TIH 522: Sadie Hartmann on The Last 20 Years of Horror Fiction, Ghosts, and Chapter Lengths

TIH 522 Sadie Hartmann on The Last 20 Years of Horror Fiction, Ghosts, and Chapter Lengths

In this podcast, Sadie Hartmann talks about the last 20 years of horror fiction, ghosts, chapter lengths, and much more.

About Sadie Hartmann

Sadie Hartmann is an active member of the Horror Writers Association and a co-owner of Nightworms, a popular horror fiction subscription company. Sadie also reviews horror fiction for Cemetery Dance Online and Scream Magazine.

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Michael David Wilson 0:07

Welcome to This Is Horror, a podcast for readers, writers and creators. I'm Michael David Wilson, and every episode alongside my co host, Bob Pastorella. We chat we're masters of horror, about writing, life lessons, creativity, and much more. Now today, we are reconvening with Sadie Hartman also known as Mother horror for part two of our conversation. And we are getting deeper into her brand new book 101 horror books to read before you're murdered, and Sadie is so passionate about horror, she has done so much for the genre with the lights of night ones and dark heart books. So this is as always a fascinating conversation. We talk a little bit about the supernatural as well as horror fiction so plenty for you to enjoy and we are going to get to that imminently. But first, a quick advert break.

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Michael David Wilson 2:47

Okay with that said, here it is it is Sadie Hartman on this is hora. So we were talking before about how your book focuses on the last 20 years of horror and you've been very deliberate in doing that. I wonder having now created the book. Is there a temptation? Or would you consider possibly putting out 20 years before that 20 years before that and turning it into a series where instead of starting with the old and ending with the new, you've started with the new and you're going to do it in future years, let's say like kind of 1980 to the naughties.

Sadie Hartmann 3:44

Well, listen. So the reason why I chose from 2000 to 2023 is because that is where I have the most knowledge base and have been reading the most books. So I literally just went through like everything that I had read and started compiling a list that way, if I were to go back in time into like the 90s and 80s, we're talking about when I was in high school and junior high, and I wasn't reading a lot of adult horror at that time. So I would have to do a lot of homework and it would probably take me like quite a bit of time to catch up to where I was for all of the material for 20 for the 2000s. So I would love to do that. But I don't know that I would have the time to read all the books and then do all the write ups. You know, because you don't just read like the books you think are going to work you'd have to read like very widely so that you could actually narrow it down. I don't know if that would be an option.

Michael David Wilson 4:55

So you've explained why it would perhaps not be is the greatest idea for you to do like the previous 20 years, or at least would be a huge undertaking of a lot of reading for you. But I wonder, this whole experience of writing a book, do you feel kind of now in the wake of it that you want to write more books? Has it almost put you off to the point where it's like, no, this, this is far too time consuming. And I've got other things that I need to do as part of my business. But I'm wondering, are we likely to see more nonfiction from you? Would you consider writing fiction? What is the future for Sadie and writing books?

Sadie Hartmann 5:49

Yeah, I don't think that I would write a fiction novel anytime soon. I have done some short fiction stories that have been in various anthologies. And it was really difficult. Like I, I really have so much respect for authors in terms of like, I mean, I did already but like, then, like trying the craft on myself. It was so hard to like imagine all the things that go into writing a fictional world and different fictional characters. And like, it just put me off of that, because I couldn't read as much as I wanted to, it took up a lot of time to write. So I just feel like authors are just like, magical wizards, in that sense, like to be able to imagine things in their mind and then put it to paper and like to use words that, you know, effectively describe what they're trying to say like, it's just amazing. Nonfiction, like using my regular voice I, I could do again, like I thought that that was so fun. I didn't feel like it took away from my writing, or my reading, I could read and write at the same time. And it really didn't take that long. Like I had a really fast turn around. If you think about it, it didn't. It didn't I didn't wait very long. My deadline was like really fast. So yeah, I can do that. I want to do that. I think I think I have more. In me for those for nonfiction for writing about her.

Michael David Wilson 7:24

Oh, no, Ronnie concepts or subject matter that you're particularly eager to tackle? And if you're a publisher listening to this, then listen up, that could be something for you to commission.

