An interview with Tales to Terrify

Thanks so much to the crew at Tales to Terrify for interviewing me for the September 2020 newsletter!

Behind the Veil
with Evan J. Peterson

This month we glance into the thoughts of Evan J. Peterson, author of our recently published “Husband Suit” (episode 447). Join us as we chat with Evan about his story and the state of horror to come.

“Husband Suit” is most certainly an original piece! Can you tell me a bit about where that story came from?

This one came to me as an opening line. I usually start a story with one image, sentence, or idea. I was thinking a lot about Kelly Link’s style and how she can write devastating uncanny stories in very plain language. Thus: “Gavin married a monster.” And wherever the reader’s mind goes with that sentence (werewolves, spousal abuse, etc.), I wanted to take them somewhere far more alien. 

Have you ever had your work adapted into audio before? Tell us about that experience.

I used to focus mainly on poetry, and I have quite a few recordings from indie radio appearances and such. They’ve got a nice low-tech charm to them. I’ve never had a professional team adapt my fiction for audio, and I’m delighted that this story will be the first!

The world is going a little bit crazy right now! Where do you think the horror genre will be headed once the dust settles? Is the current state of affairs affecting your writing at all?

I have fewer daily distractions, for sure. The first month of pandemic had me very depressed on the couch each day. I’ve since recovered. I have some big projects to finish this year: a new RPG for Choice of Games, a short novel for Broken Eye Books. I’ve been forced to scale way back on my socializing, and the most diligent authors I know have made a practice of turning down social contact. I’m inspired by human contact, so it’s a mixed bag for me. 

Aside from a tsunami of stories about cabin fever and domestic terror, I think horror will continue becoming more diverse, more political, and less naive. I think we’ll see fresh and inspiring stories from folks who were mostly ignored before. I’m particularly interested in seeing all the horror yet to come from people of color, disabled folks, and trans people. I want to see more body horror from women and femmes. Hail Mother Suspiriorum.

Do you believe in real life spooks?

I do, but not in the Hollywood or Charles Dickens sense. More like the haunted spaces of Shirley Jackson – the walls themselves alive and hungry. I believe there’s plenty of spooky shit we have yet to explain or understand, God included. I can also hear spirits, usually knocking rather than words, so I occasionally talk to them about sharing space and respecting each other when I move into their home. They seem chill with me.

What is your favourite scary story?

Frankenstein and all of its mutations. Mary Shelley tapped into something new there, marrying myths and legends to science, and she created the myth that keeps on giving.