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Writer's Spotlight: Ness Cernac

Process Notes:

I affectionately think of “The Mountain Under Vickwood” as knockoff cosmic horror, but I don’t think cosmic horror can be written (or knocked off) without interrogating where it came from. Because it’s a genre born from prejudice and hatred, I wanted to push against its roots by approaching Vickwood’s source of horror from a point of love and attachment.
Thus, instead of recoiling from something unfathomable, the residents of Vickwood love the creature slumbering under their town. They don’t understand it, and they don’t pretend to, but they love it anyway. I’ve always liked stories that allow the reader to be the only one who sees the problem, so that’s what I strove for. There’s something wonderfully fun about horror that isn’t horrific at all to the people experiencing it.
As for the Baby itself, I’m deathly afraid of bugs, so by making the object of Vickwood’s affections a snow flea, I’m hoping to trick myself into liking them.

Why do you write horror?

It took me a while to realize I was writing horror--which sounds silly but in everything I wrote, I ended up inserting bits and pieces of my biggest fears without realizing what I was doing. I think my work became more honest once I embraced the horror label, and I think horror in general encourages a lot of introspection from both readers and writers. I think it’s a great exercise in both overcoming your fears and scaring yourself even more.

NESS CERNAC is an English tutor with a BA in Philosophy. They enjoy speculative horror, cooking, and writing in notebooks they’ll never finish.

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