Sadie Hartmann 7:38

Well, I did my so my team at page street publishing is so cool. And I loved working with Alexandra Murphy, so much my editor that obviously her and I have been texting back and forth, like thinking of different ideas. So I don't want to be too, you know, verbal about some of the things that we've been talking about. But there have been some ideas passed back and forth between her and I. And honestly, there's like three top ones that we talked about that I think would be really fun. So a secret?

Michael David Wilson 8:15

Yeah, yeah. Do you envisage that you would like to do have a books kind of a compendium such as this? So would you like to focus I suppose, a book on a book or a book on a film or a more kind of niche topic? Or am I getting into the grounds of asking two specific questions? actually answer that one.

Sadie Hartmann 8:44

I so recommendations come really naturally for me. So I would like to do another compendium of recommendations and reading lists, but with like a different focus, but within the genre for so like I have, I have some lists in mind that I think would be really fun to explore, that isn't broken up in the same way that this book was, but in a different way. Yeah. being vague and also kind of like answering your question.

Michael David Wilson 9:17

Ya know, it's so wonderful that you've struck upon this relationship with paved streets and with Alexander as well. And it just seems so complimentary to what you do with night worms anyways, so it and to think that this all came out of an email that you received, do you know how night worms first came onto Alexandra's radar?

Sadie Hartmann 9:45

I don't know exactly when Alexandra started following me but she did say it was a few years so I think it was probably right around the time I transitioned my Bookstagram account from being about all books. Being very specifically about horror. Because that transition, I've been on Bookstagram for about seven years. And that transition came like maybe three years after that. So, and night warms has been around almost five. So we'll be going into our fifth year of business at the end of this year. So somewhere in that window of time is when I think she started following me. And I think it's interesting because there's this whole, like, sort of magical thing that happens when people become very laser focused about a specific topic. And you kind of surround yourself with people who are also interested in that, like, you'll see magazines do this all the time. Like if you go into like a Waterstones or Barnes and Noble or what have you. And you look at the magazine section it it's almost unbelievable how many niche magazines there are that just cater to one specific hobby or passion. Like there'll be a whole magazine about like guitars, and there'll be like a whole magazine about knitting and not just this kind of knitting, but like this fucking kind of knitting, you know. And it's like the same thing with reading and literature. Like, as soon as you start getting really zeroed in on one thing, you start drawing the people who are also into that very specific thing.

Bob Pastorella 11:29

Southeast Louisiana embroidery. That's the thing.

Michael David Wilson 11:35

That's your new periodical, isn't it? But

Sadie Hartmann 11:38

yeah. Of which he is the expert.

Michael David Wilson 11:42

Yeah, yeah. Well, one of many things that you said in the book that really resonated with me, and I believe this is in the kind of afterword part the part that's called something like, right, I'm a horror fan. Now what but it's eloquently than that.

Sadie Hartmann 12:04

But you're a junkie.

Michael David Wilson 12:07

Yeah, yeah. And you you wrote, reading a steady diet of horror is going to ruin you for other genres. You'll be reading some fantasy novel, and you're going to start thinking things like, when is this going to get nasty? And I just thought, this is so true. And there are so many times where my girlfriend and I are watching, like a kind of regular definitely not horror movie. And we're trying to anticipate like, Okay, where is this going? How is this going to end? And there's been numerous times for things that are pretty much a rom com where I've genuinely I'm not even joking. I'm thinking like, maybe she's gonna fucking kill herself. Maybe that's how we're gonna end this and it's like, no, no, Matthew McConaughey. You Jennifer Aniston film ever been going up to the toilets building but But one day, said he one day, surprise me. Yeah, but but I love the films and the books where they kind of do that they do a 180 on the genre. And I mean, a classic from I believe the 80s is miracle, my order starts off as if it is a rom com and then it turns into an apocalyptic novel, not novel film. And then also in killed lists. To be honest, it starts off as if it's just a drama or a soap opera even. And then it gets really violent. And then in the third act, horror, it gets really horror. I'm not gonna spoil it, even though it's probably 20 years old now. But yeah, if you haven't watched your list, you need to because that just changes genres twice.

