Next up in our line up of author profiles from Dead of Winter is Erin J. Kahn, author of “Annabel Lee”, an expansion on the poem of the same name by Edgar Allen Poe. This story follows expertly in Poe’s footsteps, and really is a can’t-miss read.
Read on to find out more about Erin’s motivations as a writer and get an excerpt from “Annabel Lee”.
How did you get started with writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I had a teacher in first grade who encouraged me to write, and ever since then I’ve been churning out stories. I think I started doing it because it was so much fun, and that’s still my main reason for writing.
Do you tend to write in just one genre or do you like to write across multiple genres?
I’ve written Young Adult and Middle Grade novels, short horror stories, and poetry, not to mention blogging and book reviews. I think I’m mainly drawn to YA historical fiction and fantasy / sci-fi because it’s so much fun to write about characters who are having amazing adventures but in many ways are still trying to figure life out.
What made you decide to write “Annabel Lee”, which appears in Dead of Winter?
I love Edgar Allan Poe. Last summer I visited his house in Philadelphia, and that renewed my interest in Poe and reminded me of how great his stories are. I wanted to try writing a story in the same style. I took his poem “Annabel Lee” as a starting point and coupled it with the idea that is at the heart of many of his stories: the death of a beautiful young woman and the grief of her husband.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like reading, going to theatre and music events, and cooking (unless I’m feeling lazy).
Where is the best place for readers to find out more about your work?
I co-author a blog at woodbtwntheworlds.blogspot.com, where you can find my book reviews and occasional literary musings. I also have a short, feminist horror story soon to be published in Fantasia Divinity Magazine.
Thanks, Erin! And now an excerpt from “Annabel Lee”.
Erin J. Kahn
For those of you who do not believe in the permanence of the heart’s affections, I offer the following as evidence. Know that it is of the truest nature, and do not suspect, because of the story’s strange and unnatural elements, that I have constructed a fiction. If you doubt the veracity of my tale, I ask you to reflect on whether I could, of my own volition, have made up a story of such a peculiar nature. If I could have invented a series of events so unlike anything I have ever encountered. No, this story is true, and for proof I lay it before you; its utter strangeness will vindicate me, if my initial argument does not.
It was on a dark and gloomy evening in late October—indeed I believe it was the 31st—when I forever bade goodbye to the beautiful Annabel Lee, the sweet companion of my innermost heart. For years, I had courted her, wooing both in springtime and in the bleak dregs of winter, until she had, at last, consented to be mine. A short measure of happiness was ours, filled, however, with such a concentrated stream of golden bliss that I knew many lovers both happy and unhappy would have envied us. When my dear wife conceived, I scarce could breathe for joy, but the son and heir of my estate did not enter upon the threshold of my world before bidding it goodbye forever, and my sweet companion followed him before two minutes had elapsed. Was it forbidden for a man to know such a high and unearthly happiness? It may well have been, for in the intense delirium of love, I surely worshiped Annabel above God.
These were the thoughts that occupied me as I stood alone before the grave of Annabel Lee. The gloaming gathered to a murky darkness in the air, and the vaporous mists of day hung low to the ground. Meanwhile, the night’s shadows lurked behind every tree and tombstone waiting for their hour to come.
In the spirit of the holiday a few straggling revelers, unwilling to return to their well-lighted homes out of the chill evening, kept up a macabre chanting and cheering that reached me faintly on the wind: a demonic incantation punctuated at times by shrieks and howls of an unseemly nature that would have disturbed me had my thoughts not been so entirely occupied elsewhere.