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On Better Words this week: Ashley Kalagian Blunt
The terrifying real-life inspiration for this ultra-unsettling psychological thriller.
This is one of the most terrifying books we’ve ever read. And that’s mostly because it’s inspired by the very real actions of some in the manosphere.
Seriously, we couldn’t stop thinking about Dark Mode book for DAYS. So we loved being able to debrief with Ashley Kalagian Blunt.
Ashley also wrote the memoir How to Be Australian, and My Name Is Revenge, collected fiction and essays. Her writing appears widely across Australian publications, and she co-hosts James and Ashley Stay at Home, a podcast about writing, creativity and health, and teaches creative writing. Originally from Canada, she has lived and worked in South Korea, Peru and Mexico.
*Please note this book includes graphic descriptions of sexual and physical violence. Our discussions in this interview about true crime and the manosphere may also be triggering*
🎧 Listen to the episode at the link below or search ‘Better Words’ in your podcast player 🎧
Things we talked about
How this fictional thriller was inspired by The Men Who Hate Women by Laura Bates and the 'manosphere'
WTF *is* the dark web?
Ashley's approach to her online presence and how it influenced the book (and why you need to change your passwords)
The Black Dahlia and how true crime podcasts inspired Ashley's writing
The surprising links between Ashley's research into genocide and the manosphere
The move from memoir and essays into writing and publishing fiction
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Before we chat with our featured author, we always share some other recommendations.
Caitlin recommends: Yellowface by RF Kuang
A scathing exploration of cultural appropriation and publishing about what happens when a mediocre writer claims ownership of her more successful friend’s work. A compelling read you'll race through.
Michelle recommends: Dancing Barefoot by Alice Boyle*
A delightful YA that puts a queer twist on the classic high school romance. Dancing Barefoot follows Patch as she attempts to befriend the girl she’s had a crush on for four years and work out if they’re more than friends.
Bonus: ‘In Search of a Shepherd’ by
- Caitlin & Michelle
🎧 Search ‘Better Words’ in your favourite podcast player to get new episodes as soon as they’re live. We’ll be back with another episode next Wednesday! 🎧