Yesterday I was lucky enough to interview a great horror writer; Ania Ahlborn! Author of the debut novel Seed!
Here we go!
Okay so we know you’re a horror author, but why did you choose that genre?
I like to think that the genre chose me, not the other way around. I’ve always been drawn to the darker things in life. Even as a little girl, I was more interested in things that went bump in the night than, well… things little girls are into. Don’t get me wrong, I was afraid of things that went bump in the night; I didn’t sleep with the lights off for what seemed like years after I watched The Exorcist. And yet here I am, writing horror. It seems that horror has been pulling me toward it since I was a child.
What made you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Writing has always been something I enjoyed. I discovered writing when I was nine or ten, and I knew I had a knack for it–but to say I decided to be a writer at that age is pretty silly. I had no idea what I wanted to be, let alone what I was going to wear the next day. I think I really decided I wanted writing to be my career my freshman year of college. My major was psychology, and I was enjoying it quite a bit until one of my instructors said something that turned my stomach. He said that in psychology, you legally couldn’t ‘help’ anyone–psychology was all about getting the person to help themselves. That sat really badly with me, and a week or two later I visited my adviser to switch my major from psych to English. That little push assured me that I was trying to resist something that I shouldn’t have been resisting. I was a writer. There was no use hiding from it.
You’re a published author now. How hard was it to get to where you are?
I’m published, but that in no way means I’m making a living off of what I’m doing–at least not yet. My journey has been a long one. It’s been nearly fifteen years since I sent out my first query letter. I tried the traditional publishing route over and over only to be beaten down and rejected, but I can’t say I’m sorry it happened. Without the experiences I’ve gone through, I doubt I would have ever written Seed. I wouldn’t be as driven, and I certainly wouldn’t be as independent as I am when it comes to publishing. Swallowing all those rejections kills some people’s spirit, but it just made me that much more defiant. I’m of the opinion that nobody can tell me what I can and can’t write, and with Seed’s relative success, I’ve only assured myself that I can do this. It’s been a hard uphill battle, and I still struggle with moments of self-doubt, but I’ve taught myself to sit down, shut up, and write… the rest will come in due time.
Your first book was released recently. Can you give us more details as to what it’s about?
Seed is a novel about a rural Louisiana family. Upon coming home from little Charlie’s sixth birthday party at a pizza place, the Winter’s get into a near-fatal car accident. After the accident, Charlie’s sweet demeanor starts to shift and her father, Jack, knows all too well what’s going on. He begins to relive his own childhood nightmares as he watches his little girl transform into a stranger.
Seed is subtle horror. It verges on psychological, and it’s a throwback to the good old days when not all horror was zombies and vampires. It’s deeply rooted in place and family, and it’s character driven. It’s a bit like The Exorcist meeting The Omen, but rather than spinning heads and pea soup, you’re forced to watch a deliberately slow transformation of an innocent child into something monstrous.
What has been the most rewarding part of your writing career so far?
My first reward was when Seed actually went live. Those first few days were amazing because so many of my friends, be it from Twitter or Facebook, really banded together to support me. For the first few days I had incredible sales, and it was all because these wonderful people wanted me to succeed. That was an amazing feeling, and I’ll be forever grateful for their support.
The second best part of this whole experience has been listening to people’s reactions to the book. The reviews have been stellar–better than I could have ever hoped, and as I write this response Seed is ranked #10 on the Kindle Top Rated Books in the horror/occult category. I try not to pride myself too much on rank because it’s ever-changing, but it’s a pretty fantastic feeling to know that the people who are reading Seed are loving it as much as they are. There’s pressure with that, of course… but it’s been great.
What has been the least rewarding?
I wouldn’t say that there’s been one particular thing that’s been least rewarding, but there have been some disappointments, some things that have been hard to come to terms with. When you publish your first book, you expect that everyone will be supportive and excited for you, but that isn’t the case. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but you turn the other cheek and move on.
Do you have any plans of writing a sequel to Seed or is your next book going in a different direction?
There will be no sequel. I think it would be easy to write one, but I’m not a fan of series. I feel like authors today do too many series books and not enough stand-alone novels. Stand-alones are harder. You have to start from square one each time. You don’t have pre-established characters, there’s no formula you follow for each book. I may do a series one day, but at the moment it isn’t something that interests me.
My next project is completely different from Seed. It’s even more subtle, even more heavily rooted in character and back story. I’m a little nervous about it because the vibe is quite different from Seed. Seed is dark and gritty, this next work feels more airy, more prim… but there’s a method to my madness. I just hope it’s as well-received as Seed has been.
If you could change one aspect of your past what would it be?
I don’t believe in changing things about my past. To do so is to erase the present me.
If you were to set a goal for your future what would it be?
My goal is to stay on task and write two novels a year until I have enough funds rolling in to quit my present job and do this full time. It would be a long-time dream come true.
And finally who is your favourite horror icon?
That would have to be Jack Torrence from The Shining. Talk about the quintessential psychopath. I love the slow build, the subtle changes in Jack as he shifts from father and husband to raging lunatic. It’s perfect because it’s plausible, and I love plausible. Plausible is one of my favorite things
Great right? See below for more info on Seed and Ania!
Click on an image for more details
Want to see a cool promo trailer? Here it is!
Want to know about Ania Ahlborn – I got that too. Check it out below!
Born in Ciechanow Poland, Ania has always been drawn to the darker, mysterious, and sometimes morbid sides of life. Her earliest childhood memory is of crawling through a hole in the chain link fence that separated her family home from the large wooded cemetery next door. She’d spend hours among the headstones, breaking up bouquets of silk flowers so that everyone had their equal share.
Beyond writing, Ania enjoys gourmet cooking, baking, movies, drawing, and traveling. She currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband and two dogs, Beau the Scottie and Galaxy the Yorkie.
Learn more about Ania on her site, www.AniaAhlborn.com, where you can sign up for a direct-from-the-author newsletter on new releases, promos, and more.
Want to connect?
Follow Ania on Twitter @aniaahlborn
or Facebook at www.facebook.com/aniaahlbornauthor.