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Welcome to the “Behind the Shadows” series of blog posts, where every week we will share a peek inside the minds of our authors and learn about the inspirations behind their contributions. This week, we check in with Josh Malerman on his story, “A Fiddlehead Party on Carpenter’s Farm.”

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We’re all excited by the prospect of a new monster. Something rotten that’s never been seen before, the story of a beast that’s never been told. And yet, we’re all watchful: How hard are they trying to do something different? Too hard? And does that show? Us horror fans are always rooting for the writer imagining these fresh scares, but we’re not without our limits. A haunted filing cabinet, though fun, possibly doesn’t sound scary enough. A mother who dresses up as a father who dresses up as a mother might sound better but maybe that’s a bit too convoluted for us, too. Or maybe they all work and, fuck it, it’s just a matter of how it’s done. The thing about searching the landscape for new monsters is that you’ve got to read a lot of horror to know the monsters that already exist. And by reading those stories, you can’t help but be influenced by what you’ve read. As joyful as that is… you can see the conundrum. I want to write a story just like she did but nothing like she did at all! So we search… way back… in the best place, that area of you that fell in love with horror to begin with, that place we all leave (all the time, for no good reason) and struggle to find our way back. So far from our birth-site, we’re lost! But we return, always, and once we do we’re like A HA! THIS IS WHERE I GO TO MEET NEW MONSTERS! I’d forgotten all about this place.

For me, that place is sometimes a farm. It’s owned by a man named Carpenter and Carpenter is just discovering that the crops he’s growing aren’t the crops he thinks he’s growing. Rather than beets, he’s growing points of view. Yes, often, if I’m trying to get away from the noise my own wheels make, I seek refuge on Carpenter’s Farm, where there are fields of perspective, fields of mood. And this, I realize, is something that scares me: Growing monsters. Because, of course, states of mind are the most monstrous thing we’ll ever know. I hate myself. There’s a bad one. I’m not as pretty as her, as good as her. That’s a bad one, too. But maybe out there on Carpenter’s Farm I can eat a little Self-Confidence and get rid of those nasty perspectives. Maybe out there I can eat enough Calm to get rid of the shakes. Thing is (and this is the monster, yeah?) you can never be sure which crop you’re eating, even out there in your favorite place, the place you go to seek refuge from the noise your own wheels make. And yet… we’re willing to risk it. I sure as shit am. And so it struck me (and strikes me yet): Perspective is a monster. Mood is scarier than a werewolf. Worldview is more haunting than a ghost. So then can’t I, as horror author, swap them out… or combine the two?

That clicks, for me, out there in the place I was born. Horror-born. And that’s the path I took to writing “A Fiddlehead Party on Carpenter’s Farm.”

The moment I realized my Worry and my Fear are more monstrous than the monsters out here.

– Josh

 

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Josh Malerman is the author of Bird Box and “Ghastle and Yule,” as well as the singer/songwriter for the High Strung. He lives in Ferndale, Michigan with his fiancée Allison Laakko. Learn more about Josh and his work at www.facebook.com/JoshMalerman or follow him on Twitter, @JoshMalerman.

Josh’s story appears in Shadows Over Main Street from Hazardous Press, available now: http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Over-Main-Street-Lovecraftian-ebook/dp/B00SXHSYUK/ref=zg_bs_tab_pd_bsnr_3

For regular updates on the book, please join us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ShadowsOverMainStreet

(SHADOWS OVER MAIN STREET: An Anthology of Small-Town Lovecraftian Terror, edited by Doug Murano & D. Alexander Ward, coming soon from Hazardous Press)

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For a final and fitting addition to the anthology, we give you Josh Malerman, who will be contributing his nasty little story, “A Fiddlehead Party on Carpenter’s Farm.” You may recognize him as the lead singer of the The High Strung or possibly as the author of the acclaimed novel, Bird Box.

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We’re happy as hell to have Josh join us in the shadows. Bid him a warm welcome!

Shadows Over Main Street includes…

Foreword: Lovecraft’s Longest Shadow by Ramsey Campbell; The 21st Century Shadow – Stephanie Wytovich; Χταπόδι Σαλάτα – Nick Mamatas; The Black Pyramid – Kevin Lucia; Mountaintown – Chesya Burke; This Stagnant Breath of Change – Brian Hodge; The Floodgates of Willowhill – Mary SanGiovanni; Odd Quahogs – James Chambers; The Thing with a Thousand Legs – Tim Curran; Undergrounders – Aaron Polson; The Flesh or the Father – T. Fox Dunham; White Picket Fences – Richard Thomas; The Friendless Bodies of Unburied Men – Gary Braunbeck; Estranged – Adrian Ludens; Red Hill – Rena Mason; The Abomination of Fensmere – Lucy A. Snyder; The Crisis – Cameron Suey; A Fiddlehead Party on Carpenter’s Farm – Josh Malerman; The Ogre – Lisa Morton; Boss Cthulhu – Jay Wilburn; Homecoming – John Sunseri

 Cover art by Luke Spooner. Interior illustrations from Paul Carrick, Vincent Chong, John Coulthart, Galen Dara and M. Fersner.

 

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