Today’s interview is with wrtier and editor, Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Following on from her debut novel release, Silvia has been receiving a fantastic amount of well-deserved recognition for her work and I’m really pleased to be able to ask her a few questions. Thanks Silvia!
Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I have been writing since 2006, mostly short fiction. My debut novel, Signal to Noise, came out in 2015 and was named on multiple year’s best lists: B&N’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, RT, BookRiot, Buzzfeed, i09, Vice,tor.com and the Locus Recommended Reading List. My debut collection, This Strange Way of Dying, was a finalist for a Sunburst Award.
Q. What draws you to horror generally, and was there a defining moment where you something made you think “Fuck it, I’m writing a horror story!”?
Horror is just one way to tale a story, it’s a tool, and I use that tool as necessary. I know exactly where I’m going into when I write a short story, so there are few surprises at that higher level. Also, a lot of the short story work I’ve done in recent years was solicited stuff so obviously I knew that if The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu: New Lovecraftian Fiction was asking for a story I was going to be writing a Cthulhu story. Actually, what I wrote for that is more like Mayan fish people in 1960s Mexico, but you get the drift.
Q. What is your favourite horror story and what about it specifically rustled your jimmies?
I don’t like picking favorites. With that said, Tanith Lee died last year and she is sadly not as known as I’d like to her to be. She also wrote a huge number of horror stories and novels, some very fine work there, and it’s worth a look. Some of her stuff is harder to get, but I recommend looking for her Paradys work or some of her short story collections.
Q. What have you written? And what is your personal favourite of your own work?
Everything. I write across genres and categories. I like to write short but with the market these days truly short novels, 50,000 word novels for example, don’t seem much in vogue.
Q. Do you have a favourite form or media for story telling? E.g Short story, Novel, Audio drama or podcast, audiobook
No, but I don’t like series. My novels are standalones and I like to switch genres. My debut novel was called a literary fantasy, the second is urban fantasy and/or noir, the third will be a romance, fourth horror, and so on.
Q. What are you working on at the minute?
I finished edits for my second novel, Certain Dark Things, which is about narco vampires in Mexico City, and I’m moving onto working on the final draft of what will be my third novel.
Q. You’re an editor as well as a writer. Do you have a preference?
Writing. I’m not interested in any editing projects in the near future.
Q. What attracts you to editing the work of others? And is there any quality or skill etc that makes a good horror editor, specifically?
I like seeing a project from beginning to end, from the concept to the final, bound volume being sold. It’s a process of discovery. When I edited Dead North, a Canadian zombie antho, the questions was what is zombie fiction? And is Canadian zombie fiction different from American zombie fiction? So it was a quest to see what the writers told me through their stories.
Q. Who is your favourite woman writer?
I don’t like picking favorites. However, there are very many women who are ignored. Many times you see lists of “horror” writers and not even Mary Shelley or Shirley Jackson make the list. To me that’s insane. People like Daphne du Maurier or Joyce Carole Oates have contributed multiple, magnificent horror stories but we often forget their work unless it’s Women in Horror Month. And even then it’s a bit of a slog. There’s also a big historical hole because women wrote for stuff like Weird Tales but a lot of them are forgotten. Anya Martin and I talked about how doing a retrospective, reprint anthology of women from the Weird era would be valuable, and I think she should edit it.
Q. Are there any projects involving other women that you’re looking forward to or would like to get on board with?
I edited She Walks in Shadows which was the first all-woman Lovecraft anthology last year, so I think it’s too soon for me to tackle anything else with a similar mandate. Right now that made it into the Locus Recommended List so I’m just going to bask in that. Someone should Anya, though, and try to put together a Women of the Weird Era book.
Q. What book/s are you reading at present and what is in your TBR pile?
Mostly non-fiction and non-genre stuff. Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam and Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, for example. For genre stuff: I got Not Dark Yet by Berit Ellingsen for my iPad.
Q. What challenges have you encountered that are unique to being a woman in the horror genre, or can you describe some of the challenges have you faced that are complicated by your gender?
Well, when io9 did an article on She Walks in Shadows I got some angry comments and a memorable e-mail saying we were menstruating all over Lovecraft and tainting his legacy.
Sometimes, spaces are just not women friendly. I left more than one Facebook group because it was just incredibly draining. There was one group where people kept putting pornographic images of women and some of us complained about it. We were told to stop whining. Listen, if I wanted to sign up for the Porno Image of the Day Group I would, but I thought I was in a horror group. But people tell you to shut up or tough it up. I simply left. Same thing when I commented on the cover art of something being kind of sleazy, you know, boobs and more boobs, the response was so rude.
You are just not going to get invitations to certain things because you are a woman and an afterthought to certain people. Not everyone, but I have indeed seen this happen where it’s like oh, circle of bros.
I’m fine about not breaking into certain markets or doing work with certain people. If they don’t want me, I don’t want them. After all, who wants to spend time with someone who honestly says stuff like “stop menstruating” or thinks women can’t write horror (yeah, I’ve been told this)?
In the end, I just choose my friends and associates carefully, and try to weed out the more obvious sexist pigs.
Q. Why is Women in Horror month important/important to you?
I feel sometimes it’s the only month anyone remembers women writers, to be honest. I wish it was a year round thing and that we didn’t to have an excuse to include women in the conversation, but sometimes it feels like it’s the one month a year we get to materialize in the field.
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep writing since persistence makes the writer, but learn to be critical about your work.
Book Links: (http://www.amazon.com/Signal-Noise-Silvia-Moreno-Garcia/dp/1781082995/