R. Leigh Hennig gathered many of the amazing authors from Mother: Tales of Love and Terror for a council at the roundtable about writing, mothers, and horror. Join us as we pop in for a brief spotlight on how the stories of Mother, and their makers, worked their horrible magic to create this book.
Author Spotlight: Brian Evenson, author of “Waiting for Mother”
Q: What inspired your story?
A: The story actually began from a conversation I had with a friend of mine who is a filmmaker, who was interested in putting together a script about a mother and father whose daughter disappears and who, when they think they have a lead on where she ends up having an encounter with a strange woman around her daughter’s age who seems both to be keeping them from their daughter and wanting to be a kind of surrogate daughter to her. But as I kept thinking about the idea and mulling it over, I became more interested in something that was the inverse of that, a vanished mother and a daughter that’s looking for her. I don’t know why that version interests me more. Maybe because I have vivid memories of my own mother reading to me and my siblings P. D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother when I was little.
Q: What was your process for writing this, and did that at all differ from your usual approach?
A: Originally I had a kind of schema for a different story, but this story kept asserting itself. Most stories I’ve written I try to get the shape and structure of the story in place on the first draft, but this one ended up being one that kept on shifting and changing from draft to draft. It was a difficult, process, kind of like building up a house, then demoing it to the frame, then rebuilding it again. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but it really changed by the time I finished it, especially the ending of it.
Q: If there were ever a FATHER anthology put together as a sequel, would you follow that up, or write something totally new?
A: Since the father in my story is dead, I imagine I’d approach it quite differently. I also come from a culture (Mormonism) in which there are all sorts of patriarchal associations with fathers that have been part of a larger critique/investigation in my work. I imagine I’d go more in that direction.
Q: Do you have any thoughts on turning this story into something longer, or do you feel the tale has been told?
A: I feel like there’s an untold part of the story in terms of who this person is who is manipulating the daughter, but I also think it’s a more haunting story if we don’t ever quite know why she’s doing what she’s doing.
The Weird Team is comprised of several unhinged individuals that have a love of life and a lust for adventure. They scour the world to find the strangest, scariest, and most wonderful news in the universe.