Sunday, July 22, 2012

Interview with Ania Ahlborn - July 21, 2012

Please welcome Ania Ahlborn to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Seed was published on July 17, 2012.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Ania:  I think my most interesting quirk is more of an inspiration thing rather than an actual writing thing. I find more inspiration in film and photographs than I do in books. That isn't to say that I don't read--of course I do. But I'm a very visual person. My muse is stirred by visual cues far more than written ones. I'm the first to admit it's pretty weird.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Ania:  In horror specifically, Stephen King. I was especially wowed by his recent release Full Dark, No Stars. Though, it was Anne Rice who introduced me to the dark side when I was younger. There was a time when I was obsessed with Lestat and vampires in general. In high school and college, I was particularly keen on Brett Easton Ellis--his fast pace and grit is something that's never left me; and Poppy Z. Brite--Brite has some fantastic visuals in her novels that toe the line between dark and heartbreaking.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Ania:  I'm a plantser. I plot, but it's a loosey goosey outline--a rough roadmap of where I need to go. But once I start writing, I allow my characters to take the wheel, and oftentimes I find myself in places I never expected to be.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Ania:  Allowing the story to take shape on its own; not forcing it to go one way or another. It's scary to let a novel develop organically, but once it happens, it becomes a bit of an addiction.

TQ:  Describe Seed in 140 characters or less.

Ania:  Seed is a novel about a man running from his past, only to have his dark secret come back not just for him, but for his entire family.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Seed?

Ania:  My own childhood fears. When I was young I made the mistake of sitting down and watching The Exorcist. It was just me and my cousin, and while I'm not sure whether it scared her as much as it scared me, I couldn't sleep for months. Demonic possession became a bit of a hidden phobia, but it was also a source of endless fascination. When I was older I started getting into books and movies about possession. At first they scared the hell out of me, but the older I got the more I wanted to see. I started feeling like every book and movie backed down too soon, they didn't push the envelope. When I finally got up the nerve, Seed came to be. And the ending is pretty relentless.

TQ Seed was originally self-published. Have any changes been made to the novel now that it is being published by 47North?

Ania:  Actually, yes. The plot has been tightened as well as expanded. I've added over six thousand words of material to the re-release. This was completely my decision--47North was happy with the manuscript as it was; but with a professional editor at my disposal, I was more than happy to reevaluate the story and clear up a few unanswered questions.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Seed?

Ania:  The novel is based in rural Louisiana, and while I've never lived in the South, I did visit Louisiana a few years prior to writing Seed. I'm madly in love with the South, so it was a lot of fun recreating that eerie atmosphere in the book.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Ania:  I think Charlie was probably the easiest. There's a lot going on with her in the book, but at the end of the day she's just a kid. I loved writing her spunky dialogue. The most difficult was Jack, simply because he has so much backstory that has to be carefully woven in to the present. Jack is an extremely dark character disguised as an everyday guy, so to get that across to the reader while still making him likeable and relatable was a challenge.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Seed?

Ania:  I love the scene where Aimee is home alone with Nubs, the family dog. The isolation of that scene, paired with her fear, really resonates with me. I think various scenes where Reagan is present brings a lot out in Jack, so I like those because they're such character-building moments. But I think my favorite scene in the entire novel is one out of Jack's childhood--where his mother is cooking while Jack is trying to watch cartoons, slowly boiling to a rage while she sings over his theme songs. The end of that scene always makes me grin like an idiot... probably because it's so damn evil.

TQ:  What's next?

Ania:  Where to start? My second novel, The Neighbors, is being released by Thomas & Mercer this Thanksgiving. That one is more of a dark thriller rather than strictly horror. It's a story about a guy who moves into the home of an old childhood friend after he has a fallout with his alcoholic mother. Down and out, he strikes up a friendship with a charming pair of neighbors who end up being far more sinister than they appear. I've already completed my third novel, which is currently titled Into The Woods. It's kind of a throwback to classic monster horror with a contemporary twist. The plot to the fourth book is already alive and squirming inside my head. I'm going to start banging that one out any day now. It's never-ending with me. Something new is always in the works.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Ania:  Thanks so much for having me. It's been great.

About Seed

47North, July 17, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 250 pages

With nothing but the clothes on his back—and something horrific snapping at his heels—Jack Winter fled his rural Georgia home when he was still just a boy. Watching the world he knew vanish in a trucker’s rearview mirror, he thought he was leaving an unspeakable nightmare behind forever. But years later, the bright new future he’s built suddenly turns pitch black, as something fiendishly familiar looms dead ahead.

When Jack, his wife Aimee, and their two small children survive a violent car crash, it seems like a miracle. But Jack knows what he saw on the road that night, and it wasn’t divine intervention. The profound evil from his past won’t let them die…at least not quickly. It’s back, and it’s hungry; ready to make Jack pay for running, to work its malignant magic on his angelic youngest daughter, and to whisper a chilling promise: I’ve always been here, and I’ll never leave.

Country comfort is no match for spine-tingling Southern gothic suspense in Ania Ahlborn’s tale of an ordinary man with a demon on his back. Seed plants its page-turning terror deep in your soul, and lets it grow wild.

About Ania

Born in Ciechanow Poland, Ania has always been drawn to the darker, mysterious, and sometimes morbid side 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.

At age eleven, Ania discovered her love of writing during a sweltering New Mexico summer. Writing a story with her cousin, in tandem, she hasn't been able to shake the writing bug since.

Ania lives in New Mexico with her husband and two dogs.

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