Shawn Wallace lives and breathes folk horror in the Boston metro area, where he works. He enjoys traveling throughout New England when he gets the chance, particularly in the autumn months. He is haunted by abandoned buildings, and tries to photograph them when they’re not looking. “The Binding Tide” is his first published short story, although he’s got a number of other folk horror short stories written, and plans to write many more. Find him online at folkhorrific.com.
The Fiends in the Furrows II: More Tales of Folk Horror
“The Binding Tide”
I’m fascinated (and terrified) by many folk traditions. There is something elemental and very primal in them. They’re rooted in very fundamental aspects of human life — birth, life, death, elements, and seasonality. Folk horror takes something we’re all familiar with and pivots it into a dark and horrifying place that says a lot about who we are as people. There’s also a homegrown and even ramshackle vibe to folk traditions — like creating things by hand, rather than by machine — that is both beautiful and frightening to behold. Whether a handcrafted mask or a braided corn dolly, it’s unmistakable, evocative, and memorable.
Where did the inspiration for your FIENDS II short story come from?I wrote “The Binding Tide” before the whole coronavirus pandemic broke out, and it feels even more in sync with the weirdness we’re facing right now. There’s an ongoing clash between local customs and powerful economic interests, and these individuals whose power and privilege let them think they can simply steamroll their way through everybody. I love sea stories, too, and wanted to pull something to the coast.
What is your favorite kind of tree, and why?
I’m all about oak trees, I think. I mean, I love all trees, to be honest. But oaks are just cool. I even love the word “oak” — it sounds as powerful as it is. I’m a big fan of spruces, too. They’re delicate-looking and yet formidable.
How has the Coronavirus pandemic impacted your writing?
My writing really hasn’t been impacted by the pandemic, not directly. I still write, am not finding that I’m blocked by it, although I think about it a lot. The biggest thing I deal with is how irrevocably the pandemic is changing our world. We don’t even know how it’s going to end up for us, but the changes to our society will be pronounced.
What’s next for you, in terms of writing projects?
I have several short stories written and am plotting out several novels, where I hope to more fully explore folk horror concepts, which endlessly fascinate me.