Something in the Cellar, by Ryan Casey
Yesterday I did a review of an indie writer, part of an ongoing habit I’m trying to form. Today, I’m going to post a brief interview. I did this with Yesenia Vargas a while back, and would like to interview other indie writers in the future–if you’re writing and would like to be featured on the blog, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Anyway, to the point.
Ryan Casey is a writer who specializes in horror/suspense/tension–which happens to be one of my favourite genres. So I wanted to pick his brain a bit on that topic. As usual, my questions in bold, his answers in regular text.
1. What made you want to write in the horror/suspense genre?
Horror/suspense has always been my genre, to be honest. It’s the genre I’ve always been fascinated by, whether it be in books, TV, films, or whatever. Something in the Cellar was my first ‘serious’ release, so it just felt right to write in my comfort zone. I asked myself the hypothetical question, ‘what would a woman do if she’d murdered her husband and locked him in the cellar?’ and it just kind of went from there, really.
The Runaway (the accompanying short story) is a much more recent piece of mine. I wrote the title story around 18 months ago in its original incarnation, so it’s quite ‘old’ in that respect. With The Runaway, it was kind of nice to write because I’ve been busy working on a sort of mystery/coming-of-age novel for the past year, so it was great to just go crazy. I think The Runaway is my favourite of the two, to be honest.
2. Do you have favourite techniques for creating tension?
Well, there are of course the technical tricks you can use, but I think one thing I’d emphasize is characterization. If you don’t invest in the character, then it goes without saying that the ‘tension’ won’t be relatable. That’s what I had to try and do with Something in the Cellar: present this woman who has obviously committed a terrible crime, but gradually reveal little things and clues about her life that almost ‘rationalize’ the behaviour.
I like a good twist, too. Without wanting to spoil anything, I like twists that pull the rug from under people’s feet and force a complete reassessment, particularly in short stories. If I’ve come anywhere near achieving that in Something in the Cellar/The Runaway, then I’m delighted.
3. What the most genuinely scary book you’ve read?
The scariest book I’ve ever read was actually a Horowitz short story collection when I was around ten years old. It was called ‘More Horowitz Horror’ I think. Of course, the stuff is probably pretty tame now, but I always remember there being a little short story added on the end by a supposed maniac who had intercepted the publication of the book and personally delivered it to me, complete with a ‘I’m going to kill you’ death threat. Rest assured, I didn’t sleep for weeks.
Non-fiction really scares me today, though. Stuff about serial killers, and real life atrocities. I’ve probably become a little desensitized to conventional horror movies, so documentaries and things like that really get to me.
And there we have it. I’d certainly reccomend that you check out Casey’s book, which you can find here. You can find Ryan at ryancaseybooks.com, and on Goodreads.
Finally, I also found the book Ryan mentioned–More Horowitz Horror. You can get it on Amazon or the Kobo store. Sweet dreams!