An Interview with Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia was a finalist for the 2014 Sunburst Award.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia was a finalist for the 2014 Sunburst Award.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a vital voice in contemporary speculative fiction (especially in the weirder regions we at Postscripts to Darkness gravitate towards) and a pre-eminent figure in the landscape of Canadian small-press publishing. She is co-editor of Innsmouth Free Press, a micro-press specializing in dark fiction, and the editor of a number of influential themed collections of short fiction published by Exile, including Dead North: Canadian Zombie Fiction and Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse. I had the pleasure of reading Silvia’s startling, unsettling and evocative debut collection of short fiction, This Strange Way of Dying, earlier this summer, and recommend it highly. The stories in this collection combine vivid atmosphere, depths of insight, and memorable characters with brevity and focus. Silvia’s new novel Signal to Noise (which hits print in March 2015) can be pre-ordered here. This interview was conducted via email over the course of July and August 2014.

SM: Hello Silvia, and thanks for agreeing to the interview. While many of our readers will doubtless be familiar with some of the groundbreaking work you’ve done as writer, editor, and publisher, perhaps you could nonetheless begin by telling us a little about who you are, and about some of your projects and achievements?

strange waySMG: Hi, I’m Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I have a funny hyphenated name because I grew up in Mexico and have been living in your True North for over a decade now. My short stories have appeared in many places. My debut collection, This Strange Way of Dying, a finalist for the Sunburst Awards, came out last year. Next year my novel Signal to Noise, which is being dubbed a literary fantasy about music, magic and Mexico City, will mark my long-form debut. I’ve edited a lot of things, but you might know me for…actually you probably don’t know me for anything but Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse, the latest anthology I have edited. I run Innsmouth Free Press, which is dedicated to publishing horror and dark fiction. The latest thing out from there is Sword & Mythos. This fall I’m also publishing a second collection of my short stories, with three originals, titled Love & Other Poisons. Which I hope you’ll buy out of pity or obligation or to prop the wobbly leg of a table. I care not for the reasons.

SM: When asked during a Speculating Canada interview about the centrality of monsters to your fiction, you turned the question around by asking, “Do I write about monsters?” and went on to suggest that what you are interested in is not so much “monsters” as “the monstrous…I don’t mind the monstrous. ” I’m curious about the distinction you made here. Could you develop it a little for me, and explain why you are drawn not so much to monsters as to monstrosity?

SMG: I think we all have—at least I have—a morbid curiosity for certain aspects of the human mind. Why we are mean, indifferent or plain sadistic. Monstrous actions, maybe? Because I don’t think there’s anything inherently “monstrous” about a troll eating someone, for example, if their diet is primarily human meat. Hippos eat lots of people every year but we don’t think of them as monstrous. I guess I’m more concerned about people. Monsters have a pretty straightforward psychology in the legends, you can cope with them.

SM: Later in the same interview, you went on to tie your interest in the monstrous to your great-grandmother: “My great-grandmother, when I was growing up, would tell me stories and in those stories witches and shape-shifters were as normal as the baker and the corner policeman. The monstrous and the mundane co-existed. I grew up with that vision of the world so to me, I’m probably more scared of the Mexican police than a vampire.” Could you speculate a little on how growing up with this oral tradition has shaped you as a writer?

SMG: I write a lot about the things she used to tell me about, though I often bring these legends from the past into the present and into an urban setting because I am a city dweller. I probably wouldn’t write anything if it weren’t for my great-grandmother. She fuels a lot of my narratives whether directly or indirectly. I am mostly racked with guilt about her both because I never appreciated her when she was alive and because I can’t tell stories orally and I have to write them down. I realize that my incapacity to speak the story means my children will not learn them.

SM: I’d love to have you share a little more about your memories of your great-grandmother’s stories, and about some of the ways in which the “monstrous and the mundane co-existed” in them.

SMG: My great-grandmother would tell me stories before I went to sleep or when I was bored. She’d tell me about her childhood and her family during the time of the Mexican Revolution. She was very casual about all of it. There was not a sense of…drama, I would say. She’d describe what it was like to have your house ransacked by soldiers or a relative killed, but it all seemed very normal. These things happen, you know? And it was the same with the monsters from folklore. Shit happens. Witches do turn you into an inanimate object and you do meet The Llorona on the road late at night. My great-grandmother grew up very poor and could barely read but she always accepted her existence in a matter-of-fact way. Even her adventures—which at the time I thought were real, but which surely were invented—had a very mundane quality to them.

