Interview with EV Knight, Author of DEAD EYES

IndieMuse is thrilled to have with us author EV Knight as part of our Women In Horror Series.

EV Knight is a horror novelist and active member of the Horror Writer’s Association. Her debut novel, The Fourth Whore, published by Raw Dog Screaming Press, just made the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker award. Her most recent publication is Dead Eyes which is a novella in Unnerving’s Rewind or Die series and is an homage to ’80s horror films. This campy, creepy romp through a mortuary where a horrific mass murder occurred twenty years before, is a drastic change from The Fourth Whore‘s gritty, feminist horror that refuses to shy away from religion, politics, or in your face gore.

In speaking with EV about the subject if Women In Horror, she had this to say:

“As a female horror writer, I think it’s important that we be seen as a fearless force in the horror universe. We truly are the final girls, rising in blood-covered triumph against pre-conceived notions of women in horror.”

What was the highlight of writing Dead Eyes?

I knew going in that I was writing this for the Rewind or Die series which was a themed novella series based on ’80s slasher/paranormal VHS movies. So, to prepare, I spent quite a few weekends binging all the movies I used to rent with my friends for slumber parties. It was so fun and nostalgic to remember those times, and to rewrite them into this story.

Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb)

There are secrets in this book! I wanted an “OMG!” ending, so I worked hard to do that. I took some cues from the film Sleepaway Camp to try to work in clues that wouldn’t be picked up during the first read but once you know the secret, I hope you can go back and find them the second read.

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart?

A group of characters in the book do hold a special place in my heart. In the book, they are known as “the Krueger Crew” after their love of Nightmare on Elm Street and all the great slasher films (which would have been just out in theaters during the book’s time). These guys were the nerds we all remember in high school. Some who hit puberty late and stayed small and thin. Ones obsessed with fantasy books, D&D, etc. Those guys who never really fit in to any other group and were oftentimes the butt of jokes.

Those of us who grew up not in the nerd group certainly remember friends and acquaintances picking on them. Maybe we, ourselves never did (or at least insist we never did) but we also never stuck up for them. As I’ve gotten older, as I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world around me, I wanted to make amends for any hurt I might have caused or let happen. So my Krueger Crew are really the heroes of this book. I gave them the tools to help save the day. I even gave one of them their first kiss. I love those guys.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I try to be original. There’s a quote from the Bible that states “there is nothing new under the sun” and in any genre, that is true to an extent. So, a reader can always find what their looking for if they are looking for something in particular. What I want to do, is give them something they didn’t know they wanted.

When I have an idea for a story, I start by searching for similar stories, books, and movies and absorb as much as I can on it. I don’t want to re-use someone else’s idea. So, I think it is okay to write an old trope or monster story, I think it is important to put a unique twist on it, and make it new.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

Over a couple years, I did, what I called a “Poegrimage,” visiting many sites of importance in the life of Edgar Allan Poe. Prior to making my list of “must-sees,” I read a couple Poe biographies and then found a great book called Poe-Land, The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe by J.W. Ocker. This book is a must for anyone planning a Poe pilgrimage. I was able to find sites I otherwise would have missed.

It’s a fulfilling thing, as an author, to visit homes, sites, graves of authors that inspired you or are your literary heroes. To stand in the same places they stood gives you a connection to them and I highly recommend it. It’s also quite inspiring and motivating to get back home and write!

Do you have a favorite quote?

My favorite quote and one I have tattooed on my left arm is by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: “Where there is no imagination, there is no horror.” It comes from the book A Study in Scarlet and I’m sure Sherlock meant that mystery stirs the imagination and causes us to fear the unnatural when there is a logical explanation.

But as a horror writer, it’s a good mantra to have. Our imagination creates unnecessary fear, but for a horror writer, creating fear is our goal. Creating suspense and dread can only happen when we create. Imagination is the key and we should cultivate it.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I love road tripping. I like seeing the world in a vehicle that allows me to stop, take unexpected detours, see city skylines, and shop in tiny little out of the way shops I’d have never found otherwise.

A good road trip has very few time limits, so you can spontaneously take an exit to see the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota, or the Nun and Priest Doll museum (yes, of course I’ve been to both). Roadside oddities and unusual museums are the absolute best hidden gems this country has to offer. Trips like these make the best memories.

Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or live in a un-haunted cottage?

I will always choose the haunted place. Seeing a ghost is a life goal for me. I’m a ghost agnostic. I want to believe in them, I want to think there is something else out there in the unseen world. But I also need proof. I need to experience it for myself. I’d love to live in a haunted home. Bring it on!

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke. Always Coke. I’m a Coke Zero addict, but if I can’t have Coke Zero, any other Coke will do.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?

I do have a novel coming out in 2021 that I am excited about but as it hasn’t been announced, I can’t give too many details.

I have a couple works in progress, one is a novella based on the character Renfield in Bram Stoker’s Dracula…only my Renfield is female.

The novel I am currently working on takes place in a small town in rural Tennessee with a legend about a saloon and brothel filled with murderous girls back in the 1840s. But when a sinkhole appears near the original site of the saloon at the same time a naked, blind girl is found wandering the road next to it, the sheriff begins to realize there may be a lot more truth to the legend than anyone in town would like to admit. Worse than that, it turns out the whole truth is even stranger than the legend.

Who are your favorite women writing in the genre?

There are so many great women authors in the horror genre. Alma Katsu, Gwendolyn Kiste, Sara Tantlinger, Lee Murray, K.P. Kulski, Kathe Koja, Stephanie Wytovich, and Patricia Lillie all come to mind. There are so many more as well. For a long time, the horror genre was dominated by men and not to say that there weren’t women writing horror, they just weren’t receiving the attention they deserved. Now is a great time for women in horror because there are so many out there proving that we can write badass horror too. They are opening the door for readers to both those pioneers of the past and those coming after.

As a woman author, what are you most proud of in bringing into horror literature?

I am proud of my debut novel, The Fourth Whore for being what I consider feminist horror. I tried to take all the slurs, all the misogyny women have suffered throughout time and weaponized my characters with it. I like writing women characters who’ve been through some really awful stuff and rose above it stronger and unafraid. I like writing women villains for the same reason. I try to bring some of that strength to every story I write.

Thank you to EV for being with us during our featured Women In Horror Series. We are looking forward to your next novel hitting the market! Readers should check out Dead Eyes in Kindle or paperback today!

Dead Eyes by EV Knight

On June 4, 1966, “Dead-Eye” Dave Darrow murdered and mutilated a group of teenagers at his family’s home. His sister’s disappearance, his subsequent escape from the asylum, and a slew of deaths and missing persons surrounding the home have given birth to some wild local theories.

Twenty years later, Lisa Thompson needs to finish her exposé on the infamous Darrow story to ensure her full ride scholarship to U.C. Berkley’s School of Journalism. But the problem is, she
doesn’t have a killer ending. The girl moving in to the Darrow’s old place could be Lisa’s lucky break. But new blood in the house and Lisa’s research awaken something or someone evil and murders begin anew in spectacular fashion.

Will Lisa uncover the truth within the Darrow house, or will she and her friends die trying?

RICHARD MARTIN

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.

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