m reading a mediocre novel there will be moments where I get that tiny thrill. In a solid horror novel, or a good movie, the sensation can feel exhausting and wonderful at the same time.
Q. What scares you both in real life and in fiction?
A. Though I grew up in fairly rural New England and love hiking and camping, the woods scare me. It’s part of what I love about The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, that sensation of being lost in the wilderness, which really freaks me out. Anything could be out there, man. I’m not afraid of reasonable things like bears. I’m afraid of demons like the God of the Lost or the Outsider, nasty inhuman things slinking around in the trees. I love reading about them, and when camping, when I have to pee in the middle of the night and the bathrooms are a quarter mile away, I think of them a lot.
Q. What's next on the to-write list?
A. I’m currently much of the way through a novel about Skunk Apes and a teenage prostitute. Will I ever finish it? Will it ever see the light of day? The world may never know…
Author bio: If it screams, squelches, or bleeds, Kristin Dearborn has probably written about it. She revels in comments like “But you look so normal…how do you come up with that stuff?” A life-long New Englander, she aspires to the footsteps of the local masters, Messrs. King and Lovecraft. When not writing or rotting her brain with cheesy horror flicks (preferably creature features!) she can be found scaling rock cliffs or zipping around Vermont on a motorcycle, or gallivanting around the globe.