(This interview originally appeared in Horror Bound Magazine
on 10 April 2009.)
Aaron Polson was born on the Ides
of March: a good day for him,
unlucky for Julius Caesar. He
currently lives and writes in
Lawrence, Kansas with his wife,
two sons, and a tattooed rabbit. To
pay the bills, Aaron attempts to
teach high school students the
difference between irony and
coincidence. Much of his fiction
takes place in the fictional town of
Springdale, a strange place modeled after his own hometown in
central Kansas. His stories have appeared in Necrotic Tissue,
Northern Haunts (Shroud), Monstrous (Permuted Press), and
other publications. Aaron's short story “In Hollow Fields”
appeared in Horror Bound Magazine Publication's tribute to
Edgar Allan Poe - Return of the Raven - and “Keeping the Dead”
is among the tales in Fear of the Dark: An Anthology of Dark
Fiction - now available as an ebook.
How long have you been writing for?
I’ve been writing “seriously” for just over two years. Before that,
Why the interest in horror?
How did that develop?
I grew up watching A
Nightmare on Elm Street,
Friday the 13th, Alien,
Children of the Corn…the list
goes on. My neighbors were
big horror fans. We would
spend summer afternoons in a
tent reading old copies of
Fangoria or playing games in
their dark, smelly
to test our courage in the
dark. As an adult, I find horror fiction to be a fine release for
the tensions of the real world.
When does horror become literature?
Horror becomes literature as soon as character development
and plot depth overtake the gore, blood, and shock. Some
horror fiction is meant to terrify in the moment; horror
literature tends to leave a long-lasting sense of fear,
emptiness, and revulsion.
Why is this an important genre to study?
Fear is one of the most primal of all human emotions. An
individual’s response to horror can often speak volumes of that
individual’s emotional state.
What themes do you like to explore the most in your writing?
Family dynamics continue to surface in my work, especially the
relationships between husband and wife and brother and sister.
Most of my better stories revolve around relationships between
characters. Self discovery is big, too. I write quite a few
teenaged protagonists who are in the midst of self-
discovery/coming of age, probably a reflection of my day job
(high school English teacher).
What is your creative process like?
I keep a notebook nearby for those ideas that strike out of the
blue. I sort through occasionally and weed out those ideas
which seem to have merit…especially those that seem most
original or give me room to work. I’ll tinker with a story idea in
my head for days, sometimes weeks before writing the first
word. Once I start writing, things seem to flow fairly well.
Would you tell us about some
of your past work and the
anthologies you have work
My favorite publications to
date include Permuted
Press’s giant creatures
anthology, Monstrous (I was
a big fan of ‘50s science
fiction) and Northern Haunts
from Shroud. Profits from the
latter go toward the
American Cancer Society, a
charity close to me. My work
tends to range from gritty
realism to supernatural pulp with a side of science-fantasy.
Would you describe your upcoming book?
I’m in the process of querying agents for my second novel, a
young adult dark fantasy titled The House Eaters. It’s a mash
up of Native American mythology, coming of age trials, and a
classic “old dark house” vibe.
Any suggestions to those
who want to write or consider
it as a career?
Keep working. Write every
day or as often as you can.
Listen to all the advice you
hear, but only act on the
advice you hear most often
or from sources you know
and respect. Always have
something to support
yourself while you work. This
isn’t a cop-out or escape
clause. You will need to eat
while building your career.
Who are your favorite authors?
Theodore Sturgeon, H.G. Wells, Edgar Allan Poe (of course),
Ramsey Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Joe Lansdale to name a few.
What books are you reading right now?
I’m reading The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndam, an
apocalyptic book about a race of killer plants. As silly as that
may sound, the book is fairly terrifying.
Visit Aaron on the web at www.aaronpolson.net.
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You can find Aaron Polson’s short story
“Keeping the Dead” in our anthology, Fear
of the Dark - now available as an ebook!
ABOUT HORROR BOUND
TABLE OF CONTENTS / ABOUT FEAR OF THE DARK’S AUTHORS
EXCERPTS FROM THE ANTHOLOGY
> INTRODUCTION BY PAUL KANE
> “A DISTINCTIVE CURIOSITY” BY DAVID INGALLS (excerpt)
> “NOCTURNAL VISIONS” BY MARK LESLIE (excerpt)
> “FOR FEAR OF LITTLE MEN” BY SANDRA M. ODELL (excerpt)
INTERVIEWS WITH THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE ANTHOLOGY
> MARIA GRAZIA CAVICCHIOLI, Co-Editor/Founder, Horror Bound
> JASON ROLFE, Co-Editor/Former Associate Editor, Horror Bound
> CHRISTOPHER FOWLER, Author, “The Man In the Rain”
> PAUL KANE, Author, “Keeper of the Light”
> LISA MANNETTI, Author, “Spy Glass Hill”
> AARON POLSON, Author, “Keeping the Dead”
You can find Aaron
Polson’s short story
“Keeping the Dead” in
our anthology, Fear
of the Dark - now
available as an
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