August 18, 2016

Body Horror: a guest post by Ivan Ewert, author of "Famished"

Having defeated the Gentleman Ghouls of the Farm and the Commons, Gordon Velander—and his attendant spirits, Orobias and Sylvie—head west. They seek to destroy the most remote branch of the cannibal cult that founded America and gnaws at the roots of the free world.
However, Gordon now fights a battle both within and without. His contentious allies first struggle, then revolt, following their own agendas. At the same time, Rancher Dylan Wildye has chosen a new tactic to preserve the family bloodline.
Warring for mastery of his own body, mind, and soul, Gordon must choose not only sides, but also his fate.

by Ivan Ewert
When Jennifer Brozek at Apocalypse Ink asked me to write about what scares me most, I took the ball and ran with it. At the time, I thought I was writing within the primary horror genre. I’d never given much thought to the various and very different fields within horror.
In fact, I had never heard the words “body horror” until one of my readers applied it to my first book, FAMISHED: THE FARM. The more I investigated, the more I learned about my worldview, and how that informs my work.
Life is strong, but flesh is a fragile thing. I was fortunate enough to get through my adolescence before any of my relatives succumbed to the ravages of old age, but when they began to fall, it shook me. Possibly because I had been so lucky as to escape decay in my formative years, it struck me all the harder when it came.
It came in a restaurant.
One afternoon on summer vacation from college, I took my grandmother to lunch. I was mesmerized by the translucence in the skin of her hands, the shake with which she brought spoon to lip, the smear of creamed corn soup going unnoticed against her cheek.
I loved my grandmother as much as any callow young man, but in that moment, I was both revolted and confused. How could this happen to someone I remembered as strong and vibrant? She was old, sure. I knew she wore a wig to cover hair gone wispy and thin. But now the skin around her arms was the consistency of crepe paper, and she needed me to help her walk.
On top of this, she forgot words. She forgot things which she had just told me. And throughout, that palsied, spotted hand ferrying tasteless food to a senseless tongue. She was disintegrating before my eyes, both physically and mentally.
Up until that moment, death was a distant thing which I vaguely knew would come. At that meal, however, on a rainy afternoon in our little downtown square, I realized with full force that it was coming to us all. The uncaring universe I had internalized through the writings of Lovecraft and the rationalism of my father became suddenly, immediately personal.
Decay enshrined itself in my consciousness, and wedded itself to a lifelong sense of alienation. I must have been a hit at parties.
That combined sense of bodily horror and personal struggle for identity informs all three books in my Gentleman Ghouls series, but nowhere moreso than the third, FAMISHED: THE RANCH. There were many scenes from which I had to walk away prematurely; and each time, one of my alpha readers would prod me to show more, to make the scene harder to stomach, to stop turning away from the reality I had created on the page. I worked through their pressure to focus on what frightened me, and was rewarded when my editor labelled me as “a bad, bad man.”
I look forward to the labels others might apply.

Bio: Ivan Ewert was born in Chicago, Illinois, and has never wandered far afield. He has deep roots in the American Midwest, finding a sense of both belonging and terror within the endless surburban labyrinths, deep north woods, tangled city streets and boundless prairie skies. The land and the cycles of the year both speak to him and inform his writing; which revolves around the strange, the beautiful, the delicious and the unseen.
FAMISHED: THE RANCH is the third in the Gentleman Ghouls series, published by Apocalypse Ink Productions.

Ivan can be reached at and on Twitter @IvanEwert.

The Farm and The Commons are both on sale for $2.99

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