Tell us, if you don’t mind, a little about yourself.
I’m a writer, editor, and artist living in Toronto, ON. I’ve a Bachelor in Fine Art majoring in Visual Arts and a Master in Publishing, both from SFU. I spend my days writing a lot and painting stupidly large pieces while juggling work as a freelance reviewer, academic editor, and substantive editor with several independent presses and publications. To date my work has been published by Found Press, The Singularity, Glittership, Drive In Tales, along with Turn to Ash, and I was the winner of the 2015 Friends of Merril Short Story Contest.
Could you give us some background on how you began writing, and in particular, what drew you to writing horror?
My history with writing was, until a decade ago, in fits and spurts. I wrote my first two (really shitty) books in grades 7 and 8, and didn’t really do anything more until Grade 12, when I tried my hand for the first time at short fiction. Then I was in the art world full time and didn’t do any non-academic writing again until around 2005/2006, when I finally started jotting down with some seriousness a number of screenplay and novel ideas I’d had and done nothing with. After that, it was just a (very) slow process and a building obsession as I chipped away at submissions, rejections, and new ideas. As for horror, I’d always loved the genre, ever since I saw the first Nightmare on Elm Street at way too young an age and thought that every time I went up the stairs in my house I would sink through the steps like Nancy. For the most part, my interest in horror was relegated to film; I didn’t start reading and writing horror until much later. It happened naturally—basically I started writing short stories that seemed to cut deeper and deeper into my own life, and as a result of that I found myself gravitating toward the frightening and the visceral. It seemed to make the most sense with the types of emotionally naked stories I was wanting to tell, and also acted as a sort of shield—by making the personal that much more horrific and grotesque, I’m able to exorcise my demons while erecting enough of a wall that it remains, in at least some capacity, a fiction. Basically horror lets me be as open and vulnerable as I want to be while still being “unreal” and therefore easier for me to put out there.
Can you tell us a bit about your story that appears in Turn to Ash, Vol. 1?
Funny, I just spent all this time talking about why I write horror as this hugely personal thing, yet this story is one of my most impersonal. It started from a very simple place: I don’t like clowns. I don’t know if I’m necessarily afraid of them; I just don’t trust them. So it became something of a way to address this dislike while also having a bit of fun imagining a world very much like and unlike our own, where there exists an underground clown pelt-trading marketplace, and where mimes are the most feared of all (because of course they would be). I don’t write a lot of comedy, though, and even when I do it still hedges very dark.
Do you have any recent and/or upcoming work that you’d like to share?
My story “When I’m Old, When I’m Grey,” which was the winner of last year’s Friends of Merril Short Story Contest, was just released on Found Press. It can be read on the site itself or downloaded as a separate ebook. Apart from that, my first novel, The Death Scene Artist, will be published by Buckrider Books, an imprint of Wolsak & Wynn, in Fall 2018. It is also horror, though quite surreal, and more literary than genre in tone.
Where, if anywhere, can we find you on the Internet?
andrewwilmot.ca is where you can find my resume and CV, as well as information on reviewing, what little academic and film work I’ve done, and a small selection of artwork. I am also the lone fool behind the book blog backlisted. It’s on hiatus for the moment due to work and other commitments, but I will be getting back to it at some point in the (hopefully near) future. Also, I write reviews for subTerrain and Publishers Weekly, and have in the past written for both Quill & Quire and Broken Pencil.
Anything else you’d like to share about your work or anything else going on in this universe (or any other)?
No, I think that’s it!
You can pre-order Turn to Ash, Vol. 1, which feature’s Andrew’s story “The Recovered Journal of Marius Vladimirescu, Last of the Clown Hunters” – HERE – It will also be available from Amazon and Amazon UK in the last week of August.