Get to know a real-life Monsters contributor! Read our interview with Edward Ahern, the author of “Proof of Evil”, which was featured in our recent episode, RITUAL.
“Proof of Evil” is a subtle portrait of hidden malevolence in a monastery. What inspired this piece?
For better or worse I have a swamp gas mind, and story ideas ooze up indiscriminately. Having said that, I just realized that several of my stories deal with evil's attraction to proximity to God- that those who devote their lives to a belief are more prone to temptation and torment.
How do you connect with the theme of RITUAL? Are rituals important to you?
I'm a practicing if sometimes questioning Catholic, and ritual is ingrained.
How did you get into horror? What do you enjoy in the genre? What scares you?
Nobody supervised my early reading, and I devoured horror and fantasy novels and stories, including the Gothic classics. From there, once I unleashed my urge to write, horror stories came easily. I also write literary poetry and fiction, but horror is a deep groove for me. Not sure what still scares me, I find myself siding more and more with the monsters.
You are one of our rare contributors with a significant collection of published works. What does your writing process look like?
I churn out a couple poems and a story or two every month, and am working on a novel. So I write something just about every day. I also chronically revise pieces, including those already published, so there are slightly differing versions of my stuff in existence.
How does identity play a role in your writing?
I try and vary my writing voice and perspective with each piece, but suspect that those familiar with my style and kinks would know it was me whether or not I signed the piece. Writing women is more difficult for me, and I usually ask women writers to critique and de-bullshit my piece.
What was it like for you to record your own piece?
This was only the second time I'd recorded one of my stories, so I made lots of mistakes which had to be corrected. I enjoy reading my poetry and fiction aloud, so wasn't timid about it, just initially clumsy. I appreciate the chance to hone my craft.
How do you reconcile evocative horror with positive representation of the LGBTQ community?
Horror fiction frequently is stuck in reader adolescence, especially the hack and slash varieties. To write a story where gay men aren't caricatures or tropes was enjoyable, and hopefully generally interesting.
What’s next for you, creatively?
Get out of first gear on the novel and finish it. But having said that I'm constantly seduced by ideas for poems and short fiction, and usually stray.
Any great horror recommendations?
All my horror stories, of course. The HWA (I'm a member) is a good way to get recommendations for reading. They make awards each year of the best of horror, and provide lists for possible reading. And then there's my novella "The Witches' Bane" available on Amazon and elsewhere, about, guess what, a defrocked priest.