Blurring The Line is the new anthology of horror fiction and non-fiction, edited by award-winning editor Marty Young, published by Cohesion Press. You can get your copy here or anywhere you normally buy books (the print edition is coming any day now).
To help people learn a bit more about it, I’ve arranged for each fiction contributor to answer the same five questions, and I’ll be running these mini interviews every weekday now that the book is available.
Brett McBean is an award-winning horror and thriller author. His books, which include The Mother, The Last Motel and Wolf Creek: Desolation Game, have been published in Australia, the US, and Germany. He’s been nominated for the Aurealis, Ditmar, and Ned Kelly awards, and he won the 2011 Australian Shadows Award for his collection, Tales of Sin and Madness. He is a member of the Australian Horror Writers Association, where he has twice been a mentor in their mentor program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife, daughter and German shepherd. Find out more at: brettmcbean.com
1. What was the inspiration/motivation behind your story in Blurring The Line?
My story deals with the horrific crime of child abuse and murder, specifically about a fictional children’s entertainer who’s at the centre of a paedophile ring. The idea stemmed from the various cases that have recently come to light of well-known public figures who have been accused of child molestation. These are entertainers I grew up watching on TV and it’s shocking to learn about the monster lurking behind the seemingly innocuous facade.
I also based my story largely on ‘The Family Murders’, a group of socially-elite men who kidnapped, sexually abused and murdered an untold number of boys during the 1970s and ‘80s in Adelaide (other than Bevan Spencer von Einem, an accountant charged with the murder of a 15-year-old boy, none of the other men have been named).
It’s often terrifying what goes on behind closed doors; worse when it involves children. Especially when those perpetrating the crimes are people in a position of trust. I wanted to write a story that deals with that kind of betrayal of trust, of a man responsible for inflicting both joy and pain in children; someone capable of using his hands to create as well as destroy. So, in a way, it’s about the destruction of innocence.
2. What does horror mean to you?
Horror is life. Every horror story, whether it be short story, novel or movie, is a reflection and examination of our fears. We didn’t make up the bogeyman; the bogeyman already exists in our collective and personal fears under various guises. We use storytelling merely as a vehicle to help us come to terms with these fears, to better understand why we’re afraid of the dark, death or spiders. Also as a way to deal with these fears in a safe way. Reading a horror story or watching a horror movie is a catharsis. So you could also say horror is comfort.
3. What’s a horror short story that you think everyone should read?
“The Lottery”, by Shirley Jackson
4. What horror novel should everyone read?
I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
5. Name something that you think just might be real, or might not…
Zombies. In Haiti there’s a long-standing belief that the dead can, and often do, come back from the dead through the power of witchcraft. There are many tales that supposedly confirm the existence of zombies, including a famous story told by American adventurer and writer, William Seabrook. He claimed to have met three zombies working in a cotton field in the 1920s. He observed: ‘The eyes were the worst. They were in truth like the eyes of a dead man.’
Then there’s the account of well-known anthropologist and author, Zora Neale Thurston, who said, after travelling to the Caribbean country in the late 1930s: ‘I saw the case, and I know that there are zombies in Haiti’. If you’re curious about the case she’s referring to, look up the name Felicia Felix-Mentor. There’s even a photo of the alleged zombie, and if you’re not convinced about the real-life existence of zombies after reading the story of poor Ms Felix-Mentor, then surely seeing the unnerving photo will.
Or maybe zombies are really just people whose minds have been badly distorted through use of the zombie cucumber, coupled with an ingrained fear and belief of local superstition…
Previous posts in the Blurring The Line interview series:
Lia Swope Mitchell
Gregory L Norris
Steven Lloyd Wilson
James A Moore
Alex C Renwick
Lisa L Hannett
Kealan Patrick Burke