Wednesday, May 29, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with Ania Ahlborn

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of genre fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions, but they may only answer 7.

This week's guest is Ania Ahlborn.


If You See Her available here
Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what? Is it different than what you listen to when you're not writing?

AA: It depends on the day, but most of the time I do; typically soundtracks, because I find them less distracting. My current favorite is the soundtrack to The Witch. It’s just absolutely eerie. Is this different from what I listen to when I’m not writing? Well, let’s see…I listened to a bunch of Spongebob Squarepants Christmas songs this afternoon, and it’s May.

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

AA: I used to go all-out for Halloween, not so much in recent years. One year, my husband and I were Lydia Deetz and Beetlejuice, which was a lot of fun. There was another year where I spent weeks constructing my costume. It was kind of an Alice in Wonderlandesque dark queen thing, where I had constructed this massive collar that sat on my shoulders in an explosion of (fake) black peacock feathers. It was pretty epic.

Are you most afraid of ghosts, aliens, or clowns, and why?

AA: Aliens. I’ve never fully understood coulrophobia, and while I do think the philosophy behind the existence of ghosts is pretty unnerving, aliens take the cake. I mean, think about it. Our universe is practically infinite. What are the odds that we’re the only ones in it? Zero to none. We have a photo of a black hole now. A black hole! What’s in there? (You’re going to say nothing, but my brain doesn’t work that way.) What’s beyond it? (Don’t make me say it again.) What if there are alternate dimensions? What if that movie, Fire in the Sky, is accurate? Remember that movie? God, that movie gave me the creeps.

Brother available here
Have you traveled outside your home country, and if so, where? Where would you like to go that you haven't been yet?

AA: Yes! I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled the world quite a bit. I was born in Poland and went back to visit with my parents when I was in junior high. Beyond that, I’ve been to Canada, Mexico, France, Italy, Belgium, England, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Czechia. There are so many more places I’d love to visit. Scandinavia. Greece. Croatia. Romania (Transylvania, of course). The Philippines. French Polynesia. The list goes on and on…

What is your writing environment like? (Are you out in public or in seclusion? Is there noise? Is there coffee? Do you type on a laptop or write longhand on lined notebook paper?)

AA: I used to be a desk person. Then I turned into a couch person. And now that I’m a mom, I’m a how-much-time-before-nap-time-is-over person. I have a little corner in a room of our house that we’ve dubbed ‘the sitting room’, where I sit in an Ikea rocking chair with my feet up on an ottoman and my laptop on my lap. A latte (not a coffee, but an actual latte that comes from my espresso machine, which I love as much as Gollum loved his ring) is never out of reach. Or an iced coffee…and, of course, that damn baby monitor.

What's the most disgusting thing about the human body?

AA: Oh my’re asking someone who went through the experience of birthing a human being and then having to live through the after-effects. If you’re a woman and haven’t had a baby, or if you’re a dude, you have no idea the level of disgusting the human body can achieve. I mean, it’s brutal.

And after that awesome lead-in, let’s just go with poop.

What's your secret?

AA: This is the part where I’m supposed to say, “if I told you, I’d have to kill you!” with a I’m-hilarious chortle, right? Comedy!

My secret is that I have no secret. I don’t know what I’m doing 99% of the time for 99% of the things. My second secret is that I’m super boring and quite introverted and, you know, just leave me to watch Netflix on my couch, okay? My third secret is that I have no secrets. Seriously, I overshare way too easily. Does it show?


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. She'd spend hours among the headstones, breaking up bouquets of silk flowers so that everyone had their equal share.

Ania's first novel, SEED, was self-published. It clawed its way up the Amazon charts to the number one horror spot, earning her a multi-book deal and a key to the kingdom of the macabre. Seven years later, her work has been lauded by the likes of Publishers Weekly, New York Daily News, and the New York Times.

She hopes to one day be invited to dinner at Stephen King's place, where she will immediately be crushed beneath the weight of her imposter syndrome.