November 8, 2022
Your slasher book Rave was a finalist for several awards and won Bronze in the 2022 Horror Category of the eLit Awards. Indies Today said it’s “a disturbing and foreboding story that has all the makings of a new cult-classic”, and The Prairies Book Review called it “a thrilling journey into grit and horror.” This is fantastic! What was it about the slasher genre that drew you to it?
Thank you! I really wanted to tell an all-Canadian version of a brand-new slasher character. Slashers are a fun thrill ride and aren’t as commonly found in literature like they are in film. Many of the tropes defined in the 80s come from your classic iconic horror faces like Jason and Freddie that should be respected.
I toyed with the idea of writing a script while I was also intrigued by finding a way to convert a slasher film’s highly visual and fast-pacing methods into the literary world. Books generally go a lot deeper into scenes, backstories, and the psyche of characters, which opens a whole new way of expanding on slasher characters rather than simply being a gore ride. You can also express feelings and ideas to the reader through the medium, which is impossible to do in a film.
I’ve always been a fan of all types of horror and love how the genre can bleed into other genres quite effectively, like thrillers, sci-fi, and fantasy. Of course, you need to have all the violent tropes, and foolish choices, for it to fit properly within the slasher genre. You can also pull people’s heartstrings by making them emotionally invested with the characters. With Rave, I wanted to stick purely to horror and respect the roots while bringing a fresh spin on such a fun genre while representing Canada.
Is Rave connected to your collection of interactive short stories, Beyond the Macrocosm, and how? Can you talk a little about what other works share in the same universe?
Rave is! Two short stories offer further details on the novel’s villain. The first is a manifesto by the murderer, while the other provides a back story, giving readers a more human experience of who they are and how they are linked to the protagonist. Almost all of my work is housed within the same universe as Beyond the Macrocosm. I have been building the Macrocosm around 1999 when I wrote down the first short story containing The Kingdom of Zingalg, a fictional place that shows up in my dark fantasy series Mental Damnation.
At the time, the Macrocosm didn’t have a name. It wasn’t until Into the Macrocosm was released in 2020 that the shared universe had a name. Rave, Cultivate: Seed Me Relapse Edition, Mental Damnation, YEGman, and both short story collections are all within the same universe. The short story collections offer glimpses of how the universe is tied together. I’ve intentionally kept it loosely bound because anyone should be able to pick up any other novels and enjoy them for what they are without being burdened by excessive backstories and character cameos that have nothing to do with the plot. There is a fun interactive timeline outlining all the novels and shorts within the universe right on my website’s home page. The new series I am working on pulls all the Easter eggs found within the novels into one straightforward story.
Do you make a conscious effort to include particular material or circumstances in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray?
Sometimes I do go into a story with a clear theme in mind. Other times story sparks from some obscure factor learned in a news article or a trivial thing a friend might have told me. Other times they fabricate from thin air during the process of writing.
Commonly I have a good idea of what genre the manuscript fits into from a broad scope. It isn’t until the novel is closer to completion that I work in certain tropes and details to better fit within a sub-genre. That way, it is confined to a suitable market. This is the same for themes or morals that I want to include in the story, an afterthought.
All good stories include the hero’s inner journey, which ties to the plot. Whether it’s a lesson learned or a personal transformation, the protagonist changes. These, on their own, are good fables that work as themes and naturally fit into the book.
What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
The advice I give every author is to keep writing without judging yourself. The more you write, the better you understand your voice and the tools you’re working with. Read frequently to learn cool tricks and new ways to write. Be careful not to burn yourself out. There’s only so much time in the day.
For horror writers, I’d recommend following the real world. Learn the history of human civilizations and cultures. There are ongoing trends and patterns seen throughout humanity over the centuries. Horror comes in many forms. Symbolism and monsters change over time while the themes, warnings, and story arcs remain constant.
What’s next for you?
Currently, I am working on what you could call “The Dark Tower series” of the Macrocosm. It is a dark urban fantasy series that is an excellent introduction for new readers to my work. It’s also an exciting expansion of how all the other novels relate to each other for readers familiar with my writing.
The working title for book one is Crystal Moths: Ash Book One. Here is the one-sentence pitch I’m working with: Lola, a fugitive after exposing the law’s connection to the notorious Crystal Moths, has her life and family destroyed, igniting her need for revenge and plunging her into a forgotten old world of greed, legend, and mythology. I aim to have the book out in 2023, so follow me on social media and the newsletter and keep watch for this exciting new series. I also write monthly short stories on Patreon, expanding the Macrocosm. konnlavery.com/newsletter Twitter Facebook Instagram Patreon
Thank you so much for having me! These have been awesome questions, and I’m excited to have moved to Vancouver.