My Favorite Bit: Sarah Day talks about GREYHOWLER

Sarah Day is joining us today to talk about her novella, Greyhowler. Here’s the publisher’s description:

Rhia is a Courier, a transient messenger who freely travels the land without calling any town or port home. The job suits her, for in a land ruled by the Temple, it is difficult to find your own way, especially when you have a Talent. Rhia’s is water, and when she arrives in distant Cerretour to deliver a message, she finds a village wracked with suffering. The well is dry. It hasn’t rained. The only person who can save these villagers is missing. At night, a strange creature prowls the prairie. The villagers have a name for it: greyhowler.

Rhia knows it by a different name: the lusus mendace, the predator of lies. It is a monster created by Temple Priests to scare the initiates and acolytes. It knows deceit. It knows fear. It hunts those who harbor lies in their hearts.

Is it hunting her? Is it hunting someone in the village? Is it nothing more than a myth, a tale meant to scare children? All Rhia knows for certain is she may be the only person who can save these people. But doing so means accepting what she swore she would never be . . .

What’s Sarah’s favorite bit?

Not gonna lie: whatever I’m writing, my favorite bit is always the part that makes me cackle out loud while I write it, wicked witch style. You know the GIF of Snow White’s evil stepmother vanishing beneath a trapdoor? Just like that.

This happened exactly once when I was writing GREYHOWLER. Throughout the book, my protagonist, Rhia, struggles with how her perception of events fails to align with that of the people around her. She is unwilling to believe in the supernatural monster that everyone says is haunting Cerretour, the little rural town she’s stuck in. You could almost say she’s determined not to believe. Rhia is a person who values her independence, her ability to see the world as it is, not as she’s told to see it. This is the kind of hubris that can set you up for big, unpleasant surprises if you don’t keep it in check. Rhia has a few unanticipated scares as she explores the town, looking for a missing person and trying to understand why a mysterious drought has befallen the region, but one scare is my favorite by far. I won’t spoil it for you–you’ll have to read and discover it yourself.

Narratives turn on the gear labeled “But then.” “We found our lost dog in the woods, but then we were lost in the woods with him.” “We arrived at the planet, but then we realized the planet had been destroyed.” “We unmasked the supervillain, but then we learned the supervillain was our best friend.” These discoveries pivot on the brutal moment of realization: that you’ve acted in anticipation of a result, and said result is ultimately not in your control. And haven’t we all had something like this happen in our own lives, sometimes with terrible consequences?

GREYHOWLER is a dark fantasy novella, but I am primarily a horror writer, and I think that comes through in the book. To me, horror is the genre of the body, and specifically the genre of the body’s periphery, the edge where your self-sovereignty stops and you discover the world can act on you, whether you want it to or not. It’s the monster’s teeth closing on your arm, the car sliding freely across black ice, your hand reaching into the dark, all unsuspecting, only to be seized by another, bony and cold. It’s the moment where you realize that what you thought would happen isn’t going to happen–something much worse is happening instead. My favorite bit is the moment where Rhia realizes, inescapably, that her understanding of what’s been happening in Cerretour is fundamentally incorrect… and now she has to face the consequences.

(Somewhere off the page, the author is cackling.)

I also love a good monster.


Book Link






Sarah Day lives in the SF Bay Area with her cat and too many LED lights. She is an author of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and many other flavors of speculative fiction. Her work is heavily influenced by festival culture, body modification, mental illness and family trauma, non-traditional relationships, and scary ghosts. She’s been published in PseudoPod, Cosmic Horror Monthly, The Future Fire, Underland Arcana, and many other great places. She’s terrified all the time and considers that an asset.

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