Horror and suspense author Meg Hafdahl was raised in both British Columbia and Minnesota. A member of the esteemed Horror Writers Association, her female driven horror stories have been produced for audio by The Wicked Library, and have appeared in anthologies such as Spider Road Press’ Eve’s Requiem: Tales of Women, Mystery and Horror. Her first short story collection, Twisted Reveries: Thirteen Tales of the Macabre was released by Inklings Publishing in 2015. Twisted Reveries Volume II: Tales from Willoughby arrived in 2016, and Meg’s debut horror novel, Her Dark Inheritance, released in March 2018. She is also the co-host of the podcast Horror Rewind and a regular contributor for Spider Mirror Journal. Meg lives in Minnesota with her husband, two young sons, and a menagerie of pets.
Hi Meg, thanks for taking the time to talk to me this evening!
Congratulations on the release of Her Dark Inheritance your debut novel.
LOHF: You had written about Willoughby in Twisted Reveries Vol II. Is this based on a specific place?
Yes. I’m a big city girl. So, when, as a child, I visited the small town in Minnesota where some relatives lived, I was captivated. It was a place where time seemed to stand still, the sort of idyllic place I thought only existed in movies and books. Since then, I’ve been fascinated with the rural gothic, this idea of a seedy underbelly that can fester beneath seemingly perfect towns. I did choose a different name for this place, though. Willoughby is a nod to one of my favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone.
LOHF: Now something I found interesting is that Her Dark Inheritance is marketed as YA horror where Twisted Reveries isn’t was this a change for you or did you set out to write a YA horror novel?
It’s funny, I actually did not set out to write a YA novel. I wrote the novel I wanted to write and it wasn’t until my developmental editor at Inklings Publishing said “this is YA!” that I even realized it fit into that category. It is a coming of age story, a rather bloody and gruesome one. It really is about a woman in her early twenties growing up, finding her strength, and ultimately kicking butt. There just happens to be axe murder, a monster, and so much more going on. Thankfully it seems to have resonated with quite a wide audience of every age!
LOHF: How do you feel about Trigger Warnings for books? If you were offered the chance to list trigger warnings about your book somewhere easily accessible (but not super obvious so people didn’t inadvertently see spoilers), would you do so?
I have to say I’m torn. Part of me believes that as a horror author it is my job to make my readers slightly uncomfortable. Horror is often about stretching our understanding of the universe, and this will include death, grief, and pain. I think horror readers inherently understand this. At the same time, there is mention of a child’s death in this book, and as a mother I know how upsetting that can be. I would be open to posting that particular trigger warning. In the end, I think it should be up to individual authors.
LOHF: What work from a woman horror author do you feel needs to be adapted to the small or big screen ASAP? Why?
What an awesome question! I actually just found out that my favorite Shirley Jackson novel, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, was made into a movie and I’m waiting patiently for my chance to see it! Also, I recently got into the work of Sarah Langan. Her novel, The Keeper, was haunting and memorable. I’d love to watch that movie!
LOHF: Do you have a current WIP that you wouldn’t mind sharing a sneak peak of?
The sequel to Her Dark Inheritance is entitled Daughters of Darkness and will be coming out the spring of 2019. It ended up being quite dense in the mythology of Willoughby. I think I’ve hopefully achieved even more creepiness than the first book, so I’m excited to get it out into the world. Readers are going to find out more about the founding family of Willoughby. And Daphne and Edwin have quite a formidable foe.
LOHF: Have you always been a horror fan? Or was there a specific book that turned you on to Horror?
Yes. From very early childhood I was, first, a horror movie fan. I spent my allowance at Blockbuster renting anything with either zombies in it, or starring Vincent Price! Then, when I’d tired of reading Goosebumps, I came across both Carrie by Stephen King and Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. I’d always been a voracious reader, but those two novels opened my eyes to gothic fiction. And, specifically, female driven gothic fiction. I knew I wanted to be a writer and those novels really set my path for me.
LOHF: The LOHF are comprised of book reviewers and we are all nosy as too what everyone is reading. What is on your nightstand?
I’m actually re-reading Needful Things by Stephen King. I’ve had the incredible fortune of having my work compared to this novel, and to the town of Castle Rock. Since I hadn’t read it since I was sixteen, I thought it warranted another read. It’s incredible, of course. And, it’s fun to look back and see how it’s influenced my writing. I’m also listening to Deviant by Harold Schechter on Audible, as Ed Gein is one of my favorite subjects!
LOHF: Are there any up and coming women horror authors that we need to keep an eye out for?
This past May I did a panel on women in horror fiction at ComicPalooza in Houston, TX. I got to meet some incredibly talented authors like Jae Mazer, Jessica Raney and others. It’s such a treat to meet women who are working to keep the female gothic tradition alive!
Her Dark Inheritance
In her novel debut, Hafdahl adopts the tradition of the rural gothic, masterfully weaving a coming of age tale of axe murder, long hidden secrets, and a town’s past of unimaginable horror. Both starkly real and steeped in the paranormal, Her Dark Inheritance is a suspenseful portrait of a woman facing the monsters of her past.
Navigating through the memories of her own bloody legacy, Daphne Forrest throws herself into the insular and haunting small town of her ancestors. She investigates the murder that led to her mother’s shame, with the help of charming, yet tortured, local Edwin Monroe. Edwin has a unique understanding of the darkness in bucolic yet sinister Willoughby, Minnesota, and how the town holds a lurking threat more foreboding than any unsolved murder.
Twisted Reveries: 13 Tales of the Macabre
Twisted Reveries Vol II:Tales from Willoughby
Suspense author, Meg Hafdahl, delivers another collection of spine-tingling stories in this second volume of the Twisted Reveries series. Inspired by the first book’s Willoughby and Moira Kettlesburg stories, Meg takes us on a journey into the mid-western town of Willoughby where forgetting is a way of life. Delve into its macabre history and origins. Explore the strange and unsettling events that plague Willoughby’s unsuspecting citizens in this new collection of thirteen horrifically outstanding tales.
Meg is a contributing author for two anthologies. If you want a full listing of her bibliography head on over to her blog by clicking the link her bio. If You would like to purchase the books listed above click on the photos to be taken to either Better World Books or the publishers site.