E. C. Hanson is a gentleman that reached out to me awhile back via instagram. Friendly from the start, when he asked if I would have any time to read his upcoming collection of horror shorts, of course I said yes!
All Things Deadly: Salem Stories was a five-star read for me! If you missed that review, feel free to click here to check it out!
Let’s dive into the interview!
Interview with E. C. Hanson, author of All Things Deadly: Salem Stories
Who is E. C. Hanson?
E. C. Hanson earned his MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and was the recipient of an “Outstanding Writing For The Screen” certificate. His work has been published by Smith & Kraus and Applause Books in 8 play anthologies. More than 35 of his plays have been developed and produced in the United States.
Curious Blue Press, Trembling With Fear, Ghost Orchid Press, Collective Tales, and The Parliament House have published his fiction.
As an educator, Hanson has taught undergraduate and graduate-level English courses at Sacred Heart University. He currently teaches a horror-themed writing class.
What is your first memory of writing for fun?
I always despised writing. I wasn’t very good at it. At least no teacher said I was. But I took a playwriting elective in college and Dr. Sandy Young, my professor/adviser, said that I had talent. I started to write monologues and short plays every night. My brother was an actor in LA, so he exposed me to a lot of material. Mostly films. The day after I graduated college, I relocated to Los Angeles. He helped me stage plays at “black box” theatres.
How many things have you written?
I have written tons of short plays and a few full lengths. At the start of COVID, I turned to fiction. I finished a novella in the winter and just wrapped up a YA horror novel. That brings to me 3 total.
What are some of your other interests outside of writing?
Buying strong K-cups. Playing basketball. Watching football. Using the Peloton bike. Making silly faces with my daughter. Taking walks with my family. Watching foreign films and Westerns. Reading manga and plays and poems.
Are you also a reader?
I wouldn’t be able to crank out any material without reading a lot. My daughter is only five months old, so it has definitely impacted my reading pace. But I adore the act of reading.
What genres do you reach for the most?
I don’t care what the genre is as long as it is dark. Family dramas make me melt. I cannot get enough of them. Francine Prose is one of the best authors I’ve ever read. Check out BLUE ANGEL, A CHANGED MAN, and BIGFOOT DREAMS. She also has a wonderful book about reading/writing. I would totally fan-boy around her. (I think I used that in the right context, haha). As for within the genre, I have been tackling the work of Robert Ottone, Mark Towse, Ruthann Jagge, Chris Miller, et al. Michael Jess Alexander put out a collection (Boarded Windows, Dead Leaves) last year that blew me away. These authors have such amazing skills that I have to pause mid-read and go, “Oh man, I have a lot to learn regarding fiction!” And they are kind people! It’s wild. This community is so nice and supportive. You’d think they’d be awful people given the genre we play in.
Do you have an all time favorite book or author?
Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger is so high on my list. But Sylvia Plath does it for me in every way. Her poems, her letters, her fiction. Oh my God! Years ago, I entertained the notion of joining the Peace Corps or pursuing my PhD. I would have devoted my life to Plath. But then I was waitlisted at NYU for their Dramatic Writing program and my mindset changed. I didn’t get in until the following year, however. They liked to reject me. But it was a dream come true. I miss that community. As for Plath, I’ll return to her work eventually. Have you read Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom yet? Stop this interview and read it. I’ll wait until you get back.
Book Related Questions
In All Things Deadly: Salem Stories, you format the flow of tales in a way that I hadn’t seen before. The introduction sets readers up with a baseline with two characters that we come back to throughout the collection. So two questions here! First, can you talk us through this format and why you chose it? And second, there’s a line in the epilogue that shows us that it’s not just the tales about these two characters that are connected, but that all of them are connected. Do you have any plans to continue on with another collection to expand on the main characters we met here?
These are wonderful questions. Well, in one of my first outlines, I realized that I had a book of stories without the Frost characters. My brother is an actor, producer, and writer. He thought it would improve with a frame. Before I give him too much credit, it’s important to share that I am a reading tutor and adjunct professor. I am exposed to tons of material. The roots of a frame story go way back to The Arabian Nights. It changed the storytelling game. That work of art convinced me that I needed to insert something to make this book feel a lot less random.
I like to tackle new things. I don’t usually return to characters or storylines. But a reader felt the epilogue was, ironically enough, Sutton’s origin story. Like a post-credits scene in a movie. I care about Sutton a lot, so a novelette about her could be interesting. Or a spiritual sequel called ALL THINGS DEADLY, but hone in on a different city and all new characters. For any of these ideas to make it onto my computer, the book has to find an audience. If not, I doubt I will devote time to these ideas.
In your tale, Red Couch in the All Things Deadly collection, the story begins and ends with a very similar passage. Was this element planned, or did it come to you as you were writing?
Totally organic. I like the bookend approach. Introduce something early and then end your book or film with it. Joe Wright does it in the film HANNA. It was recently done in UNHINGED. But the best execution of introducing a bit early and closing with it occurs in Sargent’s THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123. It’s a moment with the late Walter Matthau. It’s amazing. As a viewer and writer, I pump my fist during that concluding scene.
Is there anything you’re working on now that you can let us know about?
Well, I finished draft one of ESTHER FITZGERALD & THE UNDERGROUND WITCHES. It’s a YA horror novel. If I get it right, there will be a second book. I’m entertaining some wild ideas with it, so I will get back to you on this one. And my first novella just found a home. It’s an ultra-violent tale about siblings stranded in a farmhouse. It’s like a mature version of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. But it has heart. Horror needs heart. I will be working with Demain Publishing on that in early 2022.
Just one last question; Where can readers find you?
Thanks for reading!
And shout out again to E for taking the time to dive into this interview.
If you haven’t snagged All Things Deadly yet, make sure to go check it out and stay tuned to learn more about E’s next YA Horror Novel!