Latinx Horror: Interview with V. Castro
Violet Castro was born in San Antonio, Texas to Mexican American parents. Since Violet was a child, she wrote short horror stories and was always fascinated with dark fiction beginning with Mexican folklore and the urban legends of Texas. At eighteen Violet left Texas for Philadelphia to attend Drexel University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Political Science and History. Violet now lives with her family in the U.K. writing and traveling with her children. She tries to return to the US twice a year to see her parents, three sisters and extended family.
What inspired you to start writing?
I reached a point in my life when I felt something was missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it. After a very vivid dream I had an overwhelming desire to write about it. This was back in 2016 and I haven’t stopped since.
What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
Growing up with Mexican roots I have always been aware of the history and the folklore of my heritage. All of it captivated my imagination. Throw in being a kid of the 80s, I couldn’t get enough of horror films from that era.
Today horror gives me the freedom to explore my identity, history, and gender in a way I could not in other genres. And horror can be fun as well as dark.
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 absolutely make an effort to include Latinx characters because we are so poorly represented in genre fiction. I want to portray being a fully formed human being and not just a stereotype. However, I also like to play with the stereotypes to reclaim those narratives.
What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?
It has taught me that the shadows are not places we have to run from. We can find truth, catharsis, and empathy when we face our fears and the fears of others.
How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?
Horror is slowly becoming more inclusive. Narratives by and about people from marginalized communities are finally gaining momentum across genres. I think this trend will continue and we will see really fresh takes on old tropes.
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?
We are pretty much non-existent. Isn’t that what you would call a ghost? I have been very fortunate so far in gaining traction with my books, however, I would like to see more Latinx stories included in anthologies and signing those big deals. Our culture is incredibly rich and diverse. It’s a shame to not see all those stories told. My hope is that as I keep my foot in the door I can allow others to follow through.
Who are some of your favorite Latinx characters in horror?
To be honest the only Latinx characters I have read in horror are those written by indie Latinx writers themselves. In film, I have to say Salma Hayek as a vampire in From Dusk Till Dawn. She has no dialogue, but I want to tell that story!
Same with Vaquez in Aliens. She was not portrayed by a Latina in the film, however, she still made an impact on me as a kid.
Who are some Latinx horror authors you recommend our audience check out?
Gabino Iglesias, Cina Pelayo, Sergio Gomez, Monique Quintana, Ann Davila Cardinal.
What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
Be your authentic self and don’t compare your journey to the next person.
And to the Latinx writers out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?
I would emphasize being authentic, especially for writers from all marginalized communities. Your voices and stories have value. We matter simply because we exist. Do not quit when faced with rejection. The only way to overcome it is to go through it.