Born in Ciechanow, Poland, Ania Ahlborn has always been drawn to the darker and sometimes morbid sides of life. Her earliest childhood memory is of crawling through a hole in the chain link fence that separated her family home from the cemetery next door. She'd spend hours among the headstones, breaking up bouquets of silk flowers so that everyone had an equal share. Her second novel, The Neighbors (Thomas & Mercer, November 27, 2012), is a tale of psychological suspense. Ahlborn lives in New Mexico with her husband and two dogs.
On your nightstand now:
Those Across The River by Christopher Buehlman. I'm a fan of period books that still manage to feel fresh and modern. The fact that Buehlman manages to give the 1900s a contemporary feel while blending it with the grit of Southern gothic, well... how could I resist?
Favorite book when you were a child:
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. I wasn't a big reader when I was a kid, partly because I didn't speak a word of English when we moved to the States. Shel was accessible, and the rhyming made the language easier. I catch myself dissecting the cadence of sentences when I write, sometimes rewriting it to give it a lyrical quality. I like to fool myself into thinking that I do this because of an early poetic influence, not because I'm slowly developing writer's OCD.
Your top five authors:
Stephen King, Bret Easton Ellis, John Ajvide Linqvist, J.T. Leroy, Poppy Z. Brite.
Book you've faked reading:
Nearly all of Hemingway's oeuvre. Leave it to an author-dedicated college course to suck the life out of an entire body of work. The only pieces I trekked through fully were The Old Man and the Sea and A Farewell to Arms, which were assigned in high school. Surprisingly enough, Cliffs Notes are easier to get away with in college.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Not that Stephen King needs more people championing his work, but Full Dark, No Stars blew me away. There's something so incredibly menacing about that book. Human beings are capable of such mind-bending acts of evil, and Full Dark explores that beautifully.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross. I bought the version with the pixelated skull on the cover. Leave it to me to be charmed by a dot-matrix cranium.
Book that changed your life:
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. Ellis had already convinced me that I needed to be a writer with his earlier work, but American Psycho taught me a dangerous lesson--anything goes as long as you do it well. American Psycho was the first book that ever made me physically react to prose. Some of the scenes had me crawling out of bed so that I could bend over a toilet. Granted, I read it while sick with the stomach flu, but I stand firm when I say my illness was 10% virus and 90% unflinching literary carnage.
Favorite line from a book:
It's a line from Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho. A date asks Patrick Bateman what he does for a living: "I'm into, oh, murders and executions mostly. It depends." She doesn't even flinch, understanding "mergers and acquisitions." It's hilarious and terrifying all at once. I think that woman went home with him later, and you can guess what happened to her. Poor girl.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
The Strain (book one) by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. I'll be honest, I'm not into techno-horror, and The Strain really lays it on thick toward the end, so it pretty much lost me about 75% of the way in. But the first half of that book is incredible. The tension, especially in the first few chapters, is what I love about the horror and thriller genres.
Biggest horror novel pet peeve:
Indian burial grounds and aliens. I can't stand it when these two clichés are used as answers. And I don't mean alien abductions, those are fine. I mean just plain ol' aliens. "Why is all this crazy stuff happening?" asks character one. "Aliens," replies character two. I've seen it done, and I had to drop my Kindle to smack my hand against my forehead. Endings are hard, but the cop-outs make me nuts.