For many fans of fiction writing, the horror genre is exciting, tense and leaves uncomfortable impressions regarding characters set in everyday life. For Calgary-based author Mike Thorn, the uncomfortable nature of the horror genre is what inspired him and his debut novel Shelter for the Damned.
“With this short novel, Thorn tackles unknown sentient horrors, teenage rage, violence, and toxic masculinity in a stunning and intimate debut.”
What inspired Shelter for the Damned?
Like most creative projects, Shelter for the Damned took inspiration from numerous places. I wanted to write something in the suburban horror tradition, and I wanted to write something with adolescent characters. I drew a lot on the novels of Hubert Selby Jr. and Jim Thompson, specifically their pessimism and their unblinking commitment to disturbed protagonists devoured by their own demons …
“The novel’s pacing is relentless. You may find yourself breathing only during page turns. Thorn has a real knack for building intensity to a fever pitch and letting the effect carry over into the action. His prose is smooth and his dialogue stretches the anger of juvenile angst without forcing it into unnatural banter. What’s really terrifying about this novel is its fidelity to the suburban experience—that is, what’s scary is how realistic so much of it is.”
“Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to be a writer?
I can’t remember a time before I started writing. For better or worse, it has been a lifelong impulse. I was always drawn to reading, which is probably where my interest in writing originated. As a kid, I was excited by fantasy and horror (J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and R. L. Stine when I was quite young, and then Stephen King when I got a little older).”