SM: You’re also a writer for whom fairy tales, and the various ways in which they’ve been adapted and transformed, have tremendous importance. You’ve said, “The best fairy tale movie remains The Company of Wolves, which understands its source material while giving it a feminist twist.” I’d love to read more of your thoughts on both the Neil Jordan film and, even more so, Angela Carter’s quintessential collection of revisionist fairy tales, The Bloody Chamber. What is it that Carter understood about her source material that other contemporary adapters did not? What is it about The Company of Wolves that makes it succeed where so many other fairy-tale film adaptations fail?

Dead-NorthSMG: It recognizes the contradiction in the stories, and their darker elements. “Little Red Riding Hood” is perhaps a tale of a predatory male but there is also a hint of excitement to the tale. When I was a girl I remember I couldn’t quite get why it was so exciting—just like I couldn’t get why David Bowie in Labyrinth was quite so mesmerizing. But it’s there. Fear of being consumed and a desire to be consumed. Angela Carter gets this is a complex dialogue, that sometimes it gets ugly, but that it’s also quite heady. I don’t think other people are willing to address this stuff as openly as she is. A contemporary twist to this is “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates, which was also adapted into a movie. Oates mentioned something about a “pied piper” when she was envisioning Arnold Friend and that stuck with me. It reads like a fairy tale, doesn’t it? Not a Disney one. Smooth Talk, the movie adaptation, can make a good double feature with The Company of Wolves. They are both telling different and similar stories.

SM: I saw a call for papers for a conference a few years back focused on “The Fairy-Tale After Angela Carter,” suggesting that Carter’s work was something of a transformative point in terms of the fairy tale’s contemporary importance. Do you think this is the case? In what ways did Carter change how you read fairy tales?

SMG: Well, I guess she allowed the “adult” to be very clearly reflected, reintroduced if you will, in the fairy tale, after the fairy tale had been cleansed for the consumption of the modern family. And people started taking fairy tales more seriously, too. It also became fashionable to re-tell fairy tales. But Carter did not change the way I read fairy tales. She kind of confirmed my suspicions. When I was a kid I had an illustrated volume of fairy tales and there was one image where Sleeping Beauty’s mother-in-law, who is an ogre (if you have no idea what I’m talking about it’s because you really haven’t read the fairy tale, you probably read one of the sanitized versions), is inside a tub full of vipers and scorpions. And her legs are sticking out, because she’s been found out and been punished. So those drawings made me suspect that fairy tales were not nice and clean, and Carter simply confirmed it. Bluebeard also had some suspiciously sexy drawings, by the way.

SM: “Them Ships,” your contribution to the post-colonial spec-fic anthology, We See a Different Frontier, is a story that poses a lot of very fascinating and troubling questions about colonialism, conquest, and cultural imperialism. Can you tell us a little about the story, about its relationship to “real world” historical colonial contexts?

SMG: I was thinking of the Malinche, who was a translator for Hernan Cortes when I wrote this story, but I don’t like to psychoanalyze my work too much, so I’ll leave it at that.

SM: In her introduction to the anthology, Aliette de Bodard emphasizes that “the worldwide dominance of English as spoken in the US or in the UK, the vast reach of Hollywood movies and US/UK books […] as another instance of cultural imperialism.” As a writer of colour from a Mexican background who is steeped in Anglo-American popular cultural and known for her English-language genre fiction, how would you characterize your relationship with this aspect of cultural imperialism?

SMG: English is very matter of fact for me. In Mexico, anyone with a middle-class background has had some English lessons. English is a practical tool. Of course, it is changing other languages. Watch any non-English-language film and most of the time you will catch one or two or more English words or phrases that have crept into the lingo. But that doesn’t horrify me. The dominance of English-language media is more problematic because it can stunt any local expressions of media. You begin to literally tell other people’s stories. You default to white characters. Suddenly you are setting your story in a freaking English pub and there are elves and you’ve never even been inside an English pub. But you do that because that’s what you see. You don’t even realize there is any other choice. Over time you can become a cheap knock-off of a culture you haven’t ever experienced. I don’t think it’s just their fault, like it’s only the Anglos who have to be blamed here. We are complicit in this. But however it happens, it is worrisome.

