A Point of Pride: Interview with Roberto Carrasco
Roberto Carrasco was that kid who had an imaginary friend called Blue Eye. When they played Dungeons and Dragons he always asked to be a wizard. He wrote stories starring dragons that instead of eyes had pineapples, good monsters, and extraterrestrial princesses. When he was old enough to know the world, he knew the world and lived many adventures thinking that some of them would reveal to him the meaning of life. But life didn’t seem to make much sense so he published a rage-filled novel called So Sweet, So Bitter which was read by 172 people. Then he got fat, lost weight, and got fat again. After a second diet, he managed to stay at a healthy weight and continued to write many other stories because he had already decided that if any word defined him it was “writer”. Although he also really liked the sound of others like “doodle” or “custard apple” it was “writer” that had never left him. In the spring of 2013 he wrote a LGTB story about rainbows for a book of historical short stories and in March 2014 his second novel, Rottenmeier, a biography of Heidi’s governess, saw the light of day. Shortly before the summer of the same year, he published two LGTB novels with La Calle publishing house: Riku from the Hells and The Restlessness Under the Skin. Later, came the LGTB dystopian novel The Last Year in Hipona and the quantic and surreal Cosmic Girl. He is already preparing new stories because she intends her literary career to be as bright and beautiful as a bunch of fireworks, although longer-lasting than these, of course.
But Roberto also has a dark side… as he is the dark publisher in Dimensiones Ocultas, the publishing house that is bringing into Spanish the works of Kristopher Triana, Edward Lee, Aaron Dries, David Irons, and many others… He fights day by day to open those doors that are usually closed for those authors who dare to be different.
What inspired you to start publishing?
I had read horror books in English for many years and those inspired me to write. I could not find a publisher devoted to this genre so I decided to become one.
What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
Since I was very young I felt like a misfit, identified with monsters and vampires. That’s the reason why horror has always been my favourite genre in literature and cinema. Other kids read Lord of the Rings, while I was reading Stephen King, Anne Rice and Poppy Z.Brite.
Do you make a conscious effort to include LGBTQ material in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray?
Diversity is a reality, it is part of my life, so the effort is not so conscious as it is a natural way of expressing my reality. It would be more difficult to write a novel with only cis-straight-white characters! Tiresome indeed. Maybe it is more difficult to find LGTBQ authors to publish, as some of them are still in the ‘horror closet’.
What has writing and publishing horror taught you about the world and yourself?
Writing horror is a way to build a world where we are in control of our own monsters and fears. Publishing horror is the way to know that we are not alone in that world.
How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?
For a few years, I had this feeling of High horror Vs Rubbish horror. Psychological Vs Splatterpunk. Hardcover Vs Paperback. Luckily, this boundaries are blearing, as we are in the same boat. Horror ought to include all kind of topics, sub-genres and voices.
How do you feel the LGBTQ community has been represented thus far in the genre and what hopes do you have for representation in the genre going forward?
In some circles, at least in my country, horror and LGTBTQ community are totally incompatible terms. You only have access to the horror community if you are a white-cis-straight author. But slowly, you can find some representation thanks to some publishers that are brave enough to share new voices with the readers.
Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ characters in horror?
Lestat, the vampire, was my reference when I was a teenager. I didn’t know any gay guy around and he was my role model! Later, I read Drawing Blood, by Poppy Z.Brite and Trevor and Zach became my favourite characters ever.
Who are some LGBTQ horror authors you recommend our audience check out?
Well, you all know Clive Barker, Poppy Z.Brite… The classics, so I’ll recommend some of the authors I have published in Spanish. I wish they could be translated into English some day! Excellent horror writers, as Juan Flahn (“Spirit Box”), Miguel G (“La Eterna Bella Durmiente/Eternal Sleeping Beauty”) or Rebeca García-Cabañas Garrido (“La última cena”/”The Last Supper”).
What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
Push the limits, don’t think about what it is commercial or not, be creative and feel free, because that is what horror is about!