Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Blooming Author: Aaron Polson!

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” ~ George Sheehan

Aaron Polson is a horror writer who has three books coming out. The House Eaters will be available from Virtual Tales in 2010; Loathsome, Dark, and Deep will be available from Belfire Press in November, 2010; and The Saints Are Dead will be available early 2011.

You have a lot of books coming out soon! Tell us about them. What are they about and where will they be available?

The House Eaters is a YA dark fantasy set in a fictional small town in Kansas.  The narrator’s family is forced to move when his mother loses her job in Kansas City.  Unfortunately, they move into a neighborhood plagued by an ancient, Native American “eating monster.”  Nick (the narrator) has a few romantic entanglements to sort through on the way to putting the monster to rest.

Loathsome, Dark, and Deep chronicles the journey of a Civil War veteran and employee of a lumber company as he travels up the Lewis River (in Oregon) to uncover a mysterious stoppage of wood from the mountain camps.  The narrative is a little heavier than The House Eaters, and features what I once called “Steampunk Zombies” on my blog.  They aren’t really zombies, of course, but I won’t spoil anything for potential readers.  I found some inspiration for the initial part of the book in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, but it quickly took on a life of its own.

Finally, The Saints are Dead is a collection of previously published and original short fiction, all written in a style I like to call “dark magical realism.”  Among the eighteen stories are nominees for storySouth’s Million Writers Award (one story making the short list) and a “Recommended Read” from Tangent Online.  Enchanted goldfish, secret backyard cities, library-dwelling monsters, and magic playgrounds all have a place in the book.

Each will be available in paperback through several online retailers (, Barnes and Noble, etc.), and through Ingram to traditional, brick and mortar booksellers.  The novels will also be available as ebooks.

What were your inspirations for these books? What sorts of thing inspire you as a writer in general?

I’m inspired by the magic question: “What if?”
What if the goldfish my best friend dumped in the river as a kid grew to ridiculous size?
What if gold-hungry loggers in the 1800s discovered a way to control human behavior?
What if there really was something which lived in my basement, and it was hungry?
I’m also inspired, in general, by trying to think of the world in a different way each day.

What is your writing process? How do you approach a story, do you start with outlines or something else?

I write every day, even if I eventually scrap what I’ve set on digital paper.  I do most of my work in my basement, but we have a trusty old laptop that serves well in a pinch. As for outlining, the most important thing (for me) is to have an ending in mind.  At least I know where I’m heading—the general direction of a narrative.  If all those “what ifs” along the way add to something different, so be it.  A basic skeleton isn’t a bad idea, but I have to be flexible or I’ll write myself in a corner.

Where did you work when writing? Do you think it was the optimal writing environment for you?

As I stated in #3, I usually write in the basement—a room I call (somewhat ironically) the “Man Cave”.  It isn’t a very “manly” space at all.  The walls are lilac.  A picture of St. John the Evangelist from the Book of the Kells hangs on one wall.  My children (Owen, 6 and Max, 4) have plenty of paintings on the other walls.  But I need relative calm to actually lose myself in the process.  Music helps, too.  I usually choose one album for each book and listen to it on repeat.  Often, this album is ambient—for Loathsome, Dark, and Deep it was Stalker by Robert Rich and B. Lustmord.

Tell us about your "story of getting published." How long did you submit before you were accepted? How did it feel to get accepted?

Funny, my first acceptance for a short story came on a Saturday morning after I’d submitted on Friday.  Granted, I’d been subbing for six or seven months at that point…

I received a number of agent rejections with The House Eaters, including one rewrite request, before going with a small press.  I went straight to the small press with Loathsome and The Saints are Dead.  Small presses are leaner beasts, and in my experience, are more willing to take chances on material that might not be as widely marketable.  Major publishers have “big mouths” to feed.

What are the publicity plans you have coming up?

I’ll be giving things away, of course.  Signed books, homemade chapbooks with original fiction, other fun stuff.  I’m working on trailers for each book this summer; I enjoy tinkering with video, so it’s been fun.  Fire features prominently in both novels, so I’ve even considered doing a book burning contest. Crazy publicity grab or act of genius?  I don’t know.  But I do teach Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury’s classic about censorship and burning books, in my day job.

Keep in touch with Aaron on his blog or on twitter.

Check out Aaron's writing in the short story collection "Fifty-Two Stitches: Horror Stories (Volume 1)."

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful interview, and insightful is the word that pops up! I love to hear the process that other writers go through.
    Best wishes to Aaron, and thank you, Sue, for asking such great questions!
    I'm tweeting this one!