Interview with Sarah Langan
September 28, 2011 by Paul Tremblay
Sarah Langan is the author of the novels The Keeper and The Missing, and Audrey’s Door. She is currently finishing her fourth book, Empty Houses. Her work has garnered three Bram Stoker Awards, an ALA Award, a New York Times Book Review editor’s pick, a PW favorite book of the year selection, and been optioned by The Weinstein Company for film. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, daughter, and rabbit. Her story “The Changeling” appears in Creatures.
What was the first monster that scared/moved you?
All varieties of spider, which by brother told me could eat me in my sleep. Also, I saw the preview for this movie where spiders get dropped into sleeping ladies’ mouths when I was three or four, and still remember it vividly.
Does a great monster have to evoke pity as well as fear?
Naw, I think a great story should have lots of dimensions, but a monster can be what’s most appropriate. Sometimes pure evil is scarier than a monster with a sob story. Or Hitchcock’s “Birds,” where bad stuff happens for no reason. Hollywood trends want us to explain the evil, but in truth, it can’t be explained, can it?
If you could be a monster, which one would you choose and why?
I’d be Monsanto’s CEO, because then I could be both rich and without conscience, which would make life very easy.
King Kong, or Godzilla?
Funny you should ask. Growing up, I was always King King; my brother always Godzilla. So I’d have to say King Kong.
What are the challenges of writing about a monster, as opposed to showing it on film?
As a writer of fiction I have absolute control. Filmmakers don’t have that luxury, so it’s apples and oranges.