Today we have a fantastic guest post from Araiana D Den Bleyker, author of Red Hands and Dark Water, both available direct from Fahrenheit. Ariana writes very dark noir novellas for Fahrenheit, gruesome characters in gruesome situations. They are a superb demonstration of what can be achieved in novella form.
The books are available to buy direct from Fahrenheit here
Enough from me, I’ll hand you over to Ariana, with huge thanks for the wonderful post that follows:
I enjoy dark stories. I love reading about characters that struggle, worlds on the brink of destruction and in need of saving, words that go into the deep, the little-seen parts of being. I love writing them too. To quote a series of tweets I wrote last year:
“Writing crime fiction is like taking your mind to an amusement park everyday: the ideas go up & down & sometimes spin a lot. & you’re so happy after each visit—cotton candy sticking to your face & ice cream all over your shirt—you can’t wait to go back again. Writing poetry never gives me this feeling. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy writing a solid poem or chapbook, but writing crime takes me to a new level of satisfaction every time. The darkest parts of the reality of your mind has seen over time emerges—into characters & worlds w/o boundaries. There’s freedom in genre I’ve never felt in writing poetry. Too much of poetry projects the author into the work, questioning what you can & can’t write about. I’ve decided to concentrate on ruthlessness & depravity. I want to exercise my creativity w/o restriction—to feel alive w/each new scene & twist….”
Having majored in English, much of what I’ve written, poetry and fiction, is greatly influenced by Dark Romanticism, Poe and Shelley among the most well-known authors. This literary subgenre of Romanticism is fascinated with melancholia, insanity, crime, stories of personal torment, punishment, judgement, social outcasts, the nature of man, fallibility and proneness to sin and self-destruction, much of what we see in today’s noir. I read a lot of mystery and crime growing up: Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, and so forth, you know, cozy mysteries. Today, I will say, psychological thrillers are my love. I read them all the time. I also read tons of poetry, and I think it’s safe to say most people know I’m more well-known for my poetry. My first published foray into fiction was a new wave fabulist novelette, Finger : Knuckle : Palm. For those unaware of this newly formed genre, it’s a kind of fantastic fiction that crosses boundaries between fantasy and literary fiction. Though genre-bending, it was, at the time, the darkest thing I’d ever written, but not nearly as dark as I’ve since gone. A few years ago, after having success with Finger : Knuckle : Palm, someone challenged me to write something longer and darker, much like the noir I regularly read. Though it later became Dark Water, what I eventually came to write started out as a short story—the beach scene.
Dark Water certainly took me through black depths as I wrote it, and I quickly learned to suspend reality and hole myself up inside another world. But, the tricky part and dangerous part was the twists. Dark Water is, above all, a femme fatale. On the surface the reader will experience the world of a mentally ill serial killer, but at its depth, there lies the trope of the manipulative woman, or in this case, women, dominating the plot line. Here, I found the adage of “write what you know” and my writing style secured me to the page. No, not that I personally knew such depravity but certainly people I’ve known in my life capable of living torment and hubris to their own detriment. For me, the nature of human, in all its facets, is enough to fill millions of successful pages of written noir. Many of my press mates and their books are testaments to this notion. I went on to write two more novellas, Red Hands being one of them. If Dark Water taught me anything as a person or a writer, it’s that the next one can be darker. The next one can reach into you personally and pull out your truths, that your truths and experiences are no different than someone else’s. I’m currently working on a much longer, hardboiled manuscript. It too is teaching me a lot about my craft and who I am as a person, as is my editor, Chris Black.
To quote Chris Black: “Long story short: write the books you want to write and make sure you’re happy with them. Then see what happens when you let them out. Your books will find at least some people who truly get them, and that’s the point of small publishers and hopeful authors. Everything after that is a toss of the dice.” I say roll ‘em baby. Roll ‘em.