Every month I try to spotlight women in horror doing bad ass things, whether it be acting, writing, youtubing, or, for January, curating a monthly horror box!
I love a monthly box of goodies - I get Owl Crate and Coffin Box - so when I saw Night Worms pop up, I was like, “YES, PLEASE.” Except, just kidding, I can’t have it because it’s only available in America right now (we discuss that below). Still, I follow them and support them however I can because I just love everything these two ladies are doing!
Sadie and Ashley are two horror-loving book nerds who started their own monthly horror fiction box. Inside that box are at least two physical copies of books that could be short stories, anthologies, novels, etc. There’s also original spooky artwork from various artists and exclusive content like downloads and discounts!
As I’m writing this, they have had two boxes released– A Very Scary Christmas Dec 2018 and New Year New Fear Jan 2019.
You know what I love the most about these two ladies, though? They’ve set out to support and promote horror in a positive light, which is a big part of the reason I started this website. In short, I feel like they are my kindred spirits!
Let’s dive right into our interview and get to know more about these night worms…
How did Night Worms come about?
Night Worms began as a horror reading and reviewing group that Ashley and I started in March. We noticed we were being offered to review the same books as some of our friends. Since we were already organizing buddy reads, we decided to pool our efforts with five other horror-loving friends and review books together.
As our popularity intensified, other horror lovers wanted to join us in our mission to promote horror. Ashley and I discussed the idea of expanding the brand to other people by offering a monthly book club. The more we talked about it, the more excited we were to see if we could actually pull something like that off.
Both of us bring a unique set of skills to the table that complement each other well, so forming a business partnership was pretty easy. We launched the book club on Halloween of 2018 and did a pre-order for a Christmas-themed package. It was a huge success! We were blown away by the level of enthusiasm and support.
How has the experience been so far starting up your own business within the horror community?
Ashley and I have been a part of a niche Instagram community called #bookstagram for about three years. That’s where we met and became friends as well as built solid friendships with other book lovers and bookish entrepreneurs around the world. It’s been about a year that the emphasis has really boiled down to the specific genre of horror. Ashley and I did a long season of just reading horror books at the end of 2017, and we just never stopped doing it. The people we have met that also love horror with the same intensity and passion are the among the coolest people on the planet. They have been nothing but supportive and encouraging.
Of course, whenever you grow in your success, there are envious and unsupportive people. Ashley and I have learned that lesson a few times. Not everyone is out to promote others; some people are only self-promoters. Thankfully, they’re few and far between in the horror.
What is it about the horror genre that keeps you intrigued?
I always love answering this question! I think people who have a very surface-level understanding of the horror genre see horror books as only having a sole purpose to scare. You see this in horror book reviews, “This book didn’t scare me, so I rated it low” or “This book scared me! Five stars!” which is fine if that’s all you’re looking for in your reading–to experience one emotion. I’m not judging that approach; I just don’t think it’s all horror has to offer. Horror authors couldn’t possibly all take the same approach to writing books. I would never assume that of any genre--that all horror authors have one objective and that’s to scare the reader.
The horror authors I’m familiar with are wildly different in their approach to storytelling. They come at it from every direction, so you get a full picture of horror the more you read. Some authors use gore and violence. Some authors like to build their story slowly, adding in atmosphere and unsettling subjects in a subtle way. Others enjoy pulling hard on emotions–there’s just a wide variety of narratives and styles and stories. It never, ever gets old or boring.
Top 5 books you'd recommend to horror fans that they may have never heard of:
Sadie (Mother Horror’s List)
The Switch House - Tim Meyer
Beneath - Kristi DeMeester
Out Behind the Barn - Chad Lutzke & John Boden
Children of the Dark - Jonathan Janz
Brother - Ania Ahlborn
The Silence - Tim Lebbon
Breaking the World - Jerry Gordon
Pork Pie Hat - Peter Straub
Suffer the Children - Craig DiLouie
Kill Hill Carnage - Tim Meyer
Have you experienced any push back by being a female in the horror world?
Speaking for myself, I’m not sure how Ashley would answer this question, but it’s been the opposite for me. I don’t get much push back–I feel like I have been elevated and singled out in a positive way among my horror peers. I truly believe that my offers to review horror in SCREAM magazine and Cemetery Dance were born from the idea that the community has been hungry for a female voice in horror. Just in the last year, I have seen so much activity on the female side of horror in terms of female fans of horror literature, authors, podcast shows, reviewers, and publishers.
It’s like a rising up of women in an otherwise male dominated culture, and it feels awesome to be a part of it as a reviewer/fan and a business that emphasizes promoting horror. It’s a great time to be a female horror lover.
Favorite female horror author?
I could never pick one! Here’s several who are currently working today: Ania Ahlborn, Alma Katsu, Kristi DeMeester, Damien Angelica Walters, Gwendolyn Kiste, Christa Carmen, Caroline Kepnes, Beverley Lee, Darcy Coates, and Nadia Bulkin.
What's in store for the future of Night Worms?
We have so many exciting packages planned! We are in discussion with several authors, publishers, and artists to do exclusive content for Night Worms. This includes materials and books that fans of horror can’t get anywhere else. We have a very exciting box coming in April, where we are showcasing one of our favorite authors, Kealan Patrick Burke. All the content in this package will be unique and exciting. We have plans to do more horror author spotlights in the future.
Our company really puts a huge emphasis on reading, reviewing, and promoting horror. It sets us apart from other book clubs or subscription boxes. Ashley and I have been involved in the horror community as fans, readers, and reviewers long before we ever stepped into our role as business owners in this industry. The passion, the integrity, the respect and care is there–first and foremost.
Down the line will you be shipping to the rest of North America?
Aw! We love horror fans all over the world, and we would love to extend our services to other countries. It’s in the works–it’s on the table. We just want to offer you the best product we can and understand the business inside and out before we launch ahead of ourselves and get in over our heads. We have seen companies scale too quickly and too greedily, and it’s just not sustainable. We want to be a business for a long time to come. We’re in this for the long haul.
What would be your second favorite book genre outside of horror?
Sadie’s choice: Fantasy
Ashley’s choice: Fantasy
What was the first horror book you ever read that set you down this spooky path?
Sadie: My mom’s Stephen King collection at home led me down this path. Specifically, Salem’s Lot.
Ashley: The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon, it was actually recommended to me by Sadie a couple years ago, and it was the perfect horror starter book. It made me realize I could handle scary things and that I liked to be scared!
How amazing are they?! I love everything about this company and their passion for the horror genre. I myself have noticed a lack of promotion for horror authors who aren’t the big guns, which is why I started Spooky Reads on this very site. Although, Sadie and Ashley are doing a much better job than me by promoting horror authors, artists, and publishers, so all of you MUST check out Night Worms!
You can check out their site at Night Worms
And you can follow them on all their social media:
A package will cost you roughly $37.99 USD, and on their social media, they’ll tweet hints at what the boxes have inside. Keep an eye on their social media so you can see when the pre-order is open for the next month and to see great unboxings of past boxes too!
Even if you can’t support by ordering one of their incredible boxes, go give them a follow and a retweet to help get this important message out there!
Our horror community stays alive by all of us lifting each other up and supporting and encouraging horror in all its aspects. Also, as a fellow lady horror fan, I want to thank Sadie and Ashley for being the lady bosses they are and kicking ass! Here’s to a profitable and successful 2019 to Night Worms!