The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Em Dehaney
Stacey – Hi, it’s great to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?
Em – I’m from the UK, I was born in a riverside town called Gravesend but now I live out in the country with my husband and two kids (no pets, other than fish).
Stacey – When did you start writing?
Em – I’ve always written. When I was little and people asked me what I wanted to be when I was older, I always said “author”. It’s only in the last four years, since my son was born, that I started to take it seriously and try to get things published.
Stacey – What genres do you write in and what drew you to them?
Em – I don’t really like to be pinned down to one genre, on what I write or what I read. It’s mainly a mixture of horror, historical and dark/urban fantasy. I guess I like the dark, the weird, the magical and the supernatural.
Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?
Em – When a story is finished! Also, when someone reads my work and likes it. There is no better feeling for a writer than getting a message out of the blue from someone (other than your mum or your best friend, they have to say they like it) saying they thought your story was cool.
Stacey – What scares you?
Em – In terms of typical “horror”, I have had a werewolf fear since I watched An American Werewolf in London when I was far too young. My real-life fear is anything bad happening to my kids. I’m also not a fan of flying, which is a real pain because I love travelling.
Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?
Em – I get a lot of inspiration from local history, but I’m like a magpie, picking up little titbits all the time that I can fit into my stories.
Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?
Em – Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, the Poppy Z. Brite books by Billy Martin, Angela Carter, Stoker, Lovecraft, Ben Aronovitch, Roald Dahl,
Stacey – What’s your writing process like?
Em – Undisciplined! I have two young children so I have to cram my writing time on whenever and wherever I can.
Stacey – What was the first story you had published?
Em – It was actually a poem called Here We Come A Wassailing, in the 2016 Burdizzo Books 12Days Anthology. It was through this that I met Matthew Cash and became his partner in crime at Burdizzo. We now release a few anthologies a year, with stories from our favourite writers who we like to call our Burdizzo Family, as well as our own novels and short stories. We like to support new and diverse writers.
Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?
Em – I have a real soft spot for Mikey, the main character in my story The Mermaid’s Purse. He is a kid with a hard life, an abusive mother and no friends. Things change for Mikey when he finds a baby shark on a trip to the beach, and his life is never the same again. His story can be found in my collection Food of The Gods. I would really like to pick up Mikey’s story as an adult, I’m intrigued to see where he ends up after the events of The Mermaid’s Purse.
Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?
Em – The first time I tried to read Stephen King’s The Shining, when I was about 11 or 12, I had to stop reading. The Overlook Hotel was too much for me back then, but I did go back to it and finish it as an adult. Nowadays, I am quite ruthless with books. I don’t have a huge amount of time to read, so what I do read has to grip me. If I lose interest in a book early on, I tend to give up and move on to the next one. My TBR pile is massive, as is often the case with authors.
Stacey – What’s the last Horror movie/tv show you watched?
Em – I’m loving zombie comedy The Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix. I’ve been catching up on a lot of horror films from around the world that I’ve missed over the last few years, and I really enjoyed the Canadian film Pontypool and Finnish Christmas horror Rare Exports.
Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?
Em – I’d love to know the real identity of Jack The Ripper, and to see how his murders were investigated. I used to work in a police Serious Crime Department, so the failures of the Police in this case interest me greatly. What could they have done better? Why did they never catch the killer? Was there some great cover-up or conspiracy?
Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?
Em – Never give up. Write as much as you can. Try and finish a story before moving onto the next one (this is a lot harder than it sounds). When I first started writing I joined the site Scribophile, where you post your writing and get it critiqued by other writers, and you in turn critique the work of others. It was a great place to improve my craft, and get used to taking critique. As a writer you need to develop quite a thick skin and get used to rejection, but if you love writing, it is all worth it.
Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?
Em – This is the opening paragraph from my latest release, After Us.
“The dead never stayed buried in New Orleans. The rich built houses to store their cold ones when the end came, to stop the tide of bones. But not everyone can afford a mausoleum. The poor had to place their dead lovingly into the damp earth. Bodies interred below sea level had a habit of reappearing whenever Lake Pontchartrain flooded. Coffins would poke through the sodden earth and embalming fluid flowed through the streets like blood.
No, the dead never stayed buried in New Orleans.”
Thank you so much for your time Em! If you would like to find out more, about Em or her work, check out the links below.
A perfect corpse floats forever in a watery grave.
A gang member takes a terrifying trip to the seaside.
A deserted cross-channel ferry that serves only the finest Slovakian wines.
From the dark and decadent mind of Em Dehaney come eight tales of seafoam secrets and sweet treats. Nothing is quite what it seems, but everything is delicious.
This is Food of The Gods.
The dead never stayed buried in New Orleans.
After Us, The Flood is a nightmare tale set amongst the drowned buildings of Hurricane Katrina.