Latinx Horror: Interview with E. Reyes
E. Reyes is the author of the novel The House on Moon Creek Avenue, and the anthologies Devil’s Hill, Strange Tales of the Macabre, and The Halloween Grindhouse. His works are included in Pulp Harvest (edited by Nick Harper), Latinx Screams (edited by Cina Pelayo and V. Castro), and Trump: Utopia or Dystopia? (edited by JF Garrard and Jen Frankel). Reyes lives in the city Devil’s Hill is based on with his wife and three kids, keeping it spooky.
What inspired you to start writing?
I was inspired by the Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine. As soon as I started reading Attack of the Jack-O’-Lanterns, I knew I wanted to be a writer.
What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
What drew me to the horror genre was the mystery of the unknown, the dark atmosphere, the Halloween aesthetic, and the way it made me feel. I like being scared by movies and books — not real life.
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 definitely make a conscious effort to include Latinx characters. I also take influence from my surroundings and I watch how people talk and interact, so I use a lot of that for my characters. Where I live is predominately populated with Mexican people, so I always include characters as such.
What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?
Writing horror has taught me that the world likes being scared by fiction just like me. It also taught me that monsters aren’t just creatures or something unknown, they are human. Horror has taught me that no matter what I go through to keep pushing just like all the final girls and even some protagonists who just won’t quit. Shout out to Michael, Freddy, and Jason. I see you.
How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?
I’ve seen horror change over the years by letting more diverse voices speak. We are now seeing more interest in Black, Latinx, Asian, and many more voices from POC. I think it is wonderful, and I want more kids (especially the younger audience) to be influenced by this and see that people that look like them and share the same background can also write, make movies, and participate in the horror community.
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 feel like the Latinx community has finally knocked down that door and we are now being seen. I see more Latinx voices in horror emerging and I will be right there with them.
Who are some of our favorite Latinx characters in horror?
I need to expand more on my Latinx horror reading and viewing, but I’ll say that Robert Rodriguez directed one of my favorite horror movies ever: From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), and it has very awesome Latinx characters in it.
Who are some Latinx horror authors you recommend our audience check out?
What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
Experiment, go with your gut, surprise yourself, and don’t play it safe when it comes to writing.
And to the Latinx writers out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?
I would tell them that their voice will be heard, wants to be heard, and needs to be heard by others. Keep it authentic and do not forget where you came from.