Niall and I first met as undergrads at Mount Royal University. From what I remember, we first connected through our mutual love of film, either through a course or a club of some kind. It wasn’t long before I learned that Niall was also a fiction writer, and we started exchanging excerpts from our works-in-progress. Niall’s rare, formidable talent was immediately evident to me—I saw in all his work a unique sense of humour and a mastery of pacing, plot and voice. After reading his phenomenal debut novel Only Pretty Damned (available now through NeWest Press), I reached out asking if he’d like to do a Q&A. He kindly agreed, and the dialogue below is the result of our email exchanges.
For episode 376, Tales to Terrify has released its audio adaptation of Mike Thorn’s latest short story “@GorgoYama2013” (read by Spencer DiSparti).
Also featured on this episode: part 2 of Drew Sebesteny reading Arthur Machen’s genre classic The Great God Pan.
“I truly enjoyed reading this book. It is evident through his writing that Thorn has a true love for the horror genre. Each of the stories were distinct and well thought out. He can write subtle horror and then switch to something weird and morbid. He masterfully uses imagery to make his fictional work all that more realistic and disturbing. But he also leaves a lot up to the reader’s own imagination, which doesn’t always work, but in this case it was beautifully executed.”
Josiah Morgan and I have been online acquaintances for several years, bonding initially over our mutual passion for film. I recently read his debut poetry collection Inside the Castle and was stunned by its formal sophistication, thematic complexity and breadth of reference. I sent him a message asking if he would like to publish a chat with me about writing, genre and influences, and he kindly agreed.
“Darkest Hours is brutal. I mean that in the best way possible. The stories here range from cosmic horror to real horror and everything in between. I, myself, am a massive fan of heavy music and it was great seeing stories interjected with death and black metal imagery and references.”
As 2018 ends and 2019 begins, I’m unbelievably grateful to see some book reviewers listing Darkest Hours as one of their favorite books of the year.
Check out the full lists:
Mike Thorn’s latest story “Mr. Mucata’s Final Requests” was published today in Vague Visages.
I just happen to currently have some extra copies of Darkest Hours I’m willing to sign and mail out (with one surprise spooky bonus item per shipment). $18 USD + shipping.
“Perfectly paced from the first sentence, these stories grab you by the collar with the urgency of mortal danger. Highly recommended.”
— Bram Stoker Award nominee S.P. Miskowski, author of Strange is the Night
“Thorn presents a collection of horror stories that are not only scary, but also intelligent, thoughtful, and carefully planned confronting the anxieties of modern life.”
“Just read the opener, ‘Hair’ and became an instant fan. How can you not delight in a story about a metalhead fixated on long hair who starts obsessively eating it until hair begins to… um, well, buy Darkest Hours now and find out.”
— Bram Stoker Award winner Michael Arnzen, author of Grave Markings
“When you first encounter Thorn’s writing, a number of qualities impress themselves: the macabre intelligence (brutal really), the chilling wit, the naturalness of the dialogue. Plus there’s the skill and style of the prose. It may all play out like a nightmare, but a terrible logic remains inherent.”
— Robert Dunbar, author of The Pines and Willy
“These short stories show the author’s incredible range and versatility.”
—Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann
“Fast, fun and full of fear, Darkest Hours turns on a dime from a laugh to a scream. Terrifying and sly, Mike Thorn writes with refreshing originality and hides fangs behind a smile.”
— John C. Foster, author of Mister White
“Mike Thorn’s debut story collection is not to be missed by those who enjoy an academic intellect with a potent flair for fiction.”
— Dustin LaValley, author of A Soundless Dawn
“Take a dollop of Michael A. Arnzen and Brian Evenson’s quirky styles, and add a pinch of Mark Twain, stir well and let bubble, and you have a sense of Mike Thorn’s stories.”
— Bram Stoker Award winner Marge Simon, author of Four Elements and Satan’s Sweethearts
“One of the best and most rewarding feelings as a horror fan is reading a new author’s work and being blown away by their talent and the awe of discovering something cool. That is the exact feeling I got when I first sat down to crack open Mike Thorn’s debut story collection, Darkest Hours.”
— The Horror Bookshelf
“I think Mike Thorn is an author to watch. I think he’s going to do great things in the world of horror and dark fiction, and I for one, will be there to watch it. Will you?”
— Char’s Horror Corner
“Darkest Hours is for readers wishing to take a thrilling walk on the dark side. Mike Thorn has delivered a promising debut with this collection showing off his commitment to stories of nuance, heart, and of course… darkness.”
— Daniel Braum, author of The Night Marchers and Other Strange Tales
“Darkest Hours is a varied and hugely enjoyable gathering of dark fiction. There is more than enough talent showcased within these pages to suggest that Mike Thorn’s journey has only just begun.”
— Grim Reader Reviews
“Darkest Hours is horror for horror people. For the ‘confirmed ghost story and horror film addict,’ if you will. But it’s also for people with strong emotions and a desire for philosophical thought.”
— One Critical Bitch
“There are times in Thorn’s prose where I’m reminded not only of some of the best Stephen King from Skeleton Crew or Night Shift, but also of some of the more bizarre stories from Clive Barker’s Books of Blood.”
— Biff Bam Pop
“The stories are clever and witty. The characters are all too real.”
— Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews
“Mike Thorn’s Darkest Hours contains the most diverse selection of stories that I’ve ever read from a single author.”
— Sci-Fi & Scary