SM: The focal point of “Them Ships” is its narrator’s perceived complicity with the alien colonizers, a complicity closely tied to her ability to learn and use their language. To what extent does this dynamic parallel your own experience? Do you sometimes think of English as a kind of “alien” language?

SMG: No. I’ve spoken English for a very long time now, more than a decade using it in my everyday language. English has become very natural to me. There is nothing alien about it, but it is different than Spanish. And I was talking about this with a Chinese writer and an Israeli writer: there are things that you just say differently in each language. Insults are my best example. English insults will never compare in their intensity to Spanish-language ones. And you can’t replicate that. You just can’t. There’s something innate in the rhythm and the sounds. But, here’s the kicker: if it weren’t for English I wouldn’t be able to communicate with these writers from other countries. Sure, the Internet has helped connect me to many other authors and readers, but without the lingua franca of English I wouldn’t have had these conversations.

SM: I found your use of a very idiomatic, informal first-person narration in this story striking. Can you talk a little about this decision, about what informs the narrator’s speech patterns?

SMG: I hate it when everyone is upper middle class in all stories, that’s the answer.

SM: 2013 saw the publication of (what I believe is) your first full book-length collection of short fiction, This Strange Way of Dying, which was a finalist for the Sunburst Awards. Would you tell us a little about the collection’s origins, inspirations, publication?

SMG: I won an award that Exile Editions, the publisher of the book, was sponsoring back in 2011. And when I was flown into Toronto to pick up the award, the publisher asked me if I had written other stuff and I said I had. So he asked if I would put something together for him and that became This Strange Way of Dying.

SM: The collection features a really gorgeous cover illustration—can you talk a little about the artist, about how, and how directly, it reflects the fictions?

SMG: Exile Editions asked me what I wanted on the cover and I knew I wanted a catrina, which is a representation of death in Mexico. So I found a picture of one that I liked and sent them the link to the artist’ page and they then commissioned the artist [Sara K. Diesel] to make me a skeleton woman like the one I had seen in her portfolio.

SM: Can you tell us about your sense of the unifying aspects of the collection as a whole? What relationship do you see these stories as having with one another?

SMG: Death and death. Normally people think of death as a finality but it really has transformative qualities. When you talk about the death of an era, for example, you are implicitly invoking the birth of a new one. Of course, I think a lot of people see the skeleton on the cover and think I’m very morbid, but I don’t think death is a monolithic awful, terrible thing. Why, if you think of it from a Prehispanic perspective it’s not even permanent.

SM: Can you tell us a little more about what you mean by a “Prehispanic perspective” on death, and how this may have infused the collection—or your fiction in general?

SMG: Judeo-Christian time is linear time. The Aztec concept of time is cyclical. It consists of two infinitely repeating series of days—like overlapping wheels. The Aztecs had no year “zero.” So if you follow a cyclical overview of time death ceases to be an end point.

SM: From my perspective, one of the things that both unified and elevated the collection was the impeccable sense of atmosphere created with each story, generally with a very sparing use of words. Another is your ability to create vivid and very distinct characters, again working with very brief narratives. How central would you say atmosphere is to you as a writer? How consciously do you work to create and sustain it? Who are some of the writers whose work has most impressed you in terms of the creation of atmosphere?

SMG: It depends on the story. I think something like “Flash Frame” is entirely dependent on atmosphere while other tales rely less on it. But when I’m writing I don’t think: 2 cups atmosphere, 2 cups dialogue, mix and bake for 1 hour. It just happens.

SM: “Flash Frame” is a fascinating fusion of neo-noir and the weird, and is one of the many stories in the collection set in Mexico, in this case in the early 80s. It is also a story whose horror is predicated beautifully on changes in cinematic technology over time (in this respect it reminds me of a fantastic recent film, Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio). How pervasive a concern is technological change and its cultural consequences to you? Is this a concern you see arising in much of your fiction? Is there something about working with the genres of horror and spec-fic particularly suited to expressing these concerns?

