13 Questions with M.J. Hahn

Horror Addicts episode 40: Ghosts’ featured author is M.J. Hahn. A man who’s profession is a bit surprising for a horror author. “I’ve been a hair stylist for almost 20 years. Yipes!! It’s still a fun gig because I get to be creative at work.”

But don’t let Hahn’s profession fool you; the man loves the horror genre. “It’s a lifestyle baby! I’ve been dressing in black since I could pick my own clothes! Any fiction I produce in the future will likely have some sort of supernatural aspect. It’s just how my brain works.”

M.J. was excited to be the featured author of this week’s HA episode. “It feels great! I’m honored to be included in season 4. Especially for the ‘Ghost’ episode. I started listening to Horror Addicts around season 2. I love it! I try to never miss an episode.”

“[T]his is my first time. I suppose there is a teensy bit of trepidation involved with the process of putting my work out there. But, it’s all good.”

The story he has written for all you Horror Addicts is titled The Black House. “[It] is a cautionary tale about the evils of Homeowner Move-in Eviction (which was especially rampant during the dot.com boom years here in San Fran.) Cindy & Chase Burnham are a yuppie couple who think they’ve found their dream home. The place seems perfect, except for the tenant living on the first floor. Cindy wants him out, and steps are taken. Then spooky things start to happen.”

Hahn went for “an old time radio mystery feel.” He admitted that “[t]he drama is, admittedly, a little “pulpy.” [But it] was a lot of fun to write.”

Readers beware that the extra details of The Black House, provided by M.J., contain spoilers.

The Black House. A real location in San Francisco that used to occupy 6114 California Street (same address in the story…although they no longer use that number now). It was notorious!”

“The home of Anton LaVey and his Church of Satan. After LaVey’s death in ’97, his finances were a mess. LaVey’s family fought to keep the house, but the City finally had it condemned. It was torn down in 2000. And a HIDEOUS modern condo was built in its place.”

“That was my jumping off point. How would Anton feel about what had been built in place of his former house? Not to mention that it was occupied by Yuppies!! (he was famous for his views on yuppies! lol)”

*fun fact*

“Anton LaVey spent his formative years working in Carnivals as a lion tamer, and Burlesque houses as an accompanist on the organ. In the course of the story, Cindy is tormented day and night by the downstairs tenant’s keyboard playing. I’ve included actually recordings of LaVey’s musical stylings to set just the right mood. He was also reported to have kept a young male lion named “Niro” on the premises. I’ve included him in the story as well.

I asked Hahn what it was that inspired him to write The Black House. “When Emz gave me ‘ghosts’ as a topic, I had the kernel for the story in mind. Then, as I continued to research, the details about Anton LaVey’s life and character shaped where the story went from there. I enjoy this kind of organic process of writing. Keeping as much as I can anchored in truth seems to make those scary bits all the more effective.”

M.J. admits to believing in ghosts, “[t]here have been times when I’ve had that weird feeling that something was hanging around.”  He shared with me the story of moving into his house. “My present house is over 120 yrs. old. We moved in on Halloween night and had an unusual housewarming. There was a definite cold spot in one of the bedrooms, and the windows in the back of the house would not stay shut!”

Other than The Black House, he also talked about The Bellefaire Podcast.
“A 15 episode serialized version of [his] first novel:
Yuki O’Malley & the Bellefaire is a horror drama aimed at the Harry Potter crowd. Yuki, the biracial, semi-psychic, anime-esque teen heroine and her phantasmic ass-kicking sidekick, Tina, face villains who wreak of greed and vanity at a spooky salon for women of a certain age. Did I mention that this all happens on the streets of San Francisco?
The sequel:
Crowley Golden & the Isis Heart is almost ready to go. Crowley is the “boy next door” who keeps his nose in old musty books full of arcane knowledge. He had a supporting part in Bellefaire, now Crowley takes center stage in an adventure that will have a more steampunk flavor.
I’ll be starting new episodes in May.”

I was curious about the strange skull logo Hahn has. He explained to me that it’s a “sort of a coat of arms for the villains in the story. There are injections of arcane compounds to extend life and preserve youth. The screwdriver and screws on the skull relate to one character who’s opted for a more invasive beauty procedure. mwahahaha!”

Fans of M.J. Hahn keep an eye out for future episodes of the sequel of Bellefaire. Which “will begin in early summer this year!” Also be on the look out for “The Isis Heart Podcast…more Victorian spooky goodness w/ a steampunky flavor!”

For more information on M.J. Hahn be sure to check out these websites:

The Bellefaire Podcast – http://bellefairepodcast.com/

The Bellefaire Podcast on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Bellefaire-Podcast/81640676817?ref=nf

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