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I asked Aaron Polson, author of the forthcoming short story collection, The Saints Are Dead, a few questions about the book and his writing. Polson is the author of many titles, including Loathsome, Dark & Deep; The Bottom Feeders & Other Stories; The House Eaters; and We Are the Monsters. The formal bio: Aaron Polson is a member of the Horror Writers Association and currently lives 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.  His stories have featured magic goldfish, monstrous beetles, and a book of lullabies for baby vampires along with other oddities.  Visit his website at aaronpolson.blogspot.com.

CR: Could you talk a little bit about how your collection, The Saints Are Dead, came to be?

AP: The Saints are Dead came to be after I’d published a number of short stories and realized I was coloring with the same crayons.  Each story in the collection is different, but a similar vibe lurks in all of them. I once called the vibe “dark magical realism”; I’m not sure it’s the most accurate term, but it works.  These are my personal favorites, the stories I enjoyed reading over and over―even after several editing passes on my own and again when preparing and editing for the collection.

CR: How is The Saints Are Dead different from your other published works?

AP: I usually write fairly straightforward horror or my own brand of “emotional horror”―stories in which a character’s realization about a horrible truth is the big payoff at the climax.  While a few pieces in The Saints are Dead share these motifs, this isn’t strictly a horror collection. The Saints are Dead is the real world tilted by fifteen degrees and painted a different shade.  Sometimes, the tilt creates extra shadows.  Sometimes it brings wind-up rabbits to life. The Saints are Dead gives a reader the whole amusement park: bumper cars, tilt-a-whirl, and the haunted house.

CR: What motivates you as a writer?

AP: Readers motivate me.  I love to tell stories and surprise readers.  The great British horror writer Ramsey Campbell has said (and I’m sure he’s not the first) he is motivated by the belief his best story is yet to come.  Every time a new idea germinates, I tell myself, “this could be the one.”  As long as readers will listen, I’ll keep working on my next story.

CR: Are you currently working on any projects and if so, what?

AP: I’m currently revising a young adult novel involving ghosts who borrow the bodies of the living. No sparkling vampires―or vampires at all, I’m afraid.  I’m also participating in a rather insane project to follow in the footsteps of Ray Bradbury when he was young and submitting to pulp magazines, writing and submitting one story a week all year.  So far, so good, but I had to “write ahead” in order to give my stories proper wait time before revising.  I firmly believe a story needs a little time on the shelf, just like wine.

And there you have it. Check out the details on The Saints Are Dead at http://www.aqueousbooks.com/authors_events.htm

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Speaking of American filmmakers, over at Fearnet.com, Mick Garris hosts a series of very enjoyable interviews with prominent horror filmmakers, including Roger Corman, John Landis, John Carpenter and Wes Craven.  Now, I know not everybody enjoys horror movies, and you freaks are excused from further reading, but the series “Post Mortem with Mick Garris” is worth a look.

The best of the interviews is a five-parter with Wes Craven (most famous for “A Nightmare on Elm Street”) as he talks about his transition from  Midwest academic to his early days in 1970s New York City, and discusses his thoughts on the role the horror genre plays in popular American culture.

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