Today I am interviewing Kaaron Warren, author of the new horror novel, Into Bones Like Oil.
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DJ: Hi Kaaron! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Kaaron Warren: I’m an Australian writer of short and long fiction. I grew up in Melbourne, but I’ve also lived in Sydney, Fiji and Canberra. I wanted to be a writer from the start, as soon as I learned how to read. This is my bio:
Shirley Jackson award-winner Kaaron Warren published her first short story in 1993 and has had fiction in print every year since. She was recently given the Peter McNamara Lifetime Achievement Award and was Guest of Honour at World Fantasy 2018, Stokercon 2019 and Geysercon 2019.
She has published five multi-award winning novels (Slights, Walking the Tree, Mistification, The Grief Hole and Tide of Stone) and seven short story collections, including the multi-award winning Through Splintered Walls. Her most recent short story collection is A Primer to Kaaron Warren from Dark Moon Books. Tide of Stone recently won the Aurealis Award and the Australian Shadows Award, and was shortlisted for the Locus Award and the Ditmar Award. She has won the ACT Writers and Publishers Award four times and twice been award the Canberra Critics Circle Award for Fiction.
Kaaron was a Fellow at the Museum for Australian Democracy, where she researched prime ministers, artists and serial killers. In 2018 she was Established Artist in Residence at Katharine Susannah Prichard House in Western Australia. She’s taught workshops in haunted asylums, old morgues and second hand clothing shops and she’s mentored several writers through a number of programs.
DJ: What is Into Bones Like Oil about?
Kaaron: The novella is set in a rooming house, the sort of place where people live for a few years or a few months. The Angelsea sits above a beach, looking over the site of a long-ago shipwreck, and the building is haunted by the people who drowned at sea. The main character, Dora, has left her life behind after a terrible tragedy. She is driven by grief and guilt; these things direct everything she does. The ghosts and the living inhabitants connect in ways that will cause irreparable damage.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Into Bones Like Oil?
Kaaron: This story came from many, many places and has been percolating for a long time. I stayed in a rooming house in Melbourne about 25 years ago and was fascinated by the daily routines, and by the relationships that formed in the dining room and the hallways. I was struck by how transient many people are in life, how we are who we say we are in new places where others don’t know us.
I also gathered stories of disappearances and murders where a rooming house was mentioned. “Last seen near…” There are quite a number of these. I’ve always been fascinated in the possibility of ghosts, and of messages from the ‘other side’. The possibility of absolute proof of an afterlife is interesting, and I like to explore that in different ways. Continue reading