Sadie Hartmann 14:05

I love that. I love that so much. Yeah, horror definitely has ruined me for other genres. And it's mostly just because I think it was a natural progression. Anyway, I was really into fantasy for a long time. But I ultimately got frustrated with the level of investment that comes with a lot of fantasy series like you, you kind of have to, like be in for the long hall in terms of like learning the world building in the magic system and all the names like, and in my season of life as a young mom, I just didn't have time to like, invest in those kinds of books. And then I was reading a lot of thrillers when I was a young mom, because those tend to be like really page turning. And you can just kind of go along for the ride. The chapters are generally pretty short. The cast list is pretty small. Like, you know, you can finish one in like a weekend maybe. And then just get on with your week, I did a lot of courtroom drama for a while I was really into, like, you know, John Grisham and those kinds of books. And then when I discovered horror, like, the highest steak of of like emotional, high stakes, and just the level of investment that comes with, like kind of falling in love with characters who are going to ultimately die or be put through some kind of like tragic experience, it just becomes really addicting. And that's just what I was craving, you know, and that ends that craving has never really went away. It's kind of the same thing with Chuck winded like I credit Chuck Wendig, for ruining me for books with long chapters, because I can no longer like tolerate books that have chapters that go on forever and ever. Like, I always will like flip through and see when it ends and put a bookmark there and be like, I can make it to this bookmark. And oftentimes, I can't like I'm just like, I need to like look at my phone or do something else. But those like Bingi chapters that Chuck writes where it's just like two to three pages, those you just keep going and you never stop you just like the end, you finish the whole book before you even know it. So yeah, horror is like that, for me now where it's like, I've just come to expect like high stakes and people dying. And something scary. Like that's what I want always.

Michael David Wilson 16:29

Yeah, yeah, I'm totally there with you with the short chapters as well. And I mean, with my own writing, I kind of make a point of going through things and like actually counting like, Okay, how many pages is each chapter? And if it if it's too long, it's like, Look, is there a natural point where I can divide this up? And I mean, I mean, sometimes there isn't, but oftentimes there is. And I mean, that the novel that I just finished writing, the other day is the absolute longest chapter writing is 15 pages. So it like that it's quite long for me. But there's quite a few of them, like two or three pages. It's like, that's all we needed. So hopefully, people will stick with me, you know, the longer ones. Yeah. But I found as well, it was like the first chapter is one of the longest because I find you there you I do find that with the Bingi. One says you're establishing things you're getting people comfortable. So I think the first chapter often does need to be a little bit weightier. Not Not always, but often. But yeah, the Chuck Wendig style is absolutely brilliant. And I would argue particularly now that that guy is right, in some meaty tones, it's almost necessary. It's like, look, Jack, if you get to put things out to this level of this size, we we need it to be broken up. It's just too intimidating. Yeah,

Sadie Hartmann 18:09

no, and he does like his next one that's coming out. Black River orchard is you it's like very bingeable it's like you can devour it very quickly, because the chapters are very short. And it's kind of one of those books where it has like a large cast of characters. But and you're following different characters. So it'll switch narratives, sort of like, you know, Jurassic Park, how it's like, oh, here's like the lab and the scientists. Here's like the people out in the park. Now we're gonna go back to the people over here. Like, it's that kind where it's like an ensemble cast, but it's spread out throughout the chapters, like I that is I could read that stuff all day long. Like that goes by really quickly.

Michael David Wilson 18:51

Yeah, it's been so fascinating to watch the kind of evolution or the development of chaos career. And you know, I remember the Miriam Black Books, which I still think are absolutely fantastic. But it's just been so interesting, in a way, is a little bit like Joe Lansdale, in the sense that you can't pin him down to a genre, he will write what he wants to write and one book to the next could be radically different. And I love that stuff. I love it when you don't know what you're going to get. And that actually links into to another point and to tie it back to what you were saying about horror, ruining other genres. I love that with a horror book. There is no guarantee as to how it will end so it could have a happy ending. It could have a really, really bleak ending. Probably will if the name on the cover is a regular rocker or it could have something in Between and you just don't know what you're going to get. And I think that keeps me reading. Whereas if, if I'm just reading for one of better phrasing, something more conventional, and I know that it's going to have this happy or this archetypal ending, it just makes it a little less satisfying. And of course, there is fun to be had in the journey. But I do enjoy the unpredictability of not knowing how this is going to be tied up.