signalSMG: Some friends came to visit me in Vancouver and I took them to a historical location: Movieland Arcade, the last home of authentic, 8mm “peep show” film booths in the world. I didn’t do it because I am a porn aficionado. I am just fascinated with science, technology and society. And though you may think skin flicks and technology have nothing to do with society, of course they do. The technological revolution of the VHS and BETA tapes changed the way we consume media, and pornography. What was once a semi-public event with certain rules and protocols—you don’t sit in the front rows of a porno theatre, for example, that’s where you can get a blow job—becomes an isolated thing at home. Think of the steam engine. The train changes not only transportation, but society. The way a city is laid out changes. Even the way we conceptualize time changes: now we have time tables, we must move by following a more strict clock. The way people interact changes. Men and women are suddenly in the same compartments, something that was not possible before. I have thought about writing a paper about the erotic appeal of the train because there are very many news stories and commentary pieces of men excited about the idea of being able to make a pass at women. There are people who are worried about the potential for sexual violence. In the late nineteenth century we see the publishing of a pornographic story called “Raped on the Railway: a True Story of a Lady who was first ravished and then flagellated on the Scotch Express.” It’s like 50 Shades of Grey for the Victorians. And, of course, this erotic space doesn’t exist in 1800. You are moving by horse, there are no compartments. Suddenly there’s a whole new social space. How pervasive is this to me? I’m very interested in the intersection between science and popular culture in fiction but also in my regular job. I am a science communicator by trade at a university.

SM: Like “Flash Frame,” most of the stories in the collection are set in Mexico, (“Snow” being a notable exception). Can you speak a little about the relationship between the Mexico of these stories and the contemporary “real world” Mexico, or the Mexico of your early life and memories before relocating to Canada?

SMG: Well my Mexico, the Mexico of my youth is quickly eroding through the work of time and distance, although I suppose that is true for any of us when we look back at our youth. What is captured in the stories is my vision of a time and place that was and never was because any time we look back we distort the place we came from. The factories near my home are gone, they’ve built expensive condos. The butcher moved. The park got a makeover. So every time I go back to visit I’m looking at a superimposed image of what was there and what is there now.

SM: Your debut novel, Signal to Noise, will be released in 2015 by Solaris. Can you tell our readers a little about what to expect from this novel?

SMG: March 2015. You can pre-order it now through Chapters or another retailer. You probably should if only to assuage my fears. Anyway, the novel jumps back and forth between the late 80s and the 2000s. It’s about music and magic. A group of Mexican teenagers discover how to cast spells using vinyl records. And it’s about love.

SM: You’ve thus far worked primarily in the short fiction medium. Do you consider yourself primarily a writer of short stories? How different did you find working with a longer fictional form?

SMG: Difficult. I wish 50,000 word novels would become popular again. I read so many short novels. Remember the Ace doubles? I’m always startled when I go back and look at some books from the 80s and 70s and see how thin they were. And now everything is a series, not even a trilogy! God, I don’t know how people can do it. I like to change genres, characters, moods, but stand alones seem to be a dying breed in genre fiction.

SM: The novel is set during the peak of the post-punk musical and cultural movement. What is it that attracted you to this period? Are there any bands or musicians from this era that are particularly important to the novel, or to you generally?

SMG: There are a lot, lot of songs mentioned in the novel. I was a kid in the 80s so I got to go back in time with this, which was fun. The publisher asked me for a list of songs, a playlist, for promotional purposes and I had already made one for obvious reasons.

SM: I’m particularly pleased we’re able to reprint “Snow” here for PstD’s readers, as the story was among my favourites from This Strange Way of Dying. Can you tell us a little about why this story is important to you? About the context in which it was written?

SMG: It’s one of the three stories original to the anthology. Like almost everything I write it came from a single image. I had a dream about giant penguins marching by the sea.

SM: The story seems to play both into and off many aspects of what is often called the “Canadian Gothic.” In particular, the physical isolation imposed by northern winter, and its reinforcement and amplification of the emotional and intellectual isolation of the female protagonist. How deliberate is the story’s engagement with many of the tropes associated with Canadian Gothic?

SMG: I’m going to sound like a boob, but I don’t quite plan stuff in such an organized fashion. I didn’t think “I’m going to respond to Canadian Gothic today!” when I was writing it. It was more “there’s giant penguins…okay, now what?” and I went from there. Later on, after I’ve finished a story, I may look and say “aha! I was being witty here with my literary references!” but not when I’m writing it.

SM: “Snow” concludes This Strange Way of Dying, which seems apt given its eschatological aspects. Would you consider “Snow” to be an apocalyptic story?

SMG: Yep. That’s why it closes the collection. We open with a story about birth and end with the apocalypse. How’s that for brilliant literary assembly? Ha.

SM: Speaking of the eschaton, this fall will see the release of the anthology you edited, Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse. Can you tell us a little about this project, about some of the fictions it includes?

