Hailey Piper is the writer of many frightening stories in almost ALL of this year's most exciting horror collections including WORST LAID PLANS, and PLACES WE FEAR TO TREAD as well as the much anticipated WE ARE WOLVES and CAMPFIRE MACABRE. She also has several books currently available that come highly recommended within the #HorrorCommunity. THE POSSESSION OF NATALIE GLASGLOW is a novella in which a desperate mother at the end of her rope seeks help for her daughter who appears to be consumed by a strange entity. BENNY ROSE THE CANNIBAL KING is about a local legend who on Halloween night rises from the grave to ease his insatiable hunger for the living. And finally her newest release, a monstrous tale of cosmic horror that delves deep into a subterranean abyss under New York City called THE WORM AND HIS KINGS.
Andrew: So, Halloween is now behind us and a lot of us are looking forward to Christmas. I have never gone out of my way to find seasonal horror books but this past Halloween I did and I loved the stories. It provided a great reading experience and I'm already looking for Christmas horror books. Do you see yourself writing seasonal horror?
Hailey: Seasonal horror suits me best with short stories. I've written three Christmas ones, most recently "The Last Noel" that appears in Burial Day's Gothic Blue Book VI: A Krampus Carol. For longer fiction, the story would have to call to the holiday, like Benny Rose, the Cannibal King called to Halloween. But I wouldn't rule it out!
Andrew: I hear of a lot of writers who listen to different types of music whether it be metal, ambient or cinematic when they are ready to write a certain part of a story. Is there anything you do to set the mood when writing a particularly sinister scene?
Hailey: It depends. I use music less for whether it applies to the mood of the scene and more to inflict mood on myself. If I'm already in the right attitude to write a sinister scene, for example, then I don't need music's motivation. If I'm not, I'll sometimes listen to an instrumental movie or video game scores, but that's become rarer the more experience I've gained.
Andrew: I follow you on social media and you're clearly a big fan of horror movies. As a reader, I think it's important for creators to enjoy all aspects of the genre. I believe it shows through in their writing. Are movies where you draw inspiration from or is there another medium that helps get the creative juices flowing?
Hailey: Most of my inspiration comes from people and past experiences. I have plenty of bad memories to dredge up and malform. Horror movies are more for pure enjoyment. On occasion, a movie will remind me of a narrative function, but movies and books are very different mediums with different storytelling tools. You learn more about writing from books than anywhere else.
Andrew: The books of yours I've read are so creative and touch on some of my favourite horror movie tropes. Creature features, possession, slasher, and cannibalism just to name a few. Is there a horror trope you're eager to write about next?
Hailey: I appreciate that! I've been noted by the awesome folks at Inkheist, Night Worms, and elsewhere as a subgenre hopper, and I think that suits me best. QUEEN OF TEETH, my debut novel coming from Rooster Republic in 2021, is a body horror story. Right now I'm working on something in the vein of Carrie and Scanners, psychic stuff. I'm told that subgenre is called supernatural horror, but I don't know for sure.
Andrew: As you said, you have another book coming out in 2021 through Rooster Republic Press called THE QUEEN OF TEETH. Is there anything you can tell us about this story?
Hailey: I have two 2021 books, the other being my collection, UNFORTUNATE ELEMENTS OF MY ANATOMY, releasing from The Seventh Terrace in spring.
QUEEN OF TEETH is a body horror story about a woman who finds a growth and that snowballs into other, much worse problems. I can't really get into it much since the publisher hasn't, but they've described it as "Cronenbergian" if that helps.
Andrew: In my opinion, horror is about breaking through boundaries or going places other genres are afraid to venture into. In saying that, there is always a line drawn in the sand for some readers. Are there any topics that you would consider taboo in horror fiction?
Hailey: Horror is the genre of honesty. It can be used as a mirror to reflect society, the self, or both. I think anything can be approached. That said, when approaching subjects, it's important for the writer to consider where they're coming from, what internal biases they might have, and how those will impact the subject's presentation. There are certain topics I'm tired of reading.
Andrew: I often talk about the Horror Community and how supportive we all are of each other. I myself am grateful for the friendships I've made. It's uplifting to see everyone come together for our love of the genre. Is there anyone that has been especially helpful in your writing life within our little community of horror lovers?
Hailey: Oh goodness, so many, and I’m going to inevitably leave some people out, but Sara Tantlinger, Lisa Quigley, Samantha Kolesnik, V. Castro, Laurel Hightower, and Shane Keene frequently inject “you got this” juice directly into my writing heart.
Andrew: You officially made THE POSSESSION OF NATALIE GLASGLOW available as an audiobook which is so exciting. Gemma Amor did the narration and she is absolutely amazing. What was it like to hear your work read aloud by someone else?
Hailey: I've had short fiction adapted to audio before, such as "Help" on Tales to Terrify and most recently "Autotomy" on Monsters Out of the Closet, so that part wasn't new. But adapting longer fiction is a bigger process, and Gemma handled it with incredible talent and dedication, even through a complete hard drive meltdown. She has the perfect radiant approach for TPONG, and I think she makes it more suspenseful. I was creeped out at times listening to her.
Andrew: Your newest book, THE WORM AND HIS KINGS came out November 15th. It was highly anticipated and is well received within the Horror Community. Is there anything you want potential readers to know about this book?
Hailey: From reviews so far, THE WORM AND HIS KINGS seems to be a book that readers form unique opinions about. Potential readers should go in knowing that they may have entirely different responses to it than what they've heard.
Andrew: I am incredibly grateful that you took the time to speak with me. I am always eager to hear about your successes and there seems to be a lot of that lately which you deserve and so much more. Before we are done I have one last thing to ask. As someone who is on the rise in the horror community. Can you offer up any words of encouragement for aspiring writers?
Hailey: There is no aspiring. If you write, you're a writer. And to do that, just write. Everyone's process is unique. There's no secret formula, and any time another writer says exactly what to do, they just mean they've figured out their process. Their advice might be worth trying out, but ultimately knowing yourself is the best way to find what works for you.