Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Bloodlines: Four Tales of Familial Fear! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the anthology’s theme and premise?
Christopher O’Halloran: Bloodlines is this punk production put together by four members of HOWL Society, the internet’s largest and most active horror reading/writing group. The collection is comprised of four novelettes dealing with the theme of family and the complications that come with such intimate relationships. Like any great story, there’s a lot of pain—but also some catharsis. Some stories have more of one than the other…
BD: What can you tell us about your creative process in working with your collaborators, and what (or who) were some of your creative influences for the project?
COH: There’s so much love between us all. We have a group chat that is always full of new messages ranging in content from daily gripes about our day-jobs to actual productive discussion about the project! The creative process was surprisingly simple and pain-free. We wrote the stories, provided notes, and created a game plan that we could all agree with. Having a small group of four is likely what kept the process fun instead of having a full-length anthology without an editor and 15-20 authors fighting each other to get their ideas heard. Whenever a decision needed to be made, we solved it quickly so we could get back to the important things: figuring out how to get rich off of obscure crypto-coins while simultaneously ridiculing the whole concept of them.
As for influences, our styles vary fairly wildly, and I think that shows in the stories. Despite the cohesion in theme, each story very much is a product of our individual personalities. My own personal influences lean heavily on King’s character work with my new obsessions like Stephen Graham Jones, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, and Christopher Buehlman providing more flavour. The other guys lean more into the weird, embracing the writings of Thomas Ligotti, Jon Padgett, and Laird Barron, not to mention classic authors like Shirley Jackson and Edgar Allen Poe.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Bloodlines’ stories will connect with and impact readers?
COH: First and foremost, this is a horror collection. We want to scare and unnerve, provoke strong emotions, and leave lasting images with readers. I think these characters and the struggles they go through dealing with family in various forms will resonate with many. We’ve all got issues with the people who raised us. Hopefully, it all hits home in a way that provides some relief. Hopefully, our readers feel seen and understood and a little less alone.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
COH: I’m going to have a few stories published in 2022! Close on the heels of Bloodlines will be my short story, “Jaws,” in The Dread Machine’s debut anthology, Mixtape: 1986. Then in the summer, my medieval short horror, “The Lady of Leer Castle,” will be included in HOWL Society’s second anthology, Howls from the Dark Ages, with a foreword by Christopher Buehlman. I’ve also been talking with agents about my debut novel, Pushing Daisy, and finishing up my second novel, Echoes.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Bloodlines and your other work?
COH: You can check the four of us out on Twitter:
Christopher O’Halloran - @BurgleInfernal
Antony Frost - @antonyrfrost
Carson Winter - @CarsonWinter3
Alex Wolfgang - @AlexWolfgang92
And for more from me personally, you can read stories, reviews, and interviews at COAuthor.ca.