Pacific Islander Heritage: Interview with Del Gibson
Del Gibson lives in Wellington, New Zealand. Gibson has had 26 short stories digitally published, as well as several articles and poems. When Gibson isn’t writing, she is researching and reading. She is actively engaged in the writing community by helping other horror authors. She is a Beta and ARC reader, and part of launch teams to promote other authors’ work. Gibson runs a popular Facebook group called HORROR CENTRAL, and collaborates with YouTube Podcasts where her short stories are read out by narrators. Gibson is an author of horror, but also reviews horror movies, books and music, on YouTube Live streams, and her social media platforms. She has completed a level 5 Creative Writing Certificate in 2019. Then went on to complete the level 7 Creative Writing Diploma in 2020. Passing both courses with Distinction. One of her short stories was recently published in an anthology of flash fiction, in eBook and paperback. Follow her on her Facebook group
What inspired you to start writing?
Reading and writing have always been a strong passion of mine, ever since I was young. But I went into other careers and did not pursue writing until 5 years ago. One morning I woke from a dream with a story in my head. Immediately this kick started my love for writing again. I started on a Dark Paranormal Horror novel, called ONE DEAD SISTER and since it needed editing, I decided I needed to learn the craft of writing by completing 2 years of a Creative Writing course, levels 5 & 7. In my spare time, I read, as this helps to inspire me. Watching paranormal videos on YouTube inspired me with their visuals, to assist me with how scenes work, and creating imagery. Helping other authors with their manuscripts inspires me to continue writing. I am involved in book launch teams which I enjoy doing as often as possible. I also am a Reading Remedial teacher at a local school where I help children who have issues with reading, the children inspire me to spread my love of writing.
What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
I grew up in a haunted house. So, even though it was terrifying, it later led me down the path of discovering the spiritual and the supernatural elements of our wonderful and mysterious world. I have loved watching Horror movies since I was 12 years old. Then when I cannot get enough of that, I read Horror books. Practically all my life I have been morbidly fascinated in the Horror genre.
Do you make a conscious effort to include Asian and/or Pacific Islander characters and themes in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray?
I have written a few New Zealand based stories, with Māori included as characters, but most of my stories can be located universally. But when I get a chance, I love including Māori characters and the reason I have done this is to help portray and showcase New Zealand, with a lot of fabulous locations, history, with a Kiwiana flavor.
What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?
Horror and the Paranormal are a community. That is important to point out. We help each other out with our platforms, video sharing, content sharing, to help share Horror with the world. The other thing I have learned is that there is so much wonderful knowledge out there to learn, this helps to develop my skills as a Horror writer. Since finding this community, my eyes have opened, I am more aware of the world around me. The unknown and the unseen. I have also noticed a division, the “normies” have the opinion that all Horror writers, lovers of the dark are all dangerous people. This is not the case at all. I endeavor to show my family, friends and especially my children, to do what makes you feel happy, even if it happens to be on the dark side. When I first started writing, I felt I had to apologise for being a lover of Horror. Since then, I realised this is not so anymore, I am proud to be part of the Horror community.
How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?
I have seen more female Horror writers coming through. This is wonderful to see. Here in New Zealand, it seems to be dominated by men. I see this slightly changing. Other things I have noticed, I have seen cult classics rehashed, some with mixed results. I have also noticed since the pandemic, there is more focus on independent producers/ filmmakers and authors. The larger franchises are doing well, but it is refreshing to see these Indie movies and books coming through. I think it is important to note the major change has been the disbandment of DVD stores across the globe. Since the change from Analogue to Digital, there has been a massive switch from the movie stores now into the streaming world. What this has done has confused everyone. We are no longer able to access certain movies, new releases, even the old classics are exceptionally hard to come by, unless you subscribe to several streaming Apps at once. This has essentially made it near impossible to find content. Which for me is difficult in the sense I would like to review more movies in the future, however some of the movies are not available in my country. I would like to see the DVD stores reopen, if that is possible it will be a game changer for the world of Horror.
How do you feel the Asian and/or Pacific Islander communities have been represented thus far in the genre and what hopes do you have for representation in the genre going forward?
I do not think they have been represented in this genre sufficiently. Certainly not Māori, nor Pacifica people. There are plenty of Asian communities represented, but I believe more can be done to showcase the myths and legends behind these cultures.
Who are some of your favorite Asian and/or Pacific Islander characters in horror?
I would have to say for me it would be Taika Waititi who is my favourite Māori character in his movies. Especially the movie WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS.
Who are some Asian and/or Pacific Islander horror authors you recommend our audience check out?
Lee Murray, I would recommend her Asian themed Horrors to anyