COY HALL lives in West Virginia, where he splits time as an author and professor of history. As a historian, he studies Medieval and Early Modern Europe. History influences his fiction, with many of his stories set in the distant past- -sometimes the real past, sometimes an imagined one, but most often a mix of the two. His books include Grimoire of the Four Impostors (Nosetouch Press, 2021), The Hangman Feeds the Jackal: A Gothic Western (Nosetouch Press, 2022), and The Promise of Plague Wolves (Nosetouch Press, 2023).
The Fiends in the Furrows III: Final Harvest
“Herald of the Red Hen”
What do you like most about Folk Horror?
The genre has a simple, rustic poetry to it that appeals to me in the same way folk music appeals to me. It’s polished with the appearance of being unpolished, and I’ve always loved that. When I was a kid, and learning to play music, I had a great interest in 18th-century murder ballads. These were pretty melodies, very simple, conveying tales of graphic violence. The juxtaposition of three-chord simplicity and jarring dashes of gore has a living equivalent in folk horror. You have this idyllic backdrop with things horrific afoot. I don’t know if that connection lands with everyone, but I love it.
What inspired you to write your FIENDS III story?
I was reading a history called The Last Witch of Langenburg: Murder in a German Village. One of the details that stuck out to me was how millers were viewed in German communities in the 1600s. And it wasn’t positive. Millers were outsiders. That social tension caught my imagination. That was the kernel of the story. I had an interest in arson as an act of terror in this time, too, and I wanted to do a story along those lines. That’s the red hen in this tale: the threat of arson. I brought those elements together with my occult investigator and his hound, Dorin Toth and Vinegar Tom.
What upcoming projects are you working on?
I’m finishing edits on a crime novel I hope to release in 2024. It’s called The Switchblade Svengali, and it takes place in 1968 Phoenix. I’m also writing a new book set in 17th-century England, a crime novel tentatively titled Dig a Witch’s Grave Deep. It’s a tale of the gothic and a tale of the criminal. Think of something like Witchfinder General but through the lens of highwaymen at the end of the English Civil War. I want to combine the world I’ve created with “Herald of the Red Hen” and The Promise of Plague Wolves with my interest in noir. It’s a unique mash up.