As we wrap up celebrating Women in Horror month, we’re reminded of all of the interviews we’ve done this month with so many kick ass women out there in various aspects in the horror genre. One of those women is Meg Hafdahl. She is the author of one of my favorite books, Her Dark Inheritance. She also co-hosts one of my favorite horror podcast, Horror Rewind. Let’s find out more about Meg Hafdahl!
PopHorror: Thank you so much, Meg, for speaking with us. Let’s start with the inevitable question. How long have you been writing?
Meg Hafdahl: Since childhood! I’ve loved to read and create stories since I can remember. So I studied creative writing and literature in college. I got the opportunity to write for my local paper and co-write plays as a teen and into my twenties.
PopHorror: That sounds like a solid basis for becoming a great writer! What was your first story?
Meg Hafdahl: I’ve always enjoyed the short story form, so I wrote quite a few of those growing up. They usually had a dark edge to them, as I’ve naturally had a gothic sensibility. A popular story I wrote in college was about a mom compelled to abandon her family. I later took aspects of that character and put her into my book, Twisted Reveries.
PopHorror: I am a super fan of short stories! What was your first story published?
Meg Hafdahl: “Willoughby” in Eve’s Requiem: Tales of Women, Mystery and Horror. This story started my career as an author, and it takes place in the same creepy town as Her Dark Inheritance.
PopHorror: Willoughby is a creepy town for sure! How did you develop the idea for Her Dark Inheritance?
Meg Hafdahl: Because it was my first novel, something I’ve always wanted to achieve, it was developed over many years in my mind. My creative process usually starts with the character I’m creating. Daphne just came to me. Then I knew I wanted a dash of Lizzie Borden as well as some rural gothic elements. It all came together into a book I’m really proud of.
PopHorror: You should be extremely proud of this book. It is just so detailed and so real. It feels like you are in real time with the characters. About how long did it take you to write it?
Meg Hafdahl: Less than a year for the initial draft. Of course, once it was sent to the developmental editors at Inklings Publishing, it needed a lot of polish and work.
PopHorror: I’m glad you bring up the point of polish and work. As readers and writers, we tend to sometimes forget that the initial draft is rough and is not the polished work at the end. There is a lot of work in editing. Is there any of you or someone you know in Daphne and the other characters?
Meg Hafdahl: Oh, yeah! Like most writers, I inject myself and my loved ones into my characters. I share some similarities with Daphne, including a sensitive stomach! And Edwin, her love interest, reminds me of my husband sometimes. They have the same nervous energy.
PopHorror: I can definitely relate to the sensitive stomach! It is interesting how characteristics from people in real life can be developed into fictional characters. Would you say you are a panster or plotter?
Meg Hafdahl: I am definitely a panster. Everyone is different, but for me, I need some excitement and intrigue when I write. If I’ve created a fully-realized world and authentic characters, then they lead me where I need to go. I’ve tried being organized, plotting and outlining, and quite frankly, it makes me bored! I want to wonder what’s going to happen next, just like my readers!
PopHorror: I love to hear that! I have tried to outline, and I just can’t seem to do that. Do you have a writing routine? Music? Snacks?
Meg Hafdahl: I’m a fan of silence. Music can be distracting to me, which I know is the opposite for many other creative people. I try to write only a few hours a day, no more than four or so. If I go too hard, I start to lose focus, and my creative spark dies. Also, coffee. LOTS of coffee!
PopHorror: I am the same, as far as silence. I know that a lot of creative people need music to create. I also agree that if it is more than four, you get tired and burnt out. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Meg Hafdahl: Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, the Bronte Sisters, Joe Hill, Kate Morton. I love to read classics but also keep up with modern authors.
PopHorror: That is me as well! I try to read a classic book, and then a more modern book. What book made you want to be an author?
Meg Hafdahl: When I was little, the book Matilda by Roald Dahl resonated with me, and I wanted to create a character and world like that. My future as an author was solidified when I read Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier as a teenager. DuMaurier’s gothic setting and her artful language made me so excited about writing.
PopHorror: Rebecca is a book on my TBR right now actually. I am excited to read that one, especially after your description! Let’s switch gears. Do you have a favorite horror movie villain?
Meg Hafdahl: Well, I’m the co-host of Horror Rewind, a horror movie podcast, so we discuss this often! I’m a big fan of Jack Torrance in The Shining, as there is this complicated mix of psychology and supernatural. I also can’t help but love Norman Bates.
PopHorror: I am a big fan of Horror Rewind! I am always suggesting it to others! Jack Torrance and Norman Bates are definitely in my top ten. What do you have coming up?
Meg Hafdahl: The sequel to Her Dark Inheritance is coming March 30th. It’s called Daughters of Darkness. I’ve been getting a great response from those reading the advanced copies, which is a relief, because the second book in a series can be a nerve-wracking thing to put out in the world!
Also, I co-wrote a non-fiction book, The Science of Monsters, which is a cross between horror film history and science, so that’s been a fun experience. That book will come out in time for Halloween this year from Skyhorse Publishing. And my work continues to appear on the phenomenally produced fiction horror podcasts, The Lift and The Wicked Library.
Meg Hafdahl: I can’t wait for Daughters of Darkness! The Science of Monsters sounds fun! I’ll be sure to check that one out as well. I’ll be sure to check out The Lift and The Wicked Library! Thank you so much for chatting with us!
I want to thank Meg Hafdahl for her time and let her know that I enjoyed getting to know her better. Be sure to check out Meg Hafdahl on Facebook and her website, Meg Hafdahl. Be sure to check out her works on Amazon and give her a follow there, too. Take a listen to Horror Rewind, you won’t be disappointed.