We’re excited to bring you an interview from the author of GOOD GIRLS today, Glen Hirshberg. You know we appreciate a good horror novel around here and so we jumped at the chance to chat with Glen about his story! First let us tell you a bit about the book!Good Girls by Glen Hirshberg
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Macmillan on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Urban
Three-time International Horror Guild and Shirley Jackson Award Winner Glen Hirshberg brings his flair for the grim, grisly, and emotionally harrowing to this standalone sequel toMotherless Child.
Reeling from the violent death of her daughter and a confrontation with the Whistler--the monster who wrecked her life--Jess has fled the South for a tiny college town in New Hampshire. There she huddles in a fire-blackened house with her crippled lover, her infant grandson, and the creature that was once her daughter’s best friend, who may or may not be a threat.
Rebecca, an orphan undergrad caring for Jess’s grandson, finds in Jess’ house the promise of a family she has never known, but also a terrifying secret.
Meanwhile, unhinged and unmoored, the Whistler watches from the rooftops and awaits his moment.
And deep in the Mississippi Delta, the evil that spawned him stirs…
Describe Good Girls in 5 words.
I’m going to cheat two different ways, by quoting a line I loved from Ian Mathers’ recent, much appreciated rave about the novel in RT Book Reviews, and by using 7 words. Ready:
“More than…life and death…at stake.”
How did Good Girls come about, what was your inspiration? What made you think you had to write this story?
The women at the heart of this novel themselves inspired it. No matter what I throw at them—and I’m doing my best to throw a whole lot—they won’t stay down (except when they do. No spoilers…). Also, to my surprise, I found myself evolving an idea not so much about how my particular vampires came to be—although I mostly know that, too, now—as what their culture would be like. What their nights and days might be like. And what they might actually want other than being.
What was the hardest scene for you to write in Good Girls and why?
There’s a scene in this novel involving a burial, with human and vampire participants engaged in the most fragile sort of détente imaginable. The sheer number of challenges I set out for myself there speaks, I think, to the gleeful masochism of fiction writing in general. Two characters with completely conflicting needs and a shared grief they experience in completely different ways, hating and loving and fearing and needing each other every single second in the meantime. And then there’s the physical side: two corpses, a tarp, a root-riddled, overgrown woods.
Did I mention that only one of the not-corpse characters in the scene has legs?
Can you share (without spoilers) a line or section of Good Girls that is your favorite?
Well, I always love subcultures, hidden flashes of human creativity and ways of engaging and playing with one another other. The four loving, troubled, resilient college kids at the heart of one strand of this story live in a fictional, lower-income college town in the New Hampshire woods, and their favorite hangout is a pizza joint with an ice-rink in a humming, crumbling, converted barn out back. The kids go there at night sometimes to play a game they’ve invented called Human Curling, which works pretty much like you imagine it might (assuming you imagine such things). I want to go to there. I want to play that game, with those people.
Although you might want to be careful out there. This is a horror novel, after all…
Do you have any strange writing habits?
The strangest of all: I do it every day.
What are you currently reading?
The two most recent things I’ve loved are probably Cara Hoffman’s Be Safe I Love You, a coming-home-from-war novel as brutal and relentless and heartfelt and heartbreaking as the best horror, and Laura Van Den Berg’s story collection, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us. She weaves such a delicate balance between mundane experience and the absurd or near-miraculous, and she creates people I wish I knew. She’s so talented that she even pulls off a great Bigfoot story, which I probably thought was about as likely as my writing a vampire trilogy.
Oh, and Clarice Lispector’s stories. What a kaleidoscopic, shimmering, black hole-pocked, forever expanding universe those are.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Develop that strange habit noted above, in any way that feels comfortable and necessary to you. The hardest part of the job—and the only part that will bring you reliable joy, or make your life better in any way that matters—is doing the work.
Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
I love these characters, and so they all gave me trouble at various points, because I want to get them right and serve them well. But probably my biggest challenge was Aunt Sally, sort of the origin-vampire and matriarch of this particular monster cult. She really doesn’t think like us, and I try to stay true to that, even as she flirts with (or learns to approximate) human behaviors and emotional responses that she has long since forgotten about, if she ever had them in the first place.
I’ve always considered horror (and most good art) essentially about the people, not the monsters or the horrors. But the Whistler and Aunt Sally and their brood have proven surprisingly fascinating, multi-faceted creatures to start to get to know.
What’s next for you? Are you working on anything right now that you can tell us about?
In April, I have a novelette about spectral St. Petersburg (Russia) that I’m pretty excited about called “Freedom is Space for the Spirit” going up on Tor.com. Meanwhile, I’m hammering away at the final book in the “Motherless Children” series. All I’ll say about that at this point is that I refuse to write the same book twice, and that there are some things happening tonally and in terms of ultimate resolution that are surprising even me. I seem to be calling that one A Whole Bucket of Stars.
Thanks so much Glen for taking the time to answer our questions! I can’t wait to dive into this series!