Monday, April 1, 2024

The 40 But 10: Emmett Nahil


I had decided to retire the literary Would You Rather series, but didn't want to stop interviews on the site all together. Instead, I've pulled together 40ish questions - some bookish, some silly - and have asked authors to limit themselves to answering only 10 of them. That way, it keeps the interviews fresh and connectable for all of us!

Today we are joined by Emmett Nahil.Hailing from a haunted seaside town in Northeastern Massachusetts, Emmett is the author of LET ME OUT (Oni Press, 2023), and a writer of horror and speculative fiction centering marginalized perspectives. His debut novel, FROM THE BELLY (Tenebrous Press) releases May 30th, 2024. His writing has been featured in THE BOOK OF QUEER SAINTS, VOLUME II, Laura Kate Dale's GENDER EUPHORIA anthology, and elsewhere. Favoring the historic, the strange, and the gory, in his other life Emmett makes video games as Narrative Director and co-founder of Perfect Garbage Studios. He can be found most places online as @_emnays.

What made you start writing?

I decided to try it one day. NaNoWriMo was rolling around, and as a person, I fundamentally love a challenge and/or competition. I’ve been a lifelong reader and love to pick at stories. I caught the bug from there pretty immediately.

How do you celebrate when you finish writing a new book?

I usually cap it off with a takeout buffalo chicken calzone. Then I allow myself to finally start thinking about the next one. I’m a pretty sequential writer, and I’m not great at juggling multiple books at a time.

Describe your book in three words.

Moist. Bloody. Sexy?


If you could spend the day with another author, who would you choose and why?

Ooh. I genuinely, earnestly, would love to spend the day with Stephen Graham Jones. He’s so prolific, and so goddamn good at what he does. His knowledge of craft and the medium of horror is off the charts insane. I’d probably love to peruse a video store with him or something, I dunno.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Maeve Fly by CJ Leede. It rips, it shreds. I’m so excited for her new religious horror title coming up.

What’s the one book someone else wrote that you wish you had written?

There are so many! I wish I was cool enough to not care about what other people write, but I do. Luke Dumas’ A History of Fear is so, so, taut and just….cool. It’s an enthralling book, and I love it. His tension and pacing is gold-standard.

What’s on your literary bucket list?

I’d like to make an honest attempt at epic fantasy. It’s what got me really back into world building, and I have an idea cooking for a series. But I’m usually a standalone writer and an under-writer, so the high page count mandated by the genre is a little daunting. One day I’ll get there.

Do you DNF books?

Oh, absolutely and all the time. Life is too short to read books that aren’t working for you. It’s very healthy to walk away from entertainment that you don’t like, and to not worry about the consequences.

What scares you the most?

The idea of my work not being remembered! I’m such a chump for this, but the idea of screaming into the void really bums me out. But you gotta make your peace with it, because it seems like that’s all there really is, in the end. How’s that for some nihilism?

What are your bookish pet peeves?

Literary pessimism, I guess. “X genre is out, readers aren’t reading, the industry is dying”. That kinda stuff gets me irritated. You really think storytelling is going anywhere? Nah, I don’t think so.


The whaling vessel Merciful has just made its strangest catch yet: a massive whale containing a still-living man secreted within its stomach lining. Sailor Isaiah Chase is tasked with keeping the enigmatic man alive. 

 As their relationship grows, a series of accidents, injuries and deaths quickly befall the ship and its crew. Isaiah is plagued by strangely prophetic dreams, even as the crew continues their endless quest for whale oil under the command of an increasingly unhinged captain. 

 As events spiral further out of control, the mysterious man confesses what Isaiah has begun to suspect: the crew of The Merciful has fallen into a cycle of punishment for their greed and destruction. Isaiah must confront the sea's vengeance made flesh, and choose between this new, strange love and the fate of the ship itself.

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