Welcome back for this week’s featured author interview! Today I’m thrilled to spotlight the fabulous EV Knight! EV’s debut novel, The Fourth Whore, was just released through Raw Dog Screaming Press to much acclaim, and she has even more horror fiction on the way later this year from Unnerving.
Recently, EV and I discussed her inspirations as well as what it was like writing her first book.
A couple icebreakers to start: when did you decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?
I have always been a voracious reader, my grandmother read Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales to me every night growing up which I think is what made me seek out the darker side of literature. When I was in sixth grade, I read my first Stephen King book–Pet Semetary and I was hooked. I loved the way he wrote, the way he put words together and the stories he told. Not only did I want to read more of his work, I wanted to write like he did. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a writer. Of course, up until then, I wanted to grow up to be a doctor so of course my family preferred that dream and continued to encourage medicine as a career and writing as a hobby. So, it wasn’t until I completed medical school and had been working as a physician that I began to revisit the idea of writing more seriously.
My favorite writers…there are so many. Clearly, I love Stephen King but lately, I have been reading a lot of Ania Ahlborn, Josh Malerman, Victor LaValle, and my literary hero: Shirley Jackson.
Congratulations on the release of your debut novel, The Fourth Whore! What can you share about the inspiration for the book?
The inspiration for The Fourth Whore came during the 2017 Women’s March in D.C. I was there and marched beside so many amazing people. I kept hearing women invoking the name Lilith and after some research, I knew I had to have her in my novel.
What was it in particular about Lilith and the Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse that made you want to tell their story?
After discovering Lilith’s religious mythos, and hearing the phrase “the war on women” over and over that year (2017), I imagined a war started by women. And since I was using Lilith’s religious background, I went to the Book of Revelation and looked into the “end of the world” scenarios. In my mind, Lilith wanted to wipe out the world as is and bring on a new world where women would rule. She wanted to write her own “Bible.” The Four Horsemen, to me made for a good plot of four different ways to bring about the end of the world and could easily be renamed “The Four Whores” because it was the very thing Lilith was “taking back.”
What were the biggest surprises for you as you wrote and edited your first book?
The process of writing a novel is long and complex! You think you know your story and characters and won’t forget details, but you do. And I had to go and decide to write a novel with multiple character’s story lines woven together so keeping track of where I was and where each character was at any given time, was so stressful.
By the time, I got to the end of the story, I didn’t think I ever wanted to look at it again. But then, you have to edit. If I had to do it all over again, I would have probably chosen a more straightforward story for my first novel and worked my way up to something like this. That being said, I learned so much about myself, my process, and the industry in general, it was a good experience.
Horror is the great escape. It’s the endorphin rush, the blood pumping, thought provoking study of all the things that we as humans keep locked away in darkness of our imaginations. All those “what ifs” that never left us from childhood. It allows us to get in touch with our animal brain. I love that about us as a species. The things we, as adults would never admit out loud—that our hearts still beat a little harder and we quicken our steps after turning out the basement light to head back upstairs. When our child swears there is something under their bed or in their closet and we have to look, there is that tiny voice inside that says “there might actually be something there.” I love that. I love feeding that idea.
If forced to choose, which is your favorite part of the writing process: drafting ideas, working on a first draft, or polishing up an almost finished piece?
I am a plotter. I plot overall, and then I replot each chapter before I write it. I love it. I love the brain storming aspect. The planning part is the most enjoyable.
I carry notebooks, note cards, and sticky notes everywhere. I have a giant dry erase board in my writing room for mind maps and note taking. For me, it’s like mining for gold. Working an idea until it shines. That is, without a doubt, my favorite part.
What’s next for you? What projects are coming out soon, and what are you currently working on?
I have a novella–Dead Eyes–coming out in November from Unnerving. It is part of the Rewind or Die series celebrating the 80’s horror film craze. I had so much fun rewatching a lot of those old films from my middle school sleepover days in order to write it.
My next big project is a four novel series centered around a commune that once belonged to a hippie cult calling themselves the children of Demeter. They disappeared overnight in 1973. Since then, the land has been dead and barren, but maybe not everything at the commune has died.