FOX CLARET HILL is a transgender fiction writer who has been writing horror stories since he was old enough to spell. However, writing was nothing more than a shadowshrouded hobby until submitting his first short story in November 2021. That same story saw the light of day, and he has been confined to his office ever since. Born in Mothman’s home state and raised in the hills of Malvern, Fox now resides by the water in Australia with his husband and two dogs. You can find information about his works by going to foxclarethill.com or following him @foxclarethill on Twitter.
The Fiends in the Furrows III: Final Harvest
“Mrs. Badger’s Bones”
What do you like most about Folk Horror?
Because the nature of Folk Horror is that it’s inspired and based on folklore, there’s a wonderful, rich history to it that not only preserves these ancient legends and lore but breathes new life into them. For instance, the first written example of ‘Bloodybones’ appeared in Yorkshire in 1548, and then 474 years later, in 2022, I wrote a story about that very same monster. This was a creature that terrified naughty children of the 16th and 17th centuries, and now it’s returned to frighten in the 21st century. Think about how many storytellers and writers had to spin yarns about Bloodybones for it to reach me here nearly half a millennia later and how many listeners and readers it terrified along the way. Perhaps it’s because I’m a history nerd and enjoy spending hours going down Wikipedia rabbit holes, but there’s something profoundly compelling about the depth of all that time.
What inspired you to write your FIENDS III story?
This is the first and only Folk Horror story I’ve ever written or attempted to write, but as soon as I heard about the submission call, I knew I had to write something. I am fascinated by folklore, urban legends, myths, cryptids, historical , and rural settings, so I went to Wikipedia to find my monster. I am American, English, and Australian, and having spent nearly a decade in each, I struggled to choose a locale but soon settled on England because I couldn’t get the vision of stone cottages and foggy mores out of my head. That being said, Bloodybones also ended up in North American folklore, albeit as a creature of a different nature.
It took me a little while to decide between Jenny Greenteeth, Nelly Longarms, the Girt dog of Ennerdale, the Lantern Man, and Bloodybones (and Rawhead). Still, ultimately, in the end, there was just something about Bloodybones that stood out. Perhaps it was my reluctance to walk downstairs in the dark after reading about him.
What upcoming projects are you working on?
I am working on a folk horror/gothic romance/dark fantasy novel called Ancestral Teeth. It’s about a vampire named Henrik who runs a funeral home and subsists off the blood of the dead. He’s lonely, having been banished from his monstrous homeland, but that changes when a young man named Billy moves in across the road to tend to his dying mother. However, someone from Henrik’s past catches wind of this and takes Billy to a world run by nightmares, sending Henrik on an epic journey to save the love of his very long life.
As a gay trans man, I love telling queer love stories through my favorite genres, and I’m hopeful for a release in 2024. Follow me @foxclarethill on Twitter or go to foxclarethill.com for more updates.