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Author Ania Ahlborn answers 7 Deadly Questions about her dark thriller SEED

June 11, 2011

Arts & Literature, Interviews

Written by R. A. Evans

1. In your debut novel SEED, you follow the plight of Jack Winter as he tries to keep one step ahead of a darkness that has haunted him since his childhood. When this unseen entity trains its eye upon his daughter, Winter finds himself fighting for her very life…and soul. Talk to me about your inspiration for this devilish tale.

Hi R.A. First off, thanks for having me. I’ve been excited to appear on your site for quite some time.

As far as inspiration goes, my mother puts it best when she says that I ‘like the weird things.’ What she doesn’t know is that she had a hand in turning me into the spooky girl that I am today. I’ve always been drawn to horror. When I was a kid, my cousin and I would watch any scary movie we could get our hands on. A couple I remember specifically are Troll and Dolls—Dolls pretty much scarred me for life. Imagine my surprise when my mom started buying me porcelain dolls as Christmas presents.

But watching The Exorcist in a dark and empty house is what really shaped me as a writer. I was maybe nine or ten, my parents had gone to a New Years Eve party, and my cousin and I were left to fend for ourselves. We decided to ‘fend’ by watching a movie that still scares me to this day. Ever since then, I’ve been drawn to stories of demonic possession. Because I’m a fan of these types of stories, I naturally gravitate toward them in what I read and watch, and let me tell you, I’m almost always left disappointed. There’s something about demonic possession that can go from scary to hilarious in a blink, and most of the books and movies that tackle this particular subject lose it at the end. The scale tips just a little too far and it goes from terrifying to camp. My goal with Seed was to keep that from happening. In essence, I wanted to write the possession story I’ve been dying to read but haven’t been able to find.

You know the saying… sometimes you have to write it yourself.

2. With so much competition as an author, you have to do everything possible to make your title jump off the shelf. The cover art for SEED does just that. Is this your vision for the story?

I can’t take all the credit for the cover art. My cover artist, Jeroen Ten Berg, is awesome at what he does. He actually read my manuscript before coming up with the idea for the cover, and when he showed me the first prototype I was surprised at how close our visions were. I had imagined a cemetery on the cover just as he had, a lonely run-down cemetery being one of the central images in the book. We added the tree and fiery color scheme a bit later, but as soon as I saw the finished product I got that ‘this is it’ feeling. I think the cover conveys a sense of the story perfectly, and I love the symbolism of the tree and it’s roots—branches reaching up toward heaven, roots reaching down toward hell. I couldn’t be happier with it.

3. As an author myself, I understand the balancing act involved with writing horror that involves young children. Are there certain lines you will not cross, and, if so, did you brush up against them with SEED?

As weird as it sounds, I’m not big on gore. I don’t like it in movies and I’m not a fan of its blatant use in books. That being said, I think I approach horror a bit differently than others. I like to keep things subtle, subdued… I’m a fan of unnerving a reader rather than shocking them right out of the gate. It’s difficult to ‘cross the line’ and stay true to that subtlety all at once.

Are there parts of Seed that will raise eyebrows? Sure. It’s horror. Did I cross a few lines that other writers probably wouldn’t have? I think that maybe I have. And yes, there’s blood, but it’s all for ‘the cause’. Sometimes I wonder about how my own mother will look at me after she reads my book; that probably answers your question best.

4. Your bio includes a tip of your hat to Stephen King as one of your favorite authors. Talk to me about how what you read influences how and what you write?

I think that on a subconscious level, we’re all influenced by anything and everything around us, whether it’s the books we read or the movies we watch. I tip my hat to King in my bio, but he also crept into the book itself. That doesn’t surprise me because I was reading King while writing Seed. I like tossing in little details that fans of a particular author or movie will pick up on and appreciate. I think it’s a way to ground a piece of work in reality rather than allowing it to hover somewhere out there in the darkness of cyberspace. I’ve heard quite a few writers say that they shy away from referencing brand names like Ford or Sharpie or Lucky Charms. I think it’s fair to assume that they also stay away from referencing authors or movies. I don’t really understand the point of staying away from it. These things surround us; it’s our life, so why avoid them when these details can pull a reader even deeper into the story itself?

5. What do you think happens to the soul after death?

If I had to choose one particular belief, I think I’d go with reincarnation. I’m one of those people who is drawn to certain things and places, and maybe that’s just my kind of spiritualism, but I tend to believe that maybe I’ve been around for longer than I know. For example, we were at the MET in NYC one year and they had an Ancient Egyptian exhibit. One of the things they had on display was a child’s stained shirt. It was old and yellow and threadbare. People were glancing at it and going on their merry way. I got stuck there. I stood in front of that shirt for what felt like hours, just staring at it like I knew who it belonged to. It was a really eerie feeling, staring at something and feeling connected to it without knowing why.

The same thing happens to me with certain destinations. I could taste the history in Louisiana; half the time I felt like I was seeing it through someone else’s eyes. Prague is another one. I’ve never been there, but I have to go. Looking at photos of Prague makes me feel homesick even though I’ve never set foot in the Czech Republic.

So, I’ll go with reincarnation… because it makes me feel a little less crazy.

6. Seed hits the shelves today – which means right now people are buying your book! Talk to me about what that feels like.

It feels liberating. Like most authors, I’ve been under the impression that I ‘needed’ an agent and publisher for the past decade. What was once true is now a myth. It feels amazing to have put this entire project together on my own, from a blinking cursor on a blank screen to actually selling copies of my book to people all over the world. So yeah, it feels awesome—a dream come true.

But at the same time, I’m not basking in the glory of it. I know it’s going to be a long and hard road, and I’ve already started work on my next novel. I’m impatient. If someone does pick up Seed and likes it, they’ll hopefully be excited to see what I have coming up next. I don’t like waiting, and I don’t want my readers to have to wait either.

7. Where can readers go to learn more about you?

I’m like the newest web virus; I’m everywhere. I’m on Twitter @aniaahlborn, I have a Facebook and Goodreads author page, there’s my site, AniaAhlborn.com, and my blog, 21st Century Author, were I tend to go a bit crazy with my big mouth and my endless opinions. I love connecting with readers, I love answering questions and hearing what people have to say about my work. The easiest way to get all those links in one place is to go to www.AniaAhlborn.com and hit the ‘About’ section. They’re all there, along with my email address, which I’ll be personally responding to until I hit the big time and move to the Maldives.

Pick up a copy of SEED today by visiting:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

About Ania

Born in Ciechanow Poland, Ania has always been drawn to the darker, mysterious, and sometimes morbid sides of life. Her earliest childhood memory is of crawling through a hole in the chain link fence that separated her family home from the large wooded cemetery next door. She’d spend hours among the headstones, breaking up bouquets of silk flowers so that everyone had their equal share.

Beyond writing, Ania enjoys gourmet cooking, baking, movies, drawing, and traveling. She currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband and two dogs, Beau the Scottie and Galaxy the Yorkie.

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