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Latinx Horror: Interview with Silvia Moreno-Garcia


Photo Credit: Martin Dee

SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Mexican Gothic, Velvet Was the Night, Gods of Jade and Shadow, Untamed Shore, The Beautiful Ones, Signal to Noise, and the recently re-released, Certain Dark Things. She has also edited several anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadow (a.k.a. Cthulhu’s Daughters). She currently resides in Canada.

Visit her online at www.SilviaMoreno-Garcia.com.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid and seriously since 2006, when I started writing short fiction. One of my first stories sold to Shimmer for $10, I still remember that. It’s been something that gives meaning to my life while also quite frankly providing some side cash. I really needed those $10 back then, to be frank, and still need the money I make now to support my family.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?

It’s something I’ve read since I was a kid. My mother introduced me to horror books and movies, and I’ve kept it on for the rest of my 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 simply find a certain time period or idea interesting and go with it. Often that has roots in Mexico because I am very familiar with Mexico and I believe in writing what I know.

How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?

After the huge bust of the 1990s it became confined to the small presses, but we are seeing some resurgence of the label ‘horror’ in mainstream books now. There has been a slow move towards horror that is more expansive and diverse than what we would have called horror in the 1980s or 1990s. Beloved, for example, is now regularly listed with ghost stories and shows up in some horror lists. And when Tananarive Due first popped up on the scene it was in the 1990s and she was lumped under the category of African American Literature because that was a bit of a hot category back then, rather than being classified as a horror or fantasy writer. Yet The Between was still nominated for a Stoker.

For a while the label ‘horror’ was simply radioactive to publishers, so simply seeing a horror section returning to bookstores is surprising.

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?

Very little or not at all, unfortunately. One of the problems seems to be the focus on magic realism as the only venue of Latin American expression. It is a little difficult to write about vampires or zombies when everyone expects writers to be like Gabriel García Márquez, and to confine themselves to a certain aesthetic.

Who are some Latinx horror authors you recommend our audience check out?

Most writers I’m mentioning do not exclusively write horror, so be careful when checking their bibliography. But I quite like the weird fiction of Jorge Luis Borges and the domestic suspense of Amparo Davila. Recently, Agustina Bazterrica wrote a near-future novel about a world in which cannibalism is allowed at an industrial scale. It’s called Tender is the Flesh. I published the translation of The Route of Ice and Salt this year, a queer horror novella inspired by the voyage of the Demeter in Dracula. It’s written by José Luis Zárate and translated by David Bowles. I believe V. Castro has more than one horror book, although I’ve only bought Goddess of Filth. Cynthia Pelayo did a thriller last year, Children of Chicago, that seems to straddle that line between police procedural and horror.

And to the Latinx writers out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?

It’s a much more positive landscape that you are entering now rather that when I got started many years ago, so you should look at that as something in your favor, ignore the people who want to bring you down, and get into good writing habits early on (read widely, write regularly, research publishers and industry jargon, etc).

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