We begin our Women In Horror feature with our first guest Ali Seay. Ali was quick to get our curators’ attention at the start of IndieMuse with a unanimous recommendation for her novel Go Down Hard which was featured in of our Recommended Horror Reads installment #5.
For the last fifteen years, Ali has written professionally under a pen name. Now she’s running amok and writing as herself in the genre she’s always loved the most. She lives in Baltimore with her family. Her greatest desire is to own a vintage Airstream and hit the road.
Out of all the possible ideas in your head, what inspired you to write Go Down Hard?
It was the project that wouldn’t shut up. Usually, there are a few ideas or projects floating around in my head. The winner is the one that is there waiting when I wake up, is whispering in my ear when I’m doing things that don’t involve writing, and keeps popping into my head at random times. If I can’t stop thinking about it-—I write it.
Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart?
Meg. I think she holds a special place in a lot of hearts at this point. She is a badass with a malignant past who had decided to live her life on her own terms. It’s probably not sustainable and she knows that but she’s going full speed ahead until she gets tripped up. In a lot of ways, I find that admirable beyond description. I wouldn’t recommend taking the life path Meg has, but I certainly understand why she’s the way she is.
What was the inspiration for the story?
There was a lot swimming around in my head when the idea came. I had just read The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum and watched 68 Kill based on the novel by Bryan Smith. Add to the mix the song This is Love by Air Traffic Controller and about 14 or so long runs piping that song into my ears as I staggered along and voila! I had a story plot that wouldn’t stop yammering. And I couldn’t write it fast enough.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Usually, it energizes me. Especially, if it flows really well. Occasionally, it will exhaust me like when I wrote “Jesus or Jacob?” for The Big Book of Blasphemy. I burst into tears at the end of that story (in the middle of a crowded cafe) and was tired for the rest of the day. But that’s a rarity.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Hurts! Not letting the ego take up space at the keyboard is important. At least in my humble opinion. There’s a difference between confidence and ego. I try to be confident—I often fail. But a big ego is a distraction most writers can’t afford to have. It should be about the work above everything else.
How many bookshelves are in your house?
13, I believe. Which is my lucky number! Used as actual bookshelves and not for other things there are 5 in my bedroom, 1 built-in and 1 barrister in the living room, 3 in my daughter’s room, 1 big one in my son’s room, 1 in the basement workroom, and 1 in my partner’s son’s room.
At the time this is posted that number could have gone up. No promises.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love road trips with my partner—short or long. He drives (mostly), I ride, and we hunt books and vintage stuff together. I like old things that are full of nostalgia. Currently collecting retro ’80s horror paperbacks, old metal signs, spoons, kitsch, and anything else we fall in love with.
Would you rather have an endless summer or an endless winter?
Endless winter. I’ll take cold over hot any day. I can always put on more clothing. Plus cold brings up opportunities for roaring fires, snuggling under blankets, hot chocolate, and big sweaters. I’d rather be cozy than sweaty!
Coke or Pepsi?
Coke! Which is funny because my grandfather drove for Pepsi all through my childhood. I got considerable flak for my beverage choices.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Pretty much everywhere but music is a frequent inspiration. Which is why I can listen to the same song 62 times in row and not bat an eyelash. My family, not so much…
Who are your favorite women writing in the genre?
Some that I’ve loved for a while are Jennifer McMahon and Gillian Flynn. They both write amazing dark fiction. Recent discoveries in horror are Hailey Piper, Samantha Kolesnik, Jessica Guess, and C.V. Hunt. I could go on, but that’s a good glimpse at the inside of my bookshelf and/or Kindle at the moment.
As a woman author, what are you most proud of in bringing into horror literature?
Dangerous women. Predatory women. Having women in horror fiction be more than the victim or the final girl is an exhilarating turn of events. It’s been done, sure, but I don’t think it’s been done nearly enough. The greatest pleasure I had writing Meg in Go Down Hard was that she was, in her own right, a predator, a force to be reckoned with, and a person to be feared.
Thank you, Ali, for taking the time to talk to us here at IndieMuse. And keep bringing us more of those predatory women in your fiction!
And speaking of predatory, don’t forget to check out Meg’s adventures in Go Down Hard!
GO DOWN HARD by Ali Seay
What if a victimized woman decided to be a silent guardian angel for other women and turn the tables on predatory men? What if she stumbled into the hunting grounds of a cocky serial killer while looking for her own private murder den? What if a confident killer met his match in the form of a jean-clad, whiskey-swigging stranger in an hourglass-shaped package—and she made him want things—things he’s far too superior to want?
When predator meets predator, the only question is: Is the attraction they feel to bed one another…or kill one another?
Meg isn’t expecting to catch Jack red-handed with his most recent victim. Jack isn’t expecting Meg to come busting through his front door while chasing her current prey. Now that each recognizes a fellow killer, what urge will win—kiss or kill?
Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.