AN INTERVIEW WITH
‘FEAR OF THE DARK’ CO-EDITOR
Jason Rolfe co-edited Fear of the Dark with Maria Grazia
Cavicchioli. He talks about how horror extends into absurdism,
how he became involved in Horror Bound, the process of
editing Fear of the Dark, and some of his highly intriguing
upcoming literary projects.
You are quite involved in a variety of literary genres. How does
horror fit into them?
There is an element of horror in everything I write. Over the
last year and a half I haven’t written anything that really
resembles traditional horror. I’ve instead focused more on
short absurdist fiction. When I did write “traditional” horror
stories, I wrote about things that might frighten other people.
With my absurdist work I’ve focused on the one thing that truly
frightens me. The philosophy behind Absurdism is essentially
this: we live in a meaningless, chaotic world and then we die.
Like nihilism it stresses the absence of reason. Life and death
are completely arbitrary. I find that sense of pointlessness truly
terrifying. With that in mind, one of the most terrifying things
I’ve ever read is Albert Camus’ play, Caligula. My recent work
might appear light hearted, or (on occasion) darkly humorous,
but it is inspired by a sense of hopeless dread.
How did you become involved in Horror Bound Magazine, and
then co-editing Fear of the Dark with Maria Grazia Cavicchioli?
Maria accepted a short story I wrote called “Notes on the Crypt
and Bones of Clive Church” (although the story appeared in
Horror Bound Magazine as “That Which Is Hidden”). She
accepted the story the very day I submitted it, and went on to
publish a few more of my stories. She was a wonderful editor
to work with. She really supported and encouraged new
writers, and through Horror Bound Magazine gave them an
opportunity to be read. As a writer struggling to find a
foothold I really appreciated that, so when she asked me to be
an associate editor at Horror Bound I leapt at the chance. When
she asked me to co-edit Fear of the Dark I didn’t think twice. It
was an amazing experience – really my first glimpse inside the
wonderful world of editing.
You and Maria did a phenomenal job selecting the stories and
editing the anthology – it’s very slick – the kind of book where
I couldn’t wait to read the next story. What is your process
when you’re editing together a collection of short fiction?
Thanks! I can’t speak for Graz, but I personally think the
stories that made our final cut actually selected themselves.
The quality of the stories and the professionalism of the
writers really made the decision-making process an easy one.
We knew exactly what we wanted before reading a single
submission, so that when we saw something that met our
shared vision we recognized it right away.
The process was fairly straightforward. Maria would send a
group of submissions my way. I read each story twice (or
more), first to capture my gut reaction to the story, and second
to judge it based on our overall vision for the anthology. I
marked each submission either “yes” or “no” and sent it back
to Maria with an explanation as to why I felt it did, or did not,
work for us. I don’t think we debated any of them. As I said, I
think the stories that made the final cut selected themselves.
We just recognized them for what they were – excellent stories
by very talented writers!
Please tell me about some of the upcoming projects you have
on the go.
I am currently guest-editing the spring issue of an online
magazine called Sein und Werden. The theme I chose for this
particular issue was the Oulipo - l’Ouvroir de Littérature
Potentielle - a group of writers and mathematicians
determined to learn how abstract restrictions can be combined
with creative writing in order to unlock literature’s truest
potential. Rather than inspiration, or experience, or even self-
expression, they view creative writing as an exercise in
constraint. I challenged would-be contributors to apply at least
one Oulipian-style constraint to their work. I’ve been very
pleased with the results. I’ve had contributions from writers
I’ve never read before, and from writers and artists I really
admire! The spring issue of Sein und Werden will appear online
soon. Later this year I hope to see an expanded version in
I have three personal projects on the go. One currently
searching for a home is an anthology inspired by Frederick
Rolfe (Baron Corvo) and featuring the work of writers I
absolutely love! I am also (slowly) assembling a collection of
my absurdist short fiction, and wrapping up the latest (and
hopefully last) draft of an odd novel about Franz Joseph Haydn.
To be honest, I have next to no time for writing, so when I say
“wrapping” up I really mean “it should be ready sometime in
the next 1-2 years! I don’t write for a living – I write because
its fun and I enjoy it. I suppose I’m a recreational author, so
my own writing gets done when it gets done.
That being said, I do hope to find a home for my absurd
collection this year!
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Short stories featured in this anthology and excerpts featured on this website are © their respective author. Horror Bound logo © Michael Brennan.
Lurking in the shadows: Fear of the Dark
- edited by Maria Grazia Cavicchioli &
Jason Rolfe - 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”
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