In preparation for the exciting release of our second anthology, EVIL IN TECHNICOLOR, I had a chance to chat with award-winning author A. C. Wise, whose piece “A Thousand Faces Minus One” explores the subtle and dangerous ways people connect and disconnect with each other, set against the recent loss of Notre Dame Cathedral.

VB) Your piece involves a couple things that don’t seem related, but they seem to connect in your mind very clearly. First, the burning of the Notre Dame cathedral; second, the music of Kate Bush; and third, the psychological thriller’s diabolical twinning or whatever you’d prefer it called. How do you connect these ideas in your mind? Is it impulsive, or do you deliberately sit down and try to work out something explicit?

A. C. Wise) What an excellent question! The theme that ties all these elements together in my mind is the idea of the new replacing the old, and the feeling of being replaced/replaceable. A burned building might not have feelings about being replaced, but a person is likely to, whether they are being replaced by someone new in a relationship, a professional setting, or any other aspect of their lives. Depending on the degree to which they tie their identity to that relationship, job, etc., what might that do to their sense of self? If you replace all or part of a burned building with a replica, is it still the same building? Those were questions I wanted to explore, and it seemed appropriate to tie it to Kate Bush’s Hammer Horror, which has a backstory of one actor replacing another in a role, and then feeling haunted. On top of that, the video for the song has a dancer whose identity is erased by a hood, and special effects that lead to a ghostly trailing of limbs and the appearance of a single person being fractured into multiple versions of themself.

VB) What are your favorite Hammer Horror or just classic horror films?

A. C. Wise) For classic horror, it’s hard to go wrong with Bela Lugosi as Dracula. I’m also a sucker for just about anything with Vincent Price in it!

VB) How has the lockdown and endless pandemic impacted you, personally?

A. C. Wise)
I’ve actually been very lucky. I have the ability to work from home, and people in my neighborhood seem to be pretty diligent about maintaining distance and wearing masks. Now that things have settled into a rhythm, I am finding more time to write and read, which is nice, though I do miss interacting with fellow authors in person at conventions and book festivals!


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