WIHM: Interview with Eve Harms
By Sonora Taylor
Our WIHM interview series continues with Eve Harms, author of the Kendra Temples: The Demonic Diaries series.
Sonora: How long have you been writing?
Eve: I started writing as a child, but it wasn’t my main form of creative expression up until recently. Throughout the years I've dabbled in creating comics, music, short films, sculpture, photography, podcasting, video games, abstract painting, acting, screenplays, and installation, and performance art. I decided to focus on storytelling about 4 years ago—it seemed like the most meaningful form of expression for me.
Sonora: Tell us about your series, Kendra Temples: The Demonic Diaries. What inspired these tales? Did you always know it would be a series?
Eve: Kendra Temples: The Demonic Diaries is a series of epistolary occult horror novellas with a quirky female protagonist, told in the form of her personal blog. It started out as an actual blog, presented as reality and told in real time, under the pen name of Kendra Temples—who’s also the protagonist of the story. At the time, I knew I was transgender but I’d given up on transitioning. Writing and interacting with the fiction community as Kendra Temples gave me a way to explore existing in the world as a woman.
When I decided to transition, I wanted to write under my own name and re-released the first book under Eve Harms, and then wrote the other two. I really had no idea what I was doing, I just was following my subconscious, but it’s pretty easy to see my motivation in hindsight.
Sonora: Tell us about your short fiction and poetry. Do you have a preference between short and long fiction? Poetry and prose?
Eve: My favorite length to tell a story is currently a novella. I find short fiction more challenging to write than longer work, and as a reader I’m not as drawn to it, so it’s less of a focus for me. But here are definitely story ideas I have that would only work in short form. Poetry is a form I’m still in exploratory mode with.
Sonora: In addition to writing fiction, you research and study occultist symbols and mythology throughout history. What drew you to this area of study? What do you find most rewarding about it? What’s currently lacking in the field?
Eve: I’ve always been passively interested in the occult and folklore, but it wasn’t until I started writing and researching The Demonic Diaries that I discovered the many online archives with scans of thousands of old occult books. I really dove in, and the more I researched, the more I fell in love with all things esoteric and occult. The feeling of finding something rare and interesting in an old book and sharing it with others is exhilarating.
What’s lacking in the field is translations! I wish so many more of these books were translated, especially for information on the non-western traditions that I have less access to learning about because of the language barrier. I would love to see folklore from more cultures represented and shared in the folklore community.
Sonora: Why do you think, in our creation of myths and our anthropomorphizing of natural phenomena, we’re compelled to create antagonists (for instance, the devil as an antagonist to God)?. Do you think our superstitions naturally need an enemy to fear, or is there something deeper going on?
Eve: If you look close enough, the most famous antagonists throughout mythology are generally not pure evil. My interpretation is the Abrahamic god is made in man’s image, not the other way around. The same is true for Satan, the adversary. This particular god is brutal and unforgiving and Satan and his demons are most defined by being rebel-spirits. It represents our fractured consciousness, and how we have many voices in our head telling ourselves opposing things. Every thought has a purpose, even if they seem malicious.
Conversely, many people use the ideas of good/evil people and entities to create meaning and structure in their lives through religion, fiction, and other belief systems. I believe this is a false, and ultimately fascist, dichotomy that needs to go. The lack of nuance and literalism that this approach takes isn’t congruent to reality and is actively harmful toward people and our environment.
Sonora: What have been your experiences in the horror community as a trans author?
Eve: They’ve been completely positive so far! I think that authors in general are empathetic people who try to see from other people’s perspective. And with horror authors it’s even more so, as they’re interested in the full range of human experience. I also think a lot of horror fans, and artists in general, grow up feeling like they don’t fit in. This probably helps them relate to trans people and other marginalized people.
Sonora: What are your thoughts on the way trans characters are portrayed in horror stories?
Eve: I don’t really have thoughts on the overall portrayal of trans characters in horror fiction, because it’s rare to see a trans character prominently featured in them. A lot of trans women who write horror and challenging fiction are afraid to include trans characters in their work because of potential backlash and harassment from their own community, like what happened to Isabell Fall.
Many LGBT people and allies don’t want to see trans characters go through trauma or suffering, don’t want challenging depictions of the trans experience (or any depiction of the specifically trans experience, instead preferring “representation” alone), don’t want to see problematic or unsympathetic trans characters, and are upset if they feel like a trans character doesn’t represent them. This doesn’t leave a lot of room in the horror genre or other challenging genres.
I think we’ve lost a lot of great trans characters in horror stories and other challenging works because of that fear of backlash and the social stigma of being trans in general. I’m just now gaining the courage to include trans characters in my own work.
Sonora: Who are some of your favorite authors? What are some of your favorite books?
Eve: Some favorite authors: Philip K Dick, Gretchen Felker-Martin, Grant Morrison. Some favorite books: I Am Legend, The Luminous Dead, The Secret of Ventriloquism.
Sonora: What are you working on right now?
Eve: I’m currently working on a body horror novella, a dark fantasy series centered around the hell realms of the Kabbalah, and a collaboration that I can’t say a lot about yet.
Eve Harms is a writer of freaky fun dark fiction. Her work has appeared in publications such as Vastarien Literary Journal, under Rayna Waxhead, and Creepy Catalog, under Kendra Temples. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her children’s book illustrator wife and two cats. She blogs about the occult and esoteric daily on her website: eveharms.com.