|Illustration by Luke Spooner, © LVP Publications|
Welcome to The Pulp Horror Author Interview Series. Today's interview is with Gabino Iglesias who explores the fear of society and people in his short story "Feeding the Orishas" in The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias.
LVP PUBLICATIONS: What draws you to horror, both as a writer and as a reader? Who is your favorite horror creator? Who are your inspirations or influences?
GABINO IGLESIAS: I think fear is one of the purest human emotions. It makes people act strangely and pushes us to do things we never thought about or considered ourselves incapable of doing. I think those elements keep me glued to horror as a writer and reader. As for favorite creator, there are plenty. In terms of writing, I grew up with Stephen King, Poe, Richard Laymon, and Lovecraft. Nowadays I’m a huge fan of the work of Paul Tremblay, Brian Keene, John Langan, and CV Hunt. I’m constantly inspired by my fellow writers. People like Matt Serafini, Stephanie Wytovich, John Edward Lawson, and many other keep me going, keep me trying to get better.
LVP: What were your biggest fears as a child? Do you have any current phobias or fears now as an adult?
IGLESIAS: I collected monsters as a child. Early on I had the same fear of the dark most kids have. Then my fears became more elaborate because I read horror constantly. I feared demons for a while. Aliens creeped me out. As an adult those fears were replaced by real things. I fear not being able to afford food or a roof again. I fear things like cancer because it has taken too much from me already.
LVP: Horror has a million sub-genres, from psychological to splatterpunk. Which sub-genres have you written in? What's your favorite flavor of horror?
IGLESIAS: I currently write barrio noir, which bring crime and horror together. I’ve written science fiction with a touch of horror, a bit of splatterpunk in the vein of the great John Skipp, some Lovecraftian stuff, and a healthy amount of body horror. I love all of it. I don’t have a favorite. Give me possession and haunted houses and strange creatures in the woods and parasites and mutilation and ghosts and… just all of it!
LVP: Is there any sub-genre or area of horror that you won’t go anywhere near? Any one area that is completely off-limits?
IGLESIAS: I don’t think any area is off-limits, but there are a few things I won’t write about. One of them is rape. I don’t need rape to scare people. I think it’s used way too much as a device by horror writers who don’t have much to say. Some folks write about it effectively and with the respect it deserves as one of the most horrible things that can happen to a human, but most throw in there for shock value. Rape, sadly, happens everyday, so it never shocks me. What shocks me is how so many authors don’t have more to offer.
LVP: In your opinion, what is the scariest or most terrifying thing you’ve ever written?
IGLESIAS: I think the mother in Coyote Songs who holds her son as he dies of asphyxiation. That’s real pain. I’ve had at least a dozen people write me messages saying they cried. That means they felt it, they feared something like that happening to them. Something as real as losing a child can be scarier than a thousand monsters.
LVP: Have you ever had an idea for a story so scary or disturbing that you couldn't bring yourself to write it down? Tell us about it.
IGLESIAS: Yes! I’ve had several ideas for stories involving alien visitations and abductions, but none of them have been as unique as I would like them to be. I also don’t think I have the skills yet to sustain creepiness for pages on end. One day soon…
LVP: Are there any ways that your interest in horror bleeds over (so to speak) into other areas of your life? Do you throw legendary Halloween parties, do you dress like Alice Cooper when you go grocery shopping, do you have a pet albino snake named Nosferatu?
IGLESIAS: Horror is part of everything! I used to throw legendary Halloween parties. I don’t have much free time, but about 90% of the movies I watch are horror movies. I’m also a photographer and I think the horror aesthetic has influenced my photography, especially in the last two or three years.
LVP: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to try dabbling in horror writing for the first time?
IGLESIAS: Read. Read everything and everyone. Read body horror and classics and contemporary stuff and literary horror. Read like your future career depended on it, because it does.
LVP: What would you like your legacy to be? Or alternatively, what should your survivors engrave on your tombstone?
IGLESIAS: I’d like to leave behind books that entertain but also deliver a message. And I want to be remembered as a writer who used his (hopefully!) successful career to promote the work of minorities.
LVP: Anything else you'd like to say or add? Any final thoughts?
IGLESIAS: I’d like to add that I’m stoked about being part of this project!
~ Gabino Iglesias is a writer, professor, and book reviewer living in Austin. He is the author of ZERO SAINTS and COYOTE SONGS. His work has been translated into three languages, optioned for film, and nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and the Wonderland Book Award. His nonfiction and reviews have appeared in NPR, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Electric Literature, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Collagist, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, and many other print and online venues. Find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias.
Pre-order The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias (paperback or hardcover) from your local indie bookstore through IndieBound, from Barnes & Noble or Amazon now... or come see us at Crypticon in Seattle, WA and StokerCon in Grand Rapids, MI to read this story along with all the other madness contained in The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias (including limited edition autographed phobia card sets, available at conventions only)!