SMG: It’s more than 20 stories about the post-apocalypse set across Canada. There’s Anne of Green Gables apocalypse, and shadow apocalypse, and ghost apocalypse. I just wanted to see Canada destroyed. It gets forgotten in so many disaster movies.

SM: What are some of post-apocalyptic fictions, either classic or contemporary, that have made the greatest impression on you? Why do you think this continues to be such a popular theme in both literary and cinematic fiction?

SMG: Well, post-apocalyptic fiction implies an after, no? Things never quite end. We get a Thunderdome or live underground, but something happens. Life continues. It’s the struggle for survival, which some people would say is a very Canadiany trope.

SM: We at PstD were all very disappointed to learn that Innsmouth Magazine, which you co-edited with Paula Stiles, was being discontinued with its fifteenth issue. Can you speak a little about the origins, career, and causes for the conclusion of the magazine?

SMG: Money. Filthy money. We just couldn’t justify the time and money spent on it.

SM: What were some of the highpoints of its career for you? Some of the most critical difficulties or disappointments you faced?

SMG: A lot of stories in the magazine went on to be reprinted in anthologies and some lovely writers got their start in its pages. Steve Toase is in this year’s The Best Horror of the Year, published by Ellen Datlow, for his story “Call Out,” for example. But a lot of other people also did good. Nadia Bulkin has a story in Lovecraft’s Monsters, also edited by Datlow, which first appeared in Innsmouth Magazine. The Book of Cthulhu I and II, edited by Ross Lockheart, had several Innsmouth Magazine stories. The list goes on. I think it was a good space for the Weird. As to the disappointments: I remember someone telling me it would become a cult magazine after its demise that people would mention decades later. But what good is DECADES later? Bleah.

SM: Our disappointment was happily tempered by your announcement that Innsmouth Free Press will continue publishing the anthologies which it is becoming increasingly well known for. We’ve talked briefly about Fractured, but can you tell us a little about some of the other anthologies IFP plans to publish in the near future?

SMG: Well, this year we should be releasing Jazz Age Cthulhu, which has three long pieces set in the Jazz era, and The Nickronomicon, which is a collection of Nick Mamatas stories with a Lovecraftian bent. Next year will see the release of the first all-woman anthology, She Walks in Shadows. We begin reading for that in November and I recommend you check out the guidelines NOW. It pays 6 cents a word, so it’s not chump change.

SM: What changes do you predict in the near future in terms of genre fiction, in terms of the Canadian literary marketplace, and in terms of the small-press and indie publishing world generally?

SMG: It will be harder to make a buck for small presses, many will disappear but just as many will mushroom. The middle, though, will likely be thinned out. We are going to see a LOT more Kickstarter projects for a while, but I don’t know how sustainable that is. Be as nimble as you can.

SM: I was particularly interested in your discussion of “telenovelas” on your blog. You wrote that: “Telenovelas are Latin American soap operas and they differ in one crucial point from Anglo shows: they are finite. They have a beginning and end. They generally last for about a year. The limited time span of the telenovela allows for a lot of variety. You have all kinds of genres (musical, teen, historical, noir, etc) and stories, and then next year you’ll get a new batch of shows. You can even get remakes, so telenovelas that first aired in the 60s or 80s can be recast and filmed again for a new audience.” Can you talk a little more about the connection between shows like True Detective and American Horror Story and this televisual form, seemingly much more familiar to Latin American than Anglo-American audiences? Are there any telenovelas you would recommend to our curious readers?

SMG: I’ve only seen one season and a bit of American Horror Story. However…I’m glad both shows are trying to do self-contained “seasons.” I don’t have the patience for eternal arcs. The compact format of a telenovela allows you to tell a variety of stories and play around more. Man, I don’t think most people can watch our telenovelas, they’re either not around or in Spanish. But there was some awesome stuff like El Maleficio, which had black magic in contemporary Mexico. And there was El Camino Secreto, which was…noir? 1980s noir/police procedural. You don’t normally think “police procedural soap opera” but there you go.

SM: Why do you think this format has become more popular in North American TV over the last few years?

SMG: Netflix and DVD sets is my theory.

SM: While we’re on the topic of True Detective and American Horror Story, I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on both these shows.

