INTERVIEW WITH AARON POLSON
(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, I dabbled. 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 basement…games designed 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 featured in. 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!
You can find Aaron Polson’s short story “Keeping the Dead” in our anthology, Fear of the Dark - now available as an ebook!
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