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An Interview with Vanessa Morgan, Writer of Drowned Sorrow

by Mike Haberfelner

August 2008

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You are about to publish your novel Drowned Sorrow. Can you tell us in a few phrases what it's about?


Drowned Sorrow is about an odd little town where the shops sell nothing but water and where the villagers commit grisly murders when it rains. When a divorced mother and her teenage daughter arrive at the village, they will discover its terrible secret, but when they do, it might be too late to escape.


What can you tell us about the style of the book?


The best word to describe the book would be eerie. I believe that my main talent is creating suspense and keeping a constant creepy atmosphere. My roots are in horror cinema and that shows too. People easily compare the book to horror films such as Dead and Buried, Dark Water, The Ring and Letís Scare Jessica to Death.


What were your inspirations to write exactly this book?


The first idea I had for Drowned Sorrow was a ghost materializing from the water particles in a steam bath. That scene is still in the book and itís one that I really like. The odd New England town was clear in my head since the very beginning. I knew what the town looked like, what the villagers were like and I knew that something terrible was hidden inside that lake, something that if you knew what was there, you wouldnít want to go into that lake, wouldnít even want to approach it.


Is Drowned Sorrow your debut as a writer, or have you written/published other stuff before?


Drowned Sorrow is my debut as a novelist, but not as a writer. Iíve written and sold two screenplays before, both in the horror genre.


When, how and why did you get into writing in the first place?


I think I was 23 years old when I realized that I wanted to write stories. I lived in London at that time and I remember watching Faulknerís As I Lay Dying, which was a play at The Young Vic Theatre. It was then, during that play, that I realized that I should write fiction.


Writers that have influenced you?


My main influence comes from film. I love all kinds of films, all kinds of genres: horror, thriller, comedy, romance, drama, action. I donít think that a specific writer or filmmaker has influenced me. I always have some specific books or movies in mind when writing and I take them as an example for the quality I want to attain. These movies or books are different for every story that I write. For Drowned Sorrow, there was a major influence: the seventies film Letís Scare Jessica To Death. This film is an example for me when it comes to eeriness and atmosphere, but the story has nothing to do with mine. Drowned Sorrow is much more action oriented as well, but it has the same kind of creepy atmosphere. Also the depiction of the village in Drowned Sorrow is entirely based on the one in Letís Scare Jessica To Death and I put a few small references to that film in the book. I hope that the film will find a few more fans thanks to this novel. Not many people know Letís Scare Jessica To Death, but John Hancock has made a real masterpiece here.


Your website/mySpace/whatever else?


The official website for Drowned Sorrow is at It is more than just a promotional site. It has a horror trivia quiz with three difficulty levels. Thirty eerie scenes from horror films are the basis for this quiz and you have to guess the title for every scene. The quiz is definitely the most popular feature on the site. Another important section is Real Ghost Stories, very short stories about eerie paranormal events that really happened. Everyone can send in their own true ghost story by sending an email at Iím currently looking for some more stories to post on the site, so I do encourage everyone to send me theirs. It can be anonymous or with your personal name or the name of a website. Pictures are also welcome.


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The 64 dollar-question: When will your book come out and where can it be found?


Iím still waiting for the actual release date. There have been some delays, but it will be on the market later this year. Drowned Sorrow will be available in all the good bookstores around the country and you will be able to order it on a multitude of websites such as Amazon and B&N.


Is horror your favourite genre, or is it just a coincidence that the book turned out a horror-suspense-mystery?


No, itís not a coincidence at all. Horror is not just my favourite genre. Itís even more than a passion, really. It feels as if horror is in my soul and in my DNA. Iíve been born as a horror girl; I remember liking the macabre when I was still a toddler and Iím certain that I will still like it when I will be an old lady with fifty cats. Good horror is what excites me and what moves me forward in life.


Your interests away from writing?


Watching movies, eating out, spending time with friends, eating sushi, reading non-fiction books, kissing my cat.


Your website also features a section called Real Ghost Stories. Do you believe in ghosts, and do you have a Real Ghost Story of your own you'd like to share?


I wish I could tell you my own real ghost story, but Iíve never encountered something paranormal. Thatís a pity, because I would love to have some proof for ghosts or life after death. And I love listening to creepy stories that have really happened.


Since this is primarily a film site: Your favourite films?


When it comes to horror, I would say Letís Scare Jessica To Death, Salemís Lot, The Children Of Ravensback, The Shining, In The Mouth Of Madness, Prince Of Darkness, The Brood, Alone In The Dark, Race With The Devil, Fright Night, Inseminoid, The Tourist Trap, Donít Look Now and Two Thousand Maniacs! And away from the horror genre: Frances, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Sue, The Good Girl, Mask, and Love And Death On Long Island.


Any future projects?


Iím currently writing my second novel which is about a cursed town with more cats than one could handle. Itís a paranormal thriller and itís going to be extremely creepy.


Thank you for the interview.



© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD