Today I have an interview with Kaaron Warren, author of fiction in all sorts of lengths and all shades of horrific.
You’ve hit the nail on the head when you talk about ‘layers’. This is exactly what it is. It’s about seeking further meaning in these stories, and about bringing the story and the characters to life. An early inspiration in my writing is Queen Scheherazade. I loved A Thousand and One Nights from a young age. Another is Life; a User’s Manual by George Perec, a wonderful novel full of details and stories within stories within stories. I love to know the story behind the story. The story beneath the story. The details, the nitty gritty. I love to follow a story trail till it comes to an end.
The Solace of Saint Theresa, about a woman who knows how you’re going to die by the ghosts who haunt you. She doesn’t trust the ghosts, though, because she doesn’t always understand them. When she discovers a place called the Grief Hole, where teenagers go to die, she finally understands she needs to work with the ghosts in order to be the Saint she so clearly wants to be.
The Keeper of Truth, a re-imagining of my short story “The Lighthouse Keeper’s Club”, where the worst criminals are given the choice of a death sentence, or eternal life. The question is, “Who would you send to the Tower?”
The Underhistory, the novel I’ve just embarked on through a Fellowship with Old Parliament House. At heart, it’s inspired by art, Australian Prime Ministers, and the victims of John Glover, the Granny Killer.
You write a lot of short stories as well. What to your mind are the pros and cons of the novel versus the short story or novella forms?
Short stories and novels and novellas are all so different.
A short story can have a single focus. You can play with a single idea (a photographer who can momentarily reanimate the dead, for example) and make that shine. You need layered characters, plot and meaning, but you can have that idea as the central point; the core of the story.
A novel needs more beyond that central idea, and must explore many angles. With a novel, you can look into the story behind the story and follow many paths. A short story needs to stay more focussed.
A novella is a glorious combination of the best of both worlds!
Why horror? What compels you to write creepy/scary/disturbing stories?
Quite honestly, these are the stories that present themselves. The ideas that pop into my head. This is the way I interpret the news, the way I incorporate nightmares and the way I try to make sense of a world that can be terrifying.
The truth I imagine is not always pleasant.
Thank-you Kaaron for taking the time to answer my questions!