The Horror Tree Presents – An Interview with Nicholas Bowling
By: Ruschelle Dillon
Ruschelle: I’m here sitting on the thickest branch of the Horror Tree hoping you’re not looking for a new log for the Log Lady from Twin Peaks. This tree is haunted and off limits. Speaking of Twin Peaks, your most recent work, The Follower, which dropped July 20th, 2021 is described as Twin Peaks meets Welcome to Night Vale. Could you give us a little taste of how The Follower conjures both the strange Twin Peaks and Welcome to the Night Vale?
Nicholas: Well. I wasn’t consciously channeling Twin Peaks, but tonally it shares quite a lot, I think. I like to create feeling in my (adult) books where the world just feels a bit out-of-joint – a sense of unease or menace beneath the surface of things that can’t quite be articulated. I like to wrongfoot the reader, too, in terms of tone and genre. I want them to feel unsure of how they should react to a certain scene or character. Absurdity is good for that. It allows you turn something funny into something violent or upsetting very quickly. David Lynch is obviously the master of this, but I think it also comes from my general experience of the world. It’s a very odd place, and people are very odd, and we’re all involved in a kind of group delusion that it’s anything other than that. Normality is a fiction that barely holds together most of the time. Also: The Follower has a peak. But just one.
As for Night Vale – I wasn’t even aware of it until my publisher told me it was in the same neighbourhood as The Follower. But I’ll get on it.