Latinx Heritage in Horror: Interview with Jonathan Reddoch
Jonathan Reddoch is co-owner of Collective Tales Publishing. He is a father, writer, editor, and publisher. He writes sci-fi, fantasy, romance, and especially horror. He has been working on his enormous sci-fi novel for over a decade and would like to finish it in this lifetime if possible. Find him on Instagram: @Allusions_of_Grandeur_
What inspired you to start writing?
I have always been a writer; ever since I learned how to write I was making stories and inventing crazy aliens and monsters.
What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
The funny thing is growing up I always wanted to be a sci-fi writer. I wrote a lot of sci-fi stories that never sold. Not one. But I sold a dark fantasy poem. And then I won a writing contest with my story about a sparkly vampiric pony. So, then I just leaned into what I’m best at: spinning spooky stories.
Do you make a conscious effort to include Latinx characters and themes in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray?
I try to include all kinds of characters. So yes, that includes Latinx characters for sure. I recently read The Old Man and the Sea, which is about the metaphoric struggles of a Cuban fisherman. That inspired me to write my own fishing story about el diablo de las profundidades that takes place in the Gulf of Mexico. I think it’s important to see Latinx characters in a variety of roles, as three-dimensional people instead of just gardeners and illegal immigrants we see on TV.
What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?
I love writing flash/micro fiction. So, one of the ways I find inspiration is by asking people what their greatest fear is, and then in about twenty minutes or so I write them a little story. I’ve learned that people are very afraid of spiders and their kids dying!
How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?
I’m a big fan of classic horror: Shelley, Stoker, Lovecraft, Jackson, and Poe. I really admire the craft and dark beauty of their work. I honestly prefer horror as literature. I hate to say it but I’m personally not into the modern dumbed-down Stephen King variety of horror. I guess I’m a bit of a snob. But there’s room for all brands of horror.
How do you feel the Latinx community has been represented thus far in the genre and what hopes do you have for representation in the genre going forward?
I think in American publishing, our community was vastly underrepresented. But I think we’re seeing a resurgence, a horrific renaissance of sorts. My mom was raised on tales of La Llorona that her mother told her before bed. And then my mom (a Mexican immigrant) raised me on the Berenstain Bears books instead. But I have rectified that by making sure my kids have access to those Mexican and Latinx ghost stories that skipped my generation.
Who are some of your favorite LatinX characters in horror?
If we’re talking films, anything by Guillermo del Toro. But I’ve heard he also has some great novels that I’ve been meaning to check out.
Who are some LatinX horror authors you recommend our audience check out?
I have really enjoyed reading Samanta Schweblin. I especially love her short stories “Headlights” and “The Merman.” She reminds me of an Argentinian Shirley Jackson; her work is timeless, poignant, unapologetically feminist, and cerebral. And I am currently reading Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia to see what all the fuss is about.
What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
Focus on your craft. Never stop sharpening your repertoire of skills. Read all kinds of fiction for inspiration, not just horror.
And to the LatinX writers out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?
Write! We need more Latinx voices in anthologies, on bookshelves, and in the cinema. We’ve been too long denigrated to cheap stereotypes.