A conversation with Astrid Addams
I was exposed to the work of Astrid Addams via her submission to Slice Girls, an anthology to be published in February 2021 by Mocha Memoirs Press. Her story “Monsters and Ice Cream” was brilliant, so when she offered her novella “The Haunting of Hacket House” to me to read and review, I was delighted. My review can be found here, and Astrid was kind enough to address my questions about the book in a short interview, reproduced below.
Q. There are numerous references to Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland in the story. What effect were you reaching for and do you feel the references tell us something about the main character or the theme?
A. There are various references to film, music, real life actors and literature in The Haunting of Hacket House. However I say that the main reference that runs throughout the book is Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit. With White Rabbit I wanted to create a sense of music and tone that reflected the story and its characters. The overall effect I was reaching for was to place my main character Jane in the real world and in a real world context. I wanted to give Jane a history, not just of what she had been through, but what she had liked and enjoyed and the sentimental memories she carried.
I gave the Harry Potter books a place within Jane’s past because they have a place in my life as well as my family and the lives of billions of people world wide and it placed her among them. I suppose the theme running through White Rabbit and Harry Potter is leaving the world we all live in. I also feel that the use of White Rabbit and the Harry Potter books expresses Jane’s need to escape and the importance of memories, even tainted memories. Both the song White Rabbit and the Harry Potter books provoke tainted memories for Jane.
I first wrote in the references to the Harry Potter books before J K Rowling had made offensive comments towards transgender people. I kept it in because I feel that the Harry Potter books influences on the pasts of billions of people cannot be altered even if the memories may now be tainted for many.
Q. You've created a bleak house in the Gothic tradition and I wondered whether the colour red had a particular significance in the story?
A. I feel that a sense of colour is very important in my stories, The Haunting of Hope House is heavily green, my short story Abducted in the A is for Aliens anthology is arsenic green and the ice cream bar in my story Monsters and Ice cream is gleaming red, white and silver. A stark contrast to Grandmothers bleak house. Like in Monsters and Ice cream, I wanted a colour contrast between Hacket House and the healthy green of the woods and hills surrounding it. I felt the colour red reflected the character of Hacket House and its land.
Q. The end gives us a sense of retribution. Do you think the main character needed this confrontation and how do you think it might have equipped her to carry on after the story has ended?
A. I think Jane needed to feel that justice had been carried out and to confront her past. I feel that the confrontation equips her for the life she will lead in future books set in and around the same area which I hope to write.
Q. What is the significance of the grandfather clocks?
A. I wanted something big, noisy and foreboding that seemed almost like characters and could be the equivalent of the gnarled trees in the forest, except within the house. It also gave Mr Smithson history, a hobby and an obsession. Time is also important to Jane who has to be working at certain times as well as the house and its residents who have something to accomplish sooner rather than later.
The Haunting of Hacket House will be released on October 23rd and is available for pre-order at
What is “Monsters and Ice Cream” (in the Slice Girls anthology) about?
As a boy Danny was forced to spend a summer with his creepy estranged Grandmother. His Grandmother quickly realises that Danny had a secret and determined to find out what it was.
Years later as an adult, Danny reflects on that summer and the secret his Grandmother uncovered and the murderous consequences that followed.
Monsters and Ice Cream is a story of love and violence and the realisation that monsters are in fact human and some might even be on your side.
Astrid Addams is featured in Red Cape's A is for Aliens (book 1 of the A-Z of Horror series)
A is for Aliens, the first book in an epic series of twenty-six horror anthologies. Within these pages you will find a collection of thirteen stories from some of the finest independent writers on the scene today, blending science fiction with horror. From the humorous to the terrifying, A is for Aliens contains a diverse range of stories with each author taking a different approach to the theme.
Astrid Addams is a self published author, horror fan and reader who lives in the UK. The HAUNTING OF HOPE HOUSE is her first novella. THE MAN formerly called Sectioned (its an authors prerogative to change her mind) is her second novella, both are available at Amazon. Her short story Abducted is featured in Red Cape Publishing's A-Z of Horror A is for Aliens.