INTERVIEW WITH AN AUTHOR: Ania Ahlborn on Genre, Gender and Self-Publishing

Ania Ahlborn, listed by some as being one of the top ten modern horror writers alongside the likes of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman, is certainly at the top of her game. So, when she agreed to engage us with a cheeky interview, we, at Vampire Squid were psyched.

Ania has said that she was always drawn to the macabre, with her earliest childhood memory being her crawling through the gap in the fence between her family home and a large cemetery. She would break off bits of silk bouquets, making sure everyone had their equal share.

She was born in Ciechanow, Poland, but has taken the world by storm. Her first novel, Seed, was self-published but climbed the Amazon book charts, finally resting at the number one horror spot. This opened the doors to the world of traditional publishing, landing her a book deal with Simon & Schuster. Ania has since published multiple horror and thriller novels and took the time out of her busy schedule to speak to us today.

Annie: Ania, to start, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Ania: Uh, I’m a writer, and by default, I’m terrible about talking about myself.

Annie: If you were to sum up your work in three words, what would they be?

Ania: Tragic, unthinkable nightmares.

Annie: So, I see you have teased us with your latest project Good and Joyful Things on your website. Any beans, or guts, you can spill?

Ania: Not as of yet, though I can say the story is a bit of a departure for me a la Gillian Flynn.

Annie: Your first book, Seed, was self-published. What advice would you want to give to other writers looking to go down the self-publishing route? 

Ania: I get this question all the time, and unfortunately, I don’t have an answer. I self-published in 2012, and five years is an eternity online. I’m sure the entire process, as well as the self-publishing market, has changed dramatically since then. All that said, my best advice for those who are thinking about self-publishing is: be sure the work is ready. Respect your readers.

Annie: Some say that it seems like horror has always been a ‘boys game’. Do you think that’s true, and how did you find breaking into the genre as a woman? 

Ania: The horror genre was pioneered by a lady by the name of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly. She wrote a little novel called Frankenstein. It’s true that most horror authors are men, but we girls have been around just the same. There’s no breaking into a genre; you either write that genre or you don’t, gender aside. Now, breaking into the industry is a whole other story, and that’s hard for everybody, men included. As Steve Martin once said, the trick is to be so good they can’t ignore you.

Annie: You’ve been listed on some websites as being one of the top ten modern horror writers – how does that feel?

Ania: It could be worse!

A: What would you say were the books and authors that inspired you to get into writing horror and writing in general?

Ania: Anne Rice’s Interview, Poppy Z. Brite, Brett Easton Ellis, and of course, Stephen King.

Annie: Now for the biggie, all-time favourite horror film? 

Ania: The Shining. Kubrick’s version. As far as modern stuff goes, The Conjuring. I absolutely love that flick.

A huge thank you to Ania for taking the time to speak to us!

Find out more about Ania Ahlborn:

Official Publisher’s Page


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