THE SEVEN: Sarah Langan

Continuing my interview series called THE SEVEN, in which I invite some of my favorite authors to answer seven questions about their most recent projects, today’s guest is the ridiculously talented Sarah Langan. No self-respecting horror fan should miss her powerhouse small-town-in-peril fright fests, THE KEEPER and THE MISSING, or the Ira Levin-esque haunted house novel, AUDREY’S DOOR.

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Q. What is your most recent release?

I contributed a piece to the radio play anthology “Tales From Beyond the Pale” calledIs This Seat Taken? It stars Joe Swanberg, and was directed by my husband JT Petty. Larry Fessenden and Glen McQuaid produced it. I learned a lot from that experience and it gave me the push to write my first screenplay, Glen Cove, which I’m now editing before sending to first readers for comments.

On the back burner, I’ve got my fourth novel EMPTY HOUSES, and a YA series called KIDS. Novels take more time and energy, so once I hit my third trimester last summer I put them aside. But I’ll get back to both very soon.

Q. What inspired the project?

Tales is Larry and Glen’s baby – they wanted to produce something for the joy of it, and to work with friends. I’m grateful I got to be a part of it. It recalls all those great old radio plays from the 40s and 50s. They’re stylized and smart with great sound production and acting. Shea Wiggam, Vincent D’Onofrio, and a lot of other big names were involved.

Q. What is the primary theme you’ve chosen to explore with this project?

I used to commute every day between my Manhattan job as a receptionist from my parents’ house on Long Island. I worked a ten hour day plus a two-hour commute on both ends and it sucked, particularly because that job, and basically all the jobs I’ve ever had, sucked.

You hear all these stories about couples meeting and falling in love on the LIRR. It’s practically an urban myth. So, one day I sat next to this guy who wouldn’t stop hitting on me, even when I pretended to be sleeping. He was wearing an expensive suit and carrying a briefcase. Was in the middle of telling me he had a genius IQ when I looked down, and saw that he was wearing ratty slippers on his feet. In that moment, I realized he was nuts. Like, he rode this train all day long, looking for human companionship. But sometimes he forgot the small details, like shoes.

I never forgot that guy, and Is This Seat Taken? was written for him.

Q. Of everything you’ve written to date, which project has been the most difficult for you?

AUDREY’S DOOR and THE KEEPER were both very challenging.

Q. Which title would you suggest as a good introduction for newcomers to your work, and why?

Most people tell me they like AUDREY’S DOOR best, so either that or THE MISSING, which has zombies.

Q. What are your thoughts on the burgeoning digital market?

I’m tempted to bury my head in the sand, but that seems like a bad tactic. So, I guess just watch and wait. Huge changes are happening.

Q. What’s next for you?

My plan is to have three finished projects by September—the novel EMPTY HOUSES, the screenplay Glen Cove, and a collection of short stories. By then, I’ll be able to dive into my work and follow up any of those three projects with sequels, trips to LA, whatever. Right now, it’s about my daughters. I can do one thing at a time, and I try to do that one thing the best I can.

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