Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sorts of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.
Today, I’m chatting to the horror writer, Meg Hafdahl. Meg, like myself, is one of the writers featured in the Women of Horror Anthology, Vol 3 The One that Got Away published by Kandisha Press
Welcome to the tearoom, Meg. As always my first question to my guests is what would you like to drink?
Thank you for your invite, Paula. Oh, could I have my fave drink which is a cream ale beer, if I’m allowed to drink!
Of course, you can. We have a driver to take you home. So now we have our refreshments, I’ll start by asking you when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
I was torn, to be honest. I had grown up loving horror, reading and watching it all the time. But I also loved literature. I studied classic and modern literature in college and I thought literary fiction was my calling. But I wasn’t finding my voice. I finally walked on the dark side and I’m so glad I did!
Which writing elements do you think is your strongest points, and what would you like to do better?
I’ve always felt that my strong point is inner thoughts; characterization of a single character. I like to linger in their emotions, especially as they grow scared! I’m working on being able to write scenes with a little less singularity, from a bit more expanded view.
Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?
Well, I have a couple. I’m currently working on my third short story collection for Inklings Publishing. I love short form, it really lends itself well to horror. I’m also co-authoring the fourth in a nonfiction series The Science of Serial Killers for Skyhorse Publishing. It’s a challenge to switch from fiction to nonfiction, one that I welcome! And I am editing my fourth novel, which I’m really thrilled about. There’s still a lot of work to do on it, but I think my readers are going to be intrigued by it. That will be published by Cursed Dragonship hopefully by the end of 2021!
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
Ha. Quite a few. But most of them will be finished, and soon. I have deadlines! As I’ve learned and developed my writing I have far fewer unfinished projects that never find their ending.
Choosing only five of your favourite authors. Can you list them in order 1 begin the top of your list and say how have they influenced your writing?
Choosing only 5 is hard!!
- Shirley Jackson. She combines the challenges of being a woman with subtle horror (and not so subtle!) magnificently. I call her “the queen” because her ability to characterize dark emotions, add a splash of humor, and creep you out is unparalleled. I want to write like that.
- Daphne DuMaurier. Rebecca is a masterclass in atmosphere and setting. I try to keep this book in mind when sculpting the overall feel of my stories.
- Stephen King. He has this unbelievable ability to find the absurd in any situation and I love that. I can’t help but be inspired. Also his characters always feel so real.
- Clive Barker. His short stories make me want to be a better writer. His words are poetry. I want his vocabulary!!
- Tananarive Due. She’s a recent fave. The Good House is a horror novel I can’t stop thinking about. She knows how to tell a story. And she recently wrote an episode for the new The Twilight Zone which is like my dream job!
Did you uncover things about yourself while writing your books or stories whether that be a long forgotten memory, a positive experience etc.
Oh yes! For me, writing is a personal experience. I have learned a lot about my own thoughts, anxieties, and fears from my characters. I think one of the things I love about horror so much is the opportunity to bring a character through the worst experience of their fictional lives, and while doing so there is a natural catharsis.
How many hours in a day do you write?
It varies. If I have the time I can write for several hours, but usually I only have an hour here, thirty minutes there. Since the pandemic I’ve had to work harder to carve out time.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Not at all! It’s funny, many of my friends write under a pseudonym and when I realized I was one of the few who didn’t, I thought maybe I had made a mistake! But, the truth is, what I write is me. There is no separation between my words and who I am, so I’m proud to put my real name on my books!
How do you select the names of your characters? Do you know everything about them before you start writing their story?
With names I like to go very plain and normal usually. That’s because my scenarios can often be unbelievable and I like to ground my story in realism first before I bring the horror. I don’t know everything about my characters. For me, that would be boring. I discover as I write. I usually have a clear idea of some important event that happened to them, or a trait they have, but that’s about it.
How long on average does it take you to write a book or story?
A novel takes me usually about nine months to a year from start to finish. I have gone both slower and faster! A short story varies, sometimes the muse is there and I can write it in a few days, while others take more thinking.
Thank you so much for joining me, Meg in the tearoom. When you’re ready to leave just let our driver know and he will run you home. If you would like to find out more about Meg’s writing or books check the links below:
If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Members’ Books, don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops, too.