I first stumbled upon Kaaron Warren via her story “Bone Dog”, which she had submitted to my partner Cat Sparks for possible inclusion in the second Agog! anthology, Agog! Terrific Tales (Agog! Press, 2003). It was a perverse, nasty tale that begins with these words:
In the porn industry, models don’t usually get to choose the venue for photo shoots. I guess ‘Fat Slits’ has to be a bit more flexible than other magazines; some of us can’t get too far from home.
The story was as outlandish as this opening suggests: beautifully written, intelligent and mind-numbing — and clearly the work of some sort of crack-addled goth chick. Cat accepted it at once. When I finally met Kaaron, probably at the launch of the book, I wasn’t prepared for the suburban mom she turned out to be. Of course in time this image was revealed to be a façade, hiding a bent imagination made all the more effectively grotesque by her tight grasp on the ordinary details — and perversities — of life. These days she’s had many stories published, has won awards and has produced an excellent collection, The Glass Woman (Prime Books, 2008). She’s still a great mum, too, as well as a smart, generous and open-hearted friend and a lovely person all round.
I was excited — and a little jealous — when I heard that she’d sold not one, but three novels to the new, high-profile UK imprint Angry Robot. Horror fiction is about to receive a massive shot in the arm.
Her first novel is due to be released in July in Australia — and subsequently elsewhere. It is called Slights and if the cover below isn’t enough to get you going, you need to be slapped.
I interviewed Kaaron about her new book, her view of the genre and much else besides:
I tend to write in worlds which are just a side-step from ours. That way, anything is possible. I like the freedom of story-telling that gives me. I like to write from the inside, not as an observer or a questioner. Those characters have a role in many stories, but to me they can lessen the emotional nature of story-telling because they are always questioning, which means they are not understanding.
I’ve set stories in Fiji inspired by the great mounds of rotting cars along the side of the road. Also by the huge trees with massive, flat based foliage which the locals say are haunted. I’m planning a ‘cursed village’ story, which again I think will be written by an outsider. The thing is, the people of that village, and all the locals who talk about it, accept the curse as fact. Which is an interesting way to write a story, but not so dramatic.
Read the whole interview here.