Hello, folks. Thank you for joining me for another author interview. Today I am joined by Shadows at the Door author M. Regan.
When did you first fall in love with the horror genre?
I think it was more of a “gradual descent” than a “fall.” I actually hated horror as a child! But as I got older and began to prefer stories with more substance— with meat and bones, shall we say— I realized that my favorite parts in fantasies and romances were when things took a turn for the morbid. It took a while for me to understand that “horror” could mean more than gratuitous gore and jump scares, but after I had that epiphany, I became far more intrigued by the genre.
Which subgenre/s of horror would you say your work falls into?
I would say my writing is more along the lines of “dark fiction.” I have a weakness for the gothic, the paranormal, and the supernatural, and have a hard time saying “no” to Faustian contracts.
What is it about the horror genre that appeals to you as a reader and as a writer?
In high school, a friend of mine lent me a copy of Jhonen Vasquez’s cult classic, “Johnny the Homicidal Maniac.” It was a surprisingly deep read, but one of the things I remember most vividly about the comic was its forward. In it, the argument was made that everyone has a little monster inside of them, one that survives on our most depraved thoughts and our strangest fantasies. That little monster is an important part of who we are, and it needs to be fed. It is when we ignore or repress our monsters that they escape into reality, and do those terrible things that we hear about real life monsters doing. It’s a roundabout answer, but to me, I think that’s one of the main draws of horror: The idea of keeping our monsters satiated. There is safety in our ability to explore the worst of ourselves and the world around us on the printed page; imagine how much nicer things would be if we could keep everyone’s monsters contained.
What are some of your favorite horror stories?
I tend to get my horror fix from manga and anime. Some of my recent favorites are “Madoka Magica,” “Black Butler,” “Neuro,” and “Mononoke.” I loved how dark “InuYasha” could get, too, and the implications of series like “Hell Girl.” I also recommend the indie film “Lo,” and have enjoyed more mainstream shows like “Hannibal.”
Do you remember being scared by a particular story growing up?
I was scared of so many stories! An old TV special left me terrified of ventriloquist dummies; I was convinced I might find one hiding in my closet. I couldn’t drink lime Kool-Aid after seeing a Goosebumps cover that involved slime. And I was so frightened by a story my friend told me about a killer doll that my mother had to give away the porcelain dolls my grandmother left me. She wasn’t too thrilled about that.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve loved telling stories since I was old enough to string two words together, but I first began to seriously consider being a writer after getting into fanfiction. Nothing made me happier than receiving a review from someone telling me how much fun they’d had reading my work. Really, I just enjoy entertaining people.
Are there any writers who have particularly influenced you?
Like most writers of my generation, J.K. Rowling was a huge influence. So was Johnathan Stroud and Philp Pullman. J. I. Radke is a new author whose stories has inspired me in more recent years. Though I think I learned the most about my own aesthetics and favored themes through the work of Yana Toboso and Daisuke Moriyama.
Tell us a bit about your previous writing work.
The grand majority of my writing experience has thus far been through fanfiction, though I have also been employed as a localization professional for Crunchyroll.com, and have worked for the nationally syndicated high school newspaper, “Student Paths.” 2015 saw my work featured in two other fiction anthologies, as well: Flame Tree Press’ “Chilling Ghost Short Stories,” and Lethe Press’ “The Myriad Carnival.”
How do you feel about being part of the Shadows at the Door anthology?
I am very, very excited! So many talented people have come together to create this anthology; to have been offered a chance to work with them is both thrilling and humbling.
Are you working on anything else at the moment?
I am always working on something! But no one likes spoilers.
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