Sadie Hartmann 20:31

I do too. I know that people have like a real problem with bleak endings or ambiguous endings. And I think that's fair. I mean, I totally get it like I, I don't fault people for wanting some closure, or for at least ending on a note that's like, you can swallow that jagged pill. But for me, I just kind of like, visualize each story and approach each story as just like, it's in the package that it needs to be in. You know, whereas like, if it's a novella, I know people have a hard time reading like shorter work, or if it has like a bleak ending, like that just seems to be the package that that author needed to put it in. And I'm kind of one of those readers that just goes along for the ride. Like I really don't come to my reading experience with any expectations. I kind of just want to go on a ride. I don't try to figure shit out. Like when I read Catterick, Katrina Ward books, I'm always just like, blown my mind, because I know you're gonna do it anyway. Like, I don't even try to figure it out. I don't try to develop any theories, like just blow my mind. Like, that's my favorite. And she delivers, like every time. So just the novel is in the package that it comes in. Let's just take it at face value.

Michael David Wilson 21:57

Yeah, yeah. No, I think you know, and we did talk about this with Eric, you just have to write the ending that is authentically you, if you try to rein it in and give the readers what they want, or the so called market what they want, it's not going to be real, it's not going to be you. And ultimately, discerning readers are going to pick up on that anyway.

Sadie Hartmann 22:25

Yeah, and if they don't, and if it was, you know, if it doesn't land the way that the author intended it to land, i don't know i with this book, like, I can speak from experience, like, now having released something out into the world. I felt like I was holding my books hand the whole time, as we were going through this, like release process. Like, I'm taking it with me. And then on release day, I kind of like, let go and just was like, okay, so this belongs to you guys. Now, this is for you. It's been like back here in the secret in the veil. And now I've just kind of pushed it forward, and it gets to live its own life. And so that's how I would want as a reviewer, that's how I would want authors to see what they've put out for me. Like, let me take it like you've had it this whole time. Let me take it, let me experience it. And then let me talk about it in a way that's authentic to me. And it can still be the author's experience the way that they had it prior to they had all that time with it, writing it. And now it's on its own journey, you know, so hopefully there could be like a distance from it to where it doesn't feel personal. If if it doesn't, if readers don't respond to it the way you want them to. It's living its own life now, you know, like, move on to the next child. like kind of like, do the next thing.

Michael David Wilson 23:58

Yeah, yeah. I mean, we've said before that I feel the creation or the mere force of the book, it continues with the reader. So even when you stop writing, the book hasn't stopped being written and having a legacy and having kind of meaning attached to it. And I think that is a very exciting and also completely frightening part of writing. I mean, I can only assume that it's kind of similar as you do when your child kind of goes off to live in the world and to live without you. It's like, right, be free. Go down thing.

Sadie Hartmann 24:44

Yeah, like it's no longer a reflection, like I and it's a really good analogy. I mean, there are parents who still view their kids as like a reflection of like, how well they did parenting or whatever, which I guess in some regard, sure. But I mean in other ways like that detracts from Um, the individual person's, you know, agency. So like, just kind of allow the book to have its own agency. And if people completely misunderstand the point, like, I don't really feel like the author is responsible for making sure that people understand the point like, I would hate to have to, like justify everything that I did like in this book, I would hate to have to justify all of my choices, like it is what it is, at this point, you can misunderstand the list or you can take it however you want. It's subjective. Like, at this point, it's your own, like, you can take this list and, you know, do with it what you will, at this point, like, I know what I did with it, I, my editor saw what she wanted to do with it, like, it had its life with us. And now it's going to be something else entirely for other people. And if it's well received, great, like, it had a mission that I wanted it like I have a message. And if it is received, like, great, I love that if it's not, and people don't didn't get the message like how am I responsible for that? I'm not like that's, it's up to each individual to do to have their way with it.

Michael David Wilson 26:09

Yeah, yeah. And see. And speaking of different individuals, there are a number of essays within the book by the likes of Haley Piper and Cassandra Co. Eric, who we mentioned earlier, RJ Joseph Daniel Krause. How did this element of the book come about? When did it come about? And did you have the idea of the author, you wanted to write the section first? Or did you have the idea of the essay that you wanted?

