2020 Snapshot: Aaron Dries

Australian author, artist, and award-winning filmmaker Aaron Dries “helps lead a new generation of Splatterpunk for a new dark age” (Brian Keene, author of The Rising). His debut novel House of Sighs was written whilst back-packing through South East Asia, including Thailand, where inspiration struck for his book A Place For Sinners. Aaron won the Leisure Books/ChiZine/Rue Morgue Magazine Fresh Blood contest, and later released The Fallen Boys, described by filmmaker Mick Garris (director of Stephen King’s The Stand and Masters of Horror) as “beautiful and brutal”. He collaborated with Mark Allan Gunnells on the apocalyptic thriller Where the Dead Go to Die, and recently published the novellas And the Night Growled Back (Cemetery Dance) and The Sound of His Bones Breaking(Crystal Lake Publishing). His short fiction has appeared in numerous horror anthologies. He is currently at work on a new novel and multiple screenplays. For more information visit aarondries.com or contact him on Twitter @AaronDries 

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

My most recent publications were the re-releases of my novel A Place for Sinners (Poltergeist Press) and a novella, And the Night Growled Back (Cemetery Dance), and the response has been overwhelming. I’m so glad that these incredibly weird and violent morality tales have found an audience. Coming up, I’ve just sold a collection of short stories called Cut to Care: A Collection of Little Hurts, which is also being developed as a television series. And I’ve been working extensively with a fantastic creative crew on a film adaptation of my first novel, House of Sighs. More news on that soon! These are exciting, busy times.

2. What has been the best publishing experience of your career so far?

The best publishing experience of my life so far is a loaded question. Like many others, I’ve ridden the highs and lows of the business. But to be honest, the best publishing experience of my life was an act of spontaneous, warm-hearted support from my editor/publisher at a crowded reading of mine when I was at the Scares That Care Convention in the United States last year. We were launching the re-release of A Place for Sinners and I was doing a midnight reading. The turnout was enormous. I had the idea of making the reading interactive, and Anna, one of the owners of Poltergeist Press, jumped on the idea immediately. Midway through my reading, we killed the lights and Anna emerged from the dark in costume, acting out my words as I read along by the light of a small lamp and an audio system playing sound effects. She was dressed in black from head to toe, adorned with fairy lights, and wielding a fake machete. It was a sight to see! For me, this act of support meant the world. Anna jumped off the cliff with me, determined to grow her wings on the way down. I’ve had great publishing experiences in my life, but none made my content feel so respected and beloved, as that single act. And the crowd went WILD for it, too.

3. Which recent Australian/NZ work would you recommend to international fans interested in expanding their Antipodean spec fic knowledge? 

I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight the novel The Invasion by Brett McBean. McBean is one of Australia’s most visceral, unnerving writers – and this novel, released in 2015, shows you why. It begins with a central image that haunts me still, and which crosses my mind frequently… “There is something ominous about a front porch light glowing in the daytime. It speaks of a place left in limbo, of lives interrupted and of simple, everyday tasks forgotten.” What ensues is a bleak, heart-pounding home-invasion novel that takes no prisoners. McBean doesn’t flinch. Ever. Glorious horror, for sure, cinematic in its beats and literary in merit. I loved it.

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