I think in some ways all fiction is dark fiction—at least all good fiction, that is—in that without the darker shades our emotional palette would be left quite flat and uninspired. The dark and light are in constant coexistence and collision, like a handful of coins tossed into the air that reveal different faces on the cascade down—love flips to hate; devotion flips to jealousy; lust flips to loathing; joy flips to despair. Each positive emotion or desire has a darker doppelganger shadowing its every step. But far from being a bad or undesired thing, for me this murkier companion is like the dinner guest who gets the conversation going once the superficial small talk of day gives way to the deeper revelations of the midnight hours. Dark fiction is important because it invites the odd and unsettling right into the parlor (and beyond!) instead of turning them away at the door and pretending they don’t exist. For instance, the stories in my new collection The Knife and the Wound It Deals all arose from just such encounters and intimacies with dark and quite possibly dangerous strangers.