Living in a nest of creativity in Western Australia, Ashlee shares her space with the husband and other family, human and animal alike. Her stories are usually fantastical with a darker element, since faeries are fun and there’s nothing like a story with a good sense of tragedy.
Ashlee has been writing for over a decade, but is only just dipping her toes into the heady waters of publishing. She is especially proud to be one of the judges for The 2013 Australian Horror Writers Association Short Story and Flash Fiction Competition.
Her author website highlights the unusual combination of thoughts she has about the real world. Find Ashlee Scheuerman online.
What first attracted you to horror writing?
Probably obsessively reading the Goosebumps series by RL Stein when I was nine or ten years old. While I consider myself somewhat brave and difficult to startle in reality, I have the curious talent of being anxious over the most unlikely things, which translates very well to being a horror reader and writer as I see frightening potential inside innocuous things. Despite such an early fandom of the genre, I didn’t start out writing horror; my first love will always be fantasy. Looking back over early work, I discover veins of darkness in most of my tales. Once I began studying psychology and learning how fear works in the human mind and body, my attachment to crafting horror was cemented.
What is your most notable work?
My debut novel, The Damning Moths, coming out soon through World Ender! The story kicks off the Snowflesh Trilogy, with many more interconnected tales to follow. This series lives in the genre of dark fantasy and will contain stunning illustrations by Ty Scheuerman. Visit The Damning Moths website for more information, and subscribe to the free newsletter to be informed of new releases and exclusive offers.
The process of writing TDM was a steep learning curve for me, mostly because the series will span so far, and I used to be hopeless with organisation. Note the past tense, there. Understanding the scope of these stories forced me to find a method of tracking all this information accurately; I discovered how to plot all the important bits well in advance. I have inadvertently been building the world these books are set in for many, many years, but I was a ‘write by the seat of my pants’ lady for so long. Learning how to maintain control over something so vast has been just as incredible as the writing itself, and I am so excited and proud to release this book.
I’ve just about wrapped up a prequel novella to TDM, which is designed to be available for free to subscribers of The Damning Moths newsletter. The novella is, in a lot of ways, more on the horror side of dark fantasy. Being a shorter story gave me the freedom to hit harder without needing to worry so much about the incidentals in a full length novel. I’m nearly free to get back into writing the second book of the Snowflesh Trilogy, which I am definitely excited about!
Who do you admire in the horror world?
If I start naming names, I’ll forget people. I admire those who can use classic themes and still draw out a good, scary tale. I admire the authors whose take on horror makes me think, “That was really weird.” I especially admire those people who can blend genres so the horror is a slow creep between other elements.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
Honestly, I think they should mesh together. For me, the best psychological fears touch on something bloody and raw, and gore itself isn’t fun without the mind-games to go with it.
Why should people read your work?
Why not? A world of blackened Faerie Tales is bubbling over with the conflict of past sins and perverse schemes as the gods’ glorious crown is passed to a new, unwilling victim.
Early readers of TDM have been very gracious with their feedback. Here are some recurring points:
- They kept thinking about the story when they weren’t reading, wondering what would happen next.
- Readers accused The Damning Moths of making them late for other engagements, especially through the battling scenes.
- Every one of them has demanded to know when they can read the next book in the trilogy.
Recommend a book.
Can I recommend two? Of course I can.
Living with the Dead, a collection of short fiction from Martin Livings. This guy, he’s awesome, and over two decades of his finest writing has been compiled for this book. Let me direct you to Dark Prints Press to get yourself a copy. It’s an excellent read.
Chiral Mad, an anthology of psychological horror edited by Michael Bailey. Proceeds from the sale of this book go to a charity supporting Down syndrome, with over $3,000 already proudly donated. Aside from the good cause, this anthology moved me. Some of the stories had my heart racing, others were worth pondering for days after, and one even had me in tears. A collection of skilful authors.
PHOTO BY KYLIE BONE