My next interview in my spotlight blog series on the current Aurora Award ebook bundle is with Michael Rowe on his vampire novel, Enter, Night, a finalist for the Aurora when it came out. He is also the author of the novels Wild Fell (2013) and October (2017.) An award-winning journalist and essayist, he has won the Lambda Literary Award, the Queer Horror Award, and the Randy Shilts Award for Nonfiction. Here are Michael's answers to his interview questions.
Who is your favourite character in this book and why?
If I had to pick the character I most enjoyed writing, it would be Adeline Parr, the monstrous matriarch of the town of Parr’s Landing. Hands down. I’ve always had a soft spot for female monsters and anti-heroines. Women in horror have been so often depicted as victims in need of saving, particularly in traditional vampire fiction. I prefer them as powerful entities that can look after themselves, and then some.
There was something tremendously exhilarating about writing a character as emotionally carnivorous and all-powerful as Mrs. Parr—she says whatever terrible thing she wants to say, whenever she wants to say it. She wields her money and her power with equal ruthlessness and cruelty against her family and against the town.
She’s old gold mining money, and she has an almost feudal relationship with the town her family founded and named. She has no discernable moment of redemption, and by the end of the novel she’s only been transformed into the creature she really already was.
She was an absolutely blast to write. Long before the actual vampires make their appearance in the novel, Adeline Parr is already the queen regnant of the monsters.
What's your favourite relationship between two characters in this book and why?
The relationship between the teenagers, Finn and Morgan, is my favourite of the relationships in the novel. There’s a great deal of the young me in Finn. Morgan is an amalgam of the teenage girls I knew at that age, and parts of the relationship mirror my relationship with a former babysitter, Nancy, whom I eventually came to regard as a big sister—a relationship, by the way, which continues to this day. When I was writing Enter, Night I was very conscious of that particular relationship and all its nuances. Of course, their relationship takes off in directions mine with Nancy never went, but there are echoes of it all throughout the book.
A close second in the relationship department would, of course, be the relationship between Jem, who returns to Parr’s Landing as an adult gay man, and his first lover, Adrian, who is now a local cop. While Jem has chosen to live his life in the open, Adrian remains deeply closeted and full of self-loathing. The interpersonal dynamics in that relationship were surprisingly poignant to explore, particularly since they had loved each other as boys.
In Adrian’s case, that love was brutally snuffed out by Adeline Parr, who sent Jem away for reparative therapy and forced Adrian’s father to cruelly punish his own son. What struck me the most about that relationship was that even though it was set in 1973, the particular conflicts it presents still exist today in repressed pockets of North America and elsewhere.
What was the toughest scene to write in this book and why?
There is a scene midway through the book between Finn and his black Labrador, Sadie, which utterly gutted me. During the writing of Enter, Night my own Labrador, Harper, was living through what would be his last year. A great deal of my anxiety and anticipatory mourning went into that scene, and indeed manifested itself throughout the relationship between Finn and Sadie. That said, it was essential to the novel, and it had to be written exactly as it was. It’s quite unprecedented in vampire fiction and no one seems to have ambivalent feelings about it.