SMG: I’m not big on TV, not because I’m a snob but because I don’t like following shows very much. I’m more likely to watch reality TV cooking shows for that reason. Anyway, because both shows come in a format that I like better, I found them easier to consume. American Horror Story is a very dumb show but there’s some appeal to turning off your brain and just accepting it’s going to play with some fun tropes, like the haunted house or the insane asylum. Not only will it play with it, it’s going to throw a whole refrigerator of tropes at you. As to whether I’ll watch any more of either show, I don’t know. I’m not a slave to these things and will watch them or not if the mood hits me.

SM: Have you been following the “plagiarism debate” regarding Nic Pizzolatto’s adoption of concepts and phrases by Thomas Ligotti and other weird writers? What are your thoughts on this debate, about the questions it raises about originality and influence?

SMG: I was surprised this was even a thing. The show is very referential, but all of Weird fiction—hey all of our culture—is very referential. We take a special joy in catching the reference. Wink, wink.

SM: Not only is “Snow” reprinted here on the PstD site, but a new piece of original fiction, “Blood Alone Remains,” will be included in Postscripts to Darkness Volume 6. Can you tell us a little about the context of and inspiration for this story?

SMG: Noir posters. There. Even I am referential.

SM: While I don’t want to give too much away about “Blood Alone Remains,” I just have to mention that aspects of the story reminded me immediately of one of my favourite George Romero films—one that sadly remains much less known than Night of the Living Dead and its sequels. Any thoughts on that film, or on any possible connection between it and your story?

SMG: I’ve seen it and liked it. Not a conscious homage, though.

SM: Like “Flash Frame,” also saturated in noir iconography, the story draws on and plays with cinematic history, particularly the history of Mexican cinema, in fascinating ways. Are there any classic Mexican horror films that had a particular impact on you? Are there any contemporary Mexican filmmakers who are particularly important to you, or who you would like to see develop more international recognition?

FracturedSMG: My mother likes horror movies and she had a lot of horror movie books around our home. I remember going to see Aliens as a child in the movie theatre. My parents took me because they had air conditioning there and we didn’t have electricity one night and it was so hot. On my own later on I watched a lot of black and white movies on the TV and also some Hammer films. I watched a lot of movies in general. I can’t say I’ve seen every single Mexican movie released from 1940 to 1960, but I think I am darn well close to it. I mention German Robles in one of the stories in my collection, the one about the vampire, “Stories With Happy Endings.” His face was very impactful. And then I watched all the movies of Carlos Enrique Taboada who single-handedly made a mini Mexican-Gothic boom in the 70s and early 80s. Guillermo del Toro saw those films and he draws on them. Honestly, the Mexican film scene is nothing like Hollywood. It’s very small and there is little speculative stuff being filmed at any time. The director of We Are What We Are—which was remade for English-speaking audiences—is making an English-language film now. The good talent gets poached to Hollywood like happened with del Toro, but who can blame filmmakers? It’s hard making a living in Mexico. But of the old directors? I wish Carlos Enrique Taboada was better known. And there are several Mexican noir movies I feel would be fun to watch for Anglo audiences.

SM: While we’re talking about vampires and vampirism, to your mind what are some of the high points in vampire fiction (cinematic or literary) of the last ten years or so?

SMG: Thirst and Let the Right One In, though I liked the movie better than the book. I enjoyed the Fright Night remake, so shoot me.

SM: Do you envision the ongoing saturation of vampire fictions continuing unabated for some time, or do you think our pop-cultural obsession with the vampire is ebbing?

SMG: Aren’t zombies the big thing now? Vampires will probably be popular always, just like zombies. They’re perennial. Whether it will be the same kind of vampire we have now or not, who knows. My second novel is a vampire novel, incidentally.

SM: Can you tell us a little about this vampire-novel-in-progress—if it isn’t too premature to do so?

SMG: It’s called Young Blood. It’s an expansion of a short story I wrote a few years back called “A Puddle of Blood” and concerns a street kid and a narco-vampire in Mexico City. The vampire is on the run from a rival gang and they get into all sorts of trouble. I hope it sells, my agent has it now but it will probably go through a revision before we try to find a buyer for it. It’s a big departure from my first novel, but I don’t like writing the same stuff. My third novel, which I’m halfway through, is set in 1920s Mexico and I’m calling it a speculative romance. But for my fourth book—which I’ll get to, um, one day? —I was thinking of writing something called Mexican Gothic.

Sean Moreland is founder and fiction editor at Postscripts to Darkness, and a part-time English professor at the University of Ottawa.

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