The Horror Tree Presents: Author Interview – Andrew Najberg

The Horror Tree Presents: Author Interview – Andrew Najberg


Andrew Najberg enjoyed a successful 2023 with not one but two outstanding novels from Wicked House Publishing, Gollitok and The Mobius Door.

Released in November, Gollitok earned Amazon’s coveted #1 New Release banner in the Occult Supernatural category. Set in post-nuclear Eastern Europe, Gollitok follows a government official as he joins a survey team to inspect the report of a disturbance at the abandoned Gollitok prison. The Mobius Door, released in April, is a novel of supernatural terror about dark forces freed by a curious young boy who opens a one-sided door in the woods.

The year 2024 is also shaping up to be another banner year for Najberg with two more major releases, The Neverborn Thief, a novel from Olive-Ridley Press; and In Those Fading Stars, a collection of short fiction from Crystal Lake Publishing.

Najberg, a teacher for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a senior editor for Symposeum magazine, agreed to an exclusive email interview with Lionel Ray Green for The Horror Tree.

“Horror Tree was actually a huge place in getting me into the modern horror market,” Najberg said.

LIONEL: Reading Gollitok, I felt like a nervous passenger on a steamer to Skull Island because your writing is so descriptive with a classic style. What specifically were the influences or inspirations for the idea of Gollitok?


ANDREW: There’s a short story by Anton Chekhov called “Easter Night” wherein a man converses with a ferryman as they traverse a river to a cathedral which directly inspired the opening scene – the first thing I wrote regarding the novel. Beyond that, Kafka’s The Trial heavily informed underlying themes. Brogden and The Bureau were shaped by a dinner with my very Slavic uncle-in-law twentyish years ago and Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. In addition, Vandermeer’s Annihilation and Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police offered fundamental influences as did my two favorite films, The Thing and Alien.


LIONEL: Gollitok is set in a post-nuclear world, but it is also a slow burn novel building up dread every step of the way. It’s like the anticipation of the horror was as important to you as the confrontation of it. Is that an accurate statement?


ANDREW: I wrote the primary draft from December 2020 to April 2021. Writing Gollitok channeled the dread that I thought characterized the year that coined the term “doom-scrolling.” The most powerful fears lie beyond the edges of vision because our imagination is more in tune with what frightens than an author can ever be. About pacing, my goal was for readers to realize while reading that they hadn’t known they’d grown uncomfortable. That’s the way the insidious moments in life often work – you’re cruising along until you look around and realize you’re in a place you’d never want to be.


LIONEL: The Mobius Door jumps right into the action as a middle-school boy opens a free-standing door in the middle of the woods and releases the darkness within at the start. Where did you get the idea for that horrific door and its sentient darkness?


ANDREW: There was a park on the edge of Nashua, New Hampshire, where I used to play as a kid. Stuart in the opening chapter is 100 percent 12-or-13-year-old me down to a mention of my favorite ice cream shop. I’d always hoped to find something mysterious or wild when I went exploring – a door, a cave, a space-time vortex. Even as a kid, I didn’t always survive the stories I made up – and an implacably expanding, destructive force (The Nothing, The Blob, Area X) is something that frightened me even back then.


LIONEL: Your next novel is The Neverborn Thief, coming in 2024? Can you give us a little info on what it’s about? 


ANDREW: The Neverborn Thief is about a young boy named Connor who awakens in the middle of the night to discover his shadow is being stolen, and, with it, part of his soul. He pursues the thief into a dark otherworld called The Shadowlands to recover it. It’s a dark fantasy adventure due out late March.


LIONEL: You’re also an accomplished poet (The Goats Have Taken Over the Barracks) and short story writer. Which one gives you the most satisfaction – writing a novel, a poem, or a short story?


ANDREW: I have the most fun writing short stories because they usually start out as “play.” Poems more often emerge when I think about family. Otherwise, I have few hard boundaries. I explore whatever way of doing best serves the ideas I’m engaged by.


LIONEL: You’re an author of speculative fiction, but do you consider yourself primarily a horror author because your work crosses a variety of genres?


ANDREW: Honestly, I write where the ideas are – where I’m passionate to explore. In all likelihood, dark/bad things will continue happening in my stories – but otherwise, Mobius is mostly horror, Gollitok a bit more science fiction. The book I’m working on now is set in space, and Neverborn is fantasy. I’d rather risk than repeat.



Andrew Najberg, author – Writer, Books, Poetry Gollitok: A Horror Novel eBook : Najberg, Andrew, Publishing, Wicked House: Kindle Store The Mobius Door: A Novel of Supernatural Terror eBook : Najberg, Andrew, Publishing, Wicked House: Kindle Store

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