Sadie Hartmann 26:49

Yes, so I had very specific ideas that I wanted presented in this book. But I didn't feel like I was the person to present those ideas to the reader. So I feel like there are people in the horse industry that can talk with a lot of authenticity, because of their experience and their background, to speak on those things from their own perspective. And I am not authoritative on those particular situation. So I just wanted to bring in some voices who could express things about the horror industry that I felt was important to convey to readers, but in the voice of the person who would best represent those things. So I definitely wanted someone to talk about, you know, queer representation and horror, I wanted someone to talk about, like the transition from being an indie author to a traditional author. And like everything in between, I wanted somebody to talk about, like, you know, the difference between like Western horror and, you know, some other kind of horror in the world, because we tend to think of the US as being in this like, bubble. And I just wanted us readers who were going to get their hands on this book first, to understand that horror is a global thing, and to hear from another perspective. So there's all these things that I felt was really important, but I didn't want to say them. So my publishing team, we had like, maybe one or two essays in mind, and then we were surprised with a bigger budget for it from you know, whoever is higher up in the in that situation, and they were like, No, you we want you to have like maybe five essays. So then I was able to go ahead and broaden that, that reach and have more important things to say from more important people. And graciously everybody accepted that I asked so all my all my first choices said yes.

Michael David Wilson 29:08

Yeah. Yeah. That's wonderful. And yeah, I mean, they they just take the book to the next level. It was already on a high level, but it's like well, we're gonna throw this on hence like oh, that's the seasoning that I didn't even know I needed. Seasoning like that. Yeah. Yeah. And I yeah, I love that you've got Cassandra cool, kind of comparing western and eastern horror as well. Yeah. And you are right, that Eastern horror is sometimes neglected, but it absolutely shouldn't be and I mean, I remember when we were first talking to you one of film from Japan, you on I believe, was the first horror movie It kind of scared the shit out of you.

Sadie Hartmann 30:02

I was an adult person. And I slept with the lights on for a week. And I was like, why is this movie so unnecessarily fucked up like it. I like I had never seen anything like that in my life. And my mom watches tons of foreign horror, and my dad watched tons of foreign war and they were like, That's just how it is everywhere else. Like, you know, the storytelling and ghost stories like in Japanese culture is very scary. Like, you should watch more of it. And I was like, hell no, like, that's the last one I'm ever gonna watch. It was like too scary for me. So I definitely was interested in having like a perspective of like, Hey, this is why we have this cultural narrative. And, you know, this is why our horror stories are so scary. I was so glad that Cassandra wanted to talk about that.

Michael David Wilson 31:00

Yeah. Yeah. And speaking of ghosts, do you believe in ghosts?

Sadie Hartmann 31:09

I actually do believe in ghosts. And I'll tell you why. It's the same reason that I believe in aliens. I think that of all the people in the world who have said that they saw a ghost and had a paranormal experience, if just one of those people is telling the truth. And there's been however many people who've said they've seen ghosts billions, then it's true. So the odds are in the favor of it being true. For aliens and ghosts, and robins.

Michael David Wilson 31:42

Yeah, yeah. Have you had any sort of supernatural experience or supernatural adjacent experience?

Sadie Hartmann 31:53

I mean, not so much supernatural. Like we we did have a paranormal experience in a house that we lived in, like, we thought that there were ghosts living in this house. And it actually caught on fire. And we had to move to another location. But I was really thankful that we just got out of that situation, because there were at least two to three different paranormal experiences we had in there. One of which is when we first moved in, we had all settled into our beds at night. And I heard like footprints, like foot, like footsteps coming down the hall, like running down the hall. And they like, Kate, were coming right toward the bedroom. And I told my husband, I was like, well, here's one of the kids, you know, like all freaked out? Well, no one came into the room. And so then when my husband got up to check all the kids were asleep, like sound asleep. So what was that? You know? Like, we definitely heard somebody running down the hallway.

Michael David Wilson 33:01

Yeah, what on earth? Do you do when that happens? How does that kind of even alter your perception of reality and the world?

Sadie Hartmann 33:14

Yeah, exactly. And, I mean, there have been people that I trust that have had paranormal experiences, and supernatural experiences, too. So I mean, even cryptids. You know, like, we could dismiss like Bigfoot or some of these other like legends and lore. But if people are serious about saying that they saw something, like, I just don't understand why they would have any reason to lie, like, unless they're making like, copious amounts of money off of like telling, like some big story, but otherwise, I think they're just telling the truth. Like, that's their experience.

