Meet Aiden Merchant
Today, I’m beyond excited to share a Q&A with horror and suspense author Aiden Merchant. He has quickly become a well-loved author by the horror community on #bookstagram and several other social media platforms. He is the writer of several short stories, novelettes and collections; such as Horrific Holidays, Pray and Out At Sea.
He is currently working on reissuing all of his prior work in mid/late 2020 through Snow-Capped Press. I thought this would be a great time to get to know him better and ask him some questions.
Make sure you read until the end to find out about the giveaway I will be hosting for Aiden on my Instagram page!
This might seem like an obvious question, but what made you want to become a writer?
I don’t think I could say it was one thing. I was raised by an English teacher who loved books, so I know that was a major influence.As a kid, I wrote my “own” fiction for a while, though it was suspiciously similar to the movies I loved. From there, I moved onto poetry as I started puberty. After that, I made the jump to lyrics, because I sucked at playing music myself. I was always the vocalist when knocking around music with friends, and a screamer at that. So, to get my writing fix, I did lyrics. I wrote hundreds of songs as a teenager. About the time I was graduating in 2008, I got my start in critical writing by writing for a variety of internationally published music magazines. I mostly did reviews, but I would also write up interviews and articles. I did this magazine gig up until recently; I think it was 2019 I officially called it quits. This was a year after I had already made fiction my focus. As a result, I really didn’t have time to review music anymore. I had been writing stories since 2012, and had amassed more than 600 pages worth of shorts, several novels (none of which have been released yet), and a big screenplay series (finally set to release soon).
By 2019, I decided I needed to make my official debut as Aiden Merchant. You see, I had finally returned to avid reading at this point, and all those wonderful books had fueled the fire inside me to get my own work out there for people to work. I saw how independent publishing allowed unknown authors to release great stories without all the middle men, and I fell in love with it. Authors like Gemma Amor, Matthew V. Brockmeyer, Chad Lutzke, Kealan Patrick Burke, Steve Stred, and Tim Meyer (to name a few) showed me that going it “alone” (and by that, I mean without big name publishers – you still have your beta readers and more to help with the process) could still mean success. Sure, it may not be big enough to make a paying career out of it yet, but it’s a step in the right direction. I have gained some loyal readers in the last year, and that is incredibly exciting.
So, to be quick about it, my parents started my interest early on by reading to me nightly and encouraging books. I was then returned to writing fiction by the independent writing community.
Where do you get your story inspirations from?
An idea can come from anything and anyone. Certain photographs have sparked stories more than once. A conversation with a random person has done it, as well. I can tell you that many ideas I am still turning into stories today (years later after originally jotting them down) came from me being bored at work. I would just think about stuff. My life or other people’s lives. I’ve always let my mind wander whenever it was free. I’m one of those people that thinks up the conclusion to various scenarios I may one day run into myself. How would I handle a break-in? What would I do if so-and-so died? Yes, these thoughts may seem morbid to some, but I can’t help that mental masterbation. My mind just wants to be prepared for every eventuality. And having a brain like that – one that refuses to shut up – has proven incredibly useful in writing fiction.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
As far as when I’m alone, I mostly read. I also like going out into the woods and mountains to walk about and think up stories.
But I’m rarely alone. I have a wife and daughter, both of which occupy most of my time. I’m not complaining, though! I love my little girl, and playing with her is just about the best thing in the world (however exhausting).
What is your favorite book (not written by you)?
You can’t ask an avid reader such a question! I can’t pick one book, just like I can’t pick one favorite movie (though, it would likely be Jurassic Park). However, I can name a few favorites from the last year or so. I love Cruel Works of Nature (by Gemma Amor), Under Rotting Sky (by Matthew V. Brockmeyer), Tomb of Gods (by Brian Moreland), A Penny for Your Thoughts (by Matt Hayward and Robert Ford), and The Prisoners of Stewartville (by Shannon Felton).
One of my favorite writers is Stephen King, but that rarely surprises people. I just love his writing style, and have emulated it many times in stories. Some of my favorite work from him includes The Stand, The Shining, and Under the Dome. I frackin’ love Under the Dome.
Are you working on anything new?
Always! I mean, right now I am focused on getting these damned reissues completed (which are looking awesome, so far), but I also throw random writing sessions into the mix. I have my fourth story collection in progress, for one. That has maybe a couple hundred pages, so far. I hope to put it out at the start of 2021.
I also have my screenplay series about Gina Charter to release later this year. That one was written between 2017 and 2018, but has been on the shelf waiting because I thought it would be turned into a novel. But every time I went to do that, I realized just how enormous a book it would be. You see, if a story is more than 600 pages as a screenplay, then it’s likely around 1,000 pages as an actual novel. And I just couldn’t see anyone giving me that chance, even if they are fans of Gina Charter (for those who do not yet know me, she has appeared in multiple stories already). So, I’ve decided to go through and make final edits to the screenplay, thus giving life to Gina’s difficult backstory. To build some attention for it, the first episode (there are ten in all) has been included in several upcoming physical releases, like the new edition of Pray coming this summer.
There is also a crime novel set in Lydia’s Shadow that I wrote in 2018 that I’ve been meaning to rewrite. It’s the story of how Malcolm Ledger (the local author) becomes friends with Jonathan Hutchings (the detective), as seen in the large (not yet released) novel, Lydia’s Shadow. Basically, a college girl turns up murdered outside of someone’s house, and Hutchings brings Ledger into the case to consult on similarities between the murder and a book from his early career. It’s being rewritten for a couple reasons. For one, the premise sounds a lot like Castle. To help distance that comparison people may make, I am turning it into something more horror-influenced in its new drafting. I want to say how, but I also don’t want to give anything away about the mysteries at play. The other reason I’m rewriting this one is because the original story was done without planning. As such, some things didn’t add up very well, and I wanted to fix those inconsistencies. The drama was there, but the studs were loose.
A moment ago, I mentioned the large novel, Lydia’s Shadow. That one has already been written (or partly written) four or five times since 2012. I keep changing up the story enough that I am forced to start again from scratch. In the beginning, it was about an alien race that had taken over the world by taking on the appearances of important figures in different countries. As the drafts came and went, I eventually removed aliens completely. I have recently started giving my readers hints as to the story through such shorts and novelettes as Squirming Disease. Basically, it’s an apocalyptic epic. But instead of everyone and everything suffering, it will mostly just be the human race on its way out; nature will flourish like never before. So, yeah, that enormous novel is also in the works right now.
I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m forgetting to note some of my other current projects, but I think this will do for now.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I can’t wait to see more of your future works.
I am currently working with Aiden Merchant as lead editor on all of his reissues and new stories.
You can find Aiden Merchant online at https://aidenmerchant.com/.
Also on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/aidenmerchant.official/
I am hosting a giveaway of four of Aiden Merchant’s previously released books. They are all signed copies, and you will have a chance to win them on my Instagram account.