Welcome to our next Meet the Dead Heads feature, today with Aiden Merchant. Aiden was one of the earliest contributors to the website, and is always willing to participate in any of the special features we host here on DHR.
- How did you come to join Dead Head Reviews?
I helped the founder, Garrett, create a WordPress website for DHR as his popularity grew. I also wrote a couple reviews for him before Patrick took the helm, at which point I became a little more active in writing (having left the website I was working with previously). Eventually, I was given an additional role as a copy editor, something I used to do a lot of in the past and was eager to do again.
- What’s your role at Dead Head Reviews? Can you tell us a bit about it?
I am a writer and copy editor for DHR. I write one or two reviews a month on average, and proofread/format others’ work when the help is needed. Editing is something I have years of experience doing, and I enjoy it quite a bit. Writing book reviews is still new to me – I’ve been doing it for less than a year – but I’ve found it far more enjoyable than the music journalism I did for years prior to joining the Writing Community.
- What do you look for in a book? What bumps a book from ‘good’ to ‘great’ for you?
I need drama between characters and places. A story that is all action or horror, but no substance, will fail me. I also gravitate toward stories that really develop their worlds. A book that revolves around a town and its people facing off against evil will catch my attention with ease (as long as it is written well). A simple backstory to a character can make a world of a difference for me.
- What’s your favourite horror sub-genre?
Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic horror is the most fun to write and read, I think. That being said, some of my favorite horror reads in the last two years have actually been heavily influenced by crime elements, so that’s another expansion that pairs well with me.
- Outside of reading/reviewing, what are your passions?
I’m a writer, in general. I’ve been an author since I was a kid, but didn’t take my Aiden Merchant pen name until early 2019. I’ve written a stack of books, several of which have not been re-edited or re-worked as Merchant yet. Outside of writing and reading, I also love the outdoors. The woods are especially calming for me.
- What about hobbies?
Reading and writing occupy the majority of my free time. I wouldn’t call my family a “hobby,” though I also love spending time with them and playing with my daughter.
- Favourite horror film?
I actually don’t watch much horror. I find most movies of the genre lack substance. A lot of them are slasher-based, and I hate slashers. With that in mind, the horror I do watch is generally based on a book I enjoyed, like The Shining or The Ruins.
- Favourite recent read?
This is a hard one to answer. In the past four months, I’ve read more than fifty books, several of which blew me away. This includes A Penny for Your Thoughts (Robert Ford and Matt Hayward), White Pines (Gemma Amor), The Prisoners of Stewartville (Shannon Felton), and A Lush and Seething Hell (John Hornor Jacobs). I am also just about finished Devil’s Creek by Todd Keisling, which has been downright impressive.
- Favourite non-horror book/movie/show/podcast etc.?
Favorite Non-Horror Book: This is a beat of a cheat, because it’s a memoir of a horror writer, but On Writing (by Stephen King) is one of those books I’ve actually read multiple times. I don’t do that often at all.
Favorite Non-Horror Movie or Show: I’m not good at narrowing down choices, but I will say comedy is my genre of choice when it comes to TV.
Favorite Non-Horror Podcast: I’ve never listened to a podcast, so I’ll have to skip this question.
- What are you currently reading?
I’m just about to finish Devil’s Creek by Todd Keisling. Usually, I read between 5-10 titles at all times, but I just caught myself up to one book so that I can try to kill off my assignments a little faster.
- Anything spooky/paranormal that’s happened to you that you’d like to share?
I can’t think of anything, with the exception of something that happened when I was a kid. I’ve always dismissed it as a dream, but it’s stuck with me all these years – who really knows if it happened or not. But I had (seemingly) woken up in the middle of the night to find a light hovering over my bed. I spent several minutes standing and jumping on my bed trying to catch the light as it evaded me, before finally getting back under the blankets and giving up (thus returning to sleep).
- Is there anywhere else people can find out more about you?
My official website is www.aidenmerchant.com. I am also on Instagram a lot (@AidenMerchant.Official) and Twitter (@AidenMerchant89). I also have profiles on Amazon and Goodreads that you can follow.