Michael David Wilson 33:57

Well, this is an endlessly fascinating topic. But unfortunately, what isn't endless is the time that we have together today. So I believe that we're coming up to the time that we have is that about right? Do we have another five do we have 10? Are we on time?

Sadie Hartmann 34:18

No. Yeah, I mean, if you if you have like a couple more questions, I definitely have like 10 more minutes for you guys.

Michael David Wilson 34:25

We always have questions. I want to dig deeper into the supernatural Dan, I mean, how would you define a ghost?

Sadie Hartmann 34:37

So I think a ghost and you know how there's like lots of like history and definitions out there for what a ghost actually is like? Is it a soul that's like trapped here that died unexpectedly and has a story to tell and is trying to communicate to the living so that they can find Rest in peace. I think that sometimes the dimensions between the living and the dead is just sin. And sometimes there are messages that maybe need to be communicated to the living. And I just don't think there's a handbook for the dead to be able to do that in a way that makes sense to them consistently. So I think that there's sometimes like angry ghosts. And I think that there's some times like peaceful ghosts. And we just kind of deal with whatever we get. And I don't think there's any consistency there. I think it's just, you were just unlucky or lucky enough to have that experience. Yeah, and I don't necessarily think to that it's like a choice of the dead to be a ghost. Maybe that's I just kind of think sometimes, maybe they're just, they're just trapped in some sort of situation, for whatever reason. But yeah, I've been to houses that just feel wrong. Like, haven't you just been to a house that feels wrong?

Michael David Wilson 36:09

Yeah. Or it can even be a room or an area within the house. Like, you can get more granular than that. It's like, well, yeah, the house is okay. Apart from that fucking room.

Sadie Hartmann 36:23

Basement, something happened there.

Bob Pastorella 36:25

I've seen the thing that my friends were telling me, too, may lead them to believe that a room was haunted. I've seen the thing. You know, it's like, you know, so she shows me Hey, you know, watch, I turn off the light, you have to turn on the switch. It is not a loose switch. I have to shut this door. I'm gonna show you know the room. We go down the hallway. It's me and her in on upstairs. And we come back and she just points down at the floor. And she goes the lights on. And I'm like, okay, so it's faulty wiring till she opens the door. And she's like, what you tell me what's wrong with the light switch and light switches up? Yeah. Oh, my, somebody did that. And she's like, who? I'm like, I'm good. I'm a skeptic. So I just can't believe it. Did I feel really freaked out after that? I didn't stay much longer. And so we went downstairs and chatted for a little bit me and her husband and her chatted and then I left. And Allison weird stuff, but I don't believe it's a ghost. think somebody fucking with me?

Sadie Hartmann 37:40

Isn't that like a thing that happens to all of us? Like, I mean, that's kind of the definition of like supernatural, you know, is is there's something that exceeds the natural and the explainable. And not everything can be explained. Like we know that like, oh, yeah, you know, it's just like, and we try to so that we can rationalize it so that we won't be afraid because the unknown is so scary. So we try to, you know, pigeonhole an explanation into something that can't be explained. But I think like, that's why X Files is so cool. Like I mentioned that in the book is it's just like, Mulder and Scully. Kind of like, personified everybody's different opinions about those things where it's like, no, I don't want to believe yes, I do want to believe that

Bob Pastorella 38:29

we're both sides of the same coin. Yeah, exactly. You have you have this supernatural, and it's like, it is really almost black and white. If you don't have people. Like, I can't suddenly say I believe in it. You know, I have to I can I can say that. Yeah. Maybe I saw something that I cannot explain. And I'd probably do that more in lines. Because if it really is a ghost, then are something supernatural happening. And I am scared to death of it. And I can't handle the that irrationality of it. So there's prices more about me than actual event. So, but I had to get over myself then. You know, so.

Sadie Hartmann 39:19

Yeah, I mean, let's think about all the people who said there wasn't aliens, and now the government's basically like, okay, you know, there is we all have to kind of come to terms with those things. At some point.

Bob Pastorella 39:34

I've always believed there's life on other planets. I just hope people realize how long a lightyear is. Yeah. It's like, okay, yeah. And what would be involved in traveling. I'm not saying that there's not some advanced technology out there. But our technology, you know, I mean, to go to Mars, we have to go to the moon first and it takes a year and a half. So just think about that. About that.

Michael David Wilson 40:01

Yeah, yeah, I mean, I think the probability for aliens is, is far likelier than the not just thinking about how vast the universe is. And I mean, as we've said, anyway, it's been proven that there are other life forms on our planet. So then by a technical definition, we've already proven that aliens exist in terms of the supernatural. I mean, yeah, I am. I am a skeptic, but in the sense that like, you know, I'm saying I don't feel there's been definitive proof yet. I mean, I don't think there has been proof. Yeah, if there has, then there wouldn't even be the argument. But am I gonna stay in that weird room? No. I'm not, I'm not going to do something high risk like that. I mean, it's kind of similar to just like, my beliefs in terms of God in terms of religion and things like that is like agnostic in the sense that it's like, well, we can't prove evil way yet. Doesn't mean that I'm not open to

Bob Pastorella 41:08

it. No. Endless curiosity.

Michael David Wilson 41:12

Yeah, and I love I love hearing about different supernatural experiences. And just, I love the way as well that different things can kind of fuck with my worldview as well. And it's like, well, how do you even explain, like the footsteps and running away? And like, there's no one. There's no one there? Or your children are asleep?

Sadie Hartmann 41:36

I mean, yeah. How how do you explain that? And like people playing with Ouija boards. And like, I saw the trailer for exorcist believer. And I remember watching like the first step, exorcist. Like, why would a religious institution, you know, set in place these religious figures who would exercise demons? If there wasn't anything that they were really dealing with? Like? I mean, we would really have to dive take a deep dive into the history of like, you know, what was this like, exorcist position that came about? And like, what was the first one and like, when what happened, but like, I have researched some of that stuff, and it's really fucked up and scary. I don't like it. So I try not to think about it too hard, like, and I don't play with Ouija boards for that purpose. Because it's like, we just really don't know enough about it to be messing around with something that seems innocuous and looks like a board game sold in like you know, your department store, whatever, but like is the source of a lot of messed up stories about opening up doors that you can't then close and opening up a door inside of your body that a demon can come inside of it. So if whether or not it's real, I'm just not going to risk it. How about that?

Michael David Wilson 43:01

Yeah, and so the whole kind of risk reward strategy and it's like look, the risk is not worth any payoff. Because what is the payoff? Anyway? Like oh, I played with a Ouija board and nothing happened haha yeah, okay, great.

Sadie Hartmann 43:16


Michael David Wilson 43:21

but the the other extreme I played with EG pod and now there's a fucking demon that has possessed me and tortures me every night

Bob Pastorella 43:33

you can take that even further. There's a demoness because that's me and now we're doing a challenge on tick tock Yeah, no, that's that's basically the premise of talk to me.

Sadie Hartmann 43:47

Oh, creepy. Yeah, I've heard that

Bob Pastorella 43:49

I haven't seen this one Michael I'm kind of like you I've seen I've seen most of the trailer and turned it off. I'm like I don't want to know any more I want to see it. That's all I want to know.

Michael David Wilson 44:00

Yeah, I never watch trailers. Tell me the tie. Oh, tell me the sub genre if you must and the director a few actors that that will do all they need to know because trailers they they ruin the film's spoil

Sadie Hartmann 44:15

everything. Yeah. And I just already like don't want to see a lot of horror movies. Like I like to read about the more like I love whoever writes the Wikipedia articles and like completely tells the entire story with like spoilers because I can read that shit and go to sleep just fine. If I have to go and watch it like no. It's not not good for me.

Michael David Wilson 44:38

Yeah, yeah. Well, to wrap up, what are you most excited about in horror in their kind of near future? And that can be releases that can just be a kind of mode or an offer or what is it that's exciting you about the free Euro Farah,

Sadie Hartmann 45:01

I mean, so I have really closely been watching release dates this year, because on my Patreon, I go through and like, research all the titles that are coming out on in every week. So Tuesday tends to be a big publishing day. And I research all the titles that are coming out and put them together, and I talk about them with my patrons. I have noticed this huge uptick in what's going on every single Tuesday. And I am so excited to see what's going to happen in 2024. Because I think it's just going to keep increasing, I think we're going to see like, instead of maybe seven titles a week, five to seven titles a week, I think we're going to be getting like closer to 10 or 15 titles a week between traditional and indie pub, which means that we're getting on average 40 to 50 new horror books every month. And that's fucking crazy. And I'm excited about that.

Michael David Wilson 46:04

It, it is crazy. And this is why Bob and I can never speak to all the offers that we wish that we could speak to. And, you know, that's why this is our podcast is going to be an ongoing, lifelong concern for me, unless podcasts become obsolete, and then I'll have to do it in another form. But, you know, just as you think you're getting nearer to talking to all the people about all the books that were multiple more books, more offers, it's such a great time, but it means that it's it's never gonna be over this journey is never gonna be completed, which Yeah, is a good thing. Yeah, yeah. Bring it on. Yeah. Well, everyone should go out unless you pick up a copy of 101 horror books to read before you're murdered. It is out right now. It is a unique book. You can read it in any way you want. You should have a on your coffee table, you should introduce people to it say he is holding it up right now. My screen. But I mean, where else can people connect with you?

Sadie Hartmann 47:27

So like I said, I'm on Patreon. You can subscribe. I do a lot of book reviews there. I talk about horror, I do themes, I do recommendations, and I talk behind the scenes about night worms, and my book. Then I also on substack for a newsletter that I try to do at least twice a month. I'm also on Twitter, which is now called x which I'm not on very often because I think that places like weird now. I'm also on Instagram, which is my home base. So I'm on Instagram the most for social media, kind of dabbling on threads a little bit, which is the you know, the the text based replacement for Twitter that is run through Instagram, but I'm not really there as much either. So I think the best possible place if you want to stay in touch is on Instagram. Tick tock sorta kinda. And I have a book club now on fable, where we are reading 101 horror book street before you're murdered. And then I'm going to move on to doing more books this year. So I have like Victor Lovells, the changeling coming. We're going to do Christopher Golden's book, All Hallows in October, and then the sky's the limit after that. So.

Michael David Wilson 48:42

All right. Do you have any final thoughts to leave our listeners with?

Sadie Hartmann 48:49

I just want to make sure that everybody gets the right horror book in their hands. So if you ever have like a question or you want a specific recommendation, please feel free to DM me or email me at night worms reviews@gmail.com. Go ahead and ask me and I will see if I can help you or you can buy my book because there's like 101 recommendations plus some in that in there that you can probably find so.

Michael David Wilson 49:17

All right. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. Thank you so much for listening to Sadie Hartman on This Is Horror. Join us again next time when we will be chatting to Keith Rosson about his brand new book fever house. And if you would like to get that and every episode ahead of the crowd, can become a patron@patreon.com. Forward slash This Is Horror. Not only do you get early bird access to each and every episode, but you can submit questions to the interviewee. And coming up soon we've got the lights of rip She has MA and Chuck Wendig. So go to patreon.com forward slash, This Is Horror. See what we offer and if it's a good fit for you, if you want to support This Is Horror and keep the podcast alive. And I'd love to see you there. Okay, before I wrap up a little bit of an advert break

Bob Pastorella 50:22

house of bad memories the debut novel from Michael David Wilson comes out on Friday the 13th this October via cemetery gates media. Dini just wants to be the world's best dad to his baby daughter. But things get messy when he starts hallucinating his estranged abusive stepfather, Frank, then Frank winds up dead, and Denise held hostage by his junky half sister who demands he uncovers the cause of her father's death. Will they need to feed his demons or be perpetually tortured for refusing to answer impossible questions. Clay McLeod Chapman says house of bad memories hit so hard, you'll spit teeth out once you're done reading it. Preorder house of bad memories by Michael David Wilson and paperback at cemetery gates media.com or an ebook via Amazon. The handyman method the thrilling new novel from Nick cutter and Andrew F. Sullivan is on sale now. Best Selling Author of chasing boogeyman Richard chizmar says this book is nightmare territory. Cutter and Sullivan have created a modern masterpiece. The handyman method is available wherever books are sold.

Michael David Wilson 51:26

As always, I would like to end with a quote. And this is from Neil Gaiman tell your story. Don't try and tell stories that other people can tell. Any starting writer starts out with other people's voices. But as quickly as you can start telling the stories that only you can tell. Because there will always be better writers than you. And there will always be smarter writers than you but you are the only you I'll see you in the next episode when we can't too key for us in but until then, take care yourselves be good to one another. Read horror. Keep on writing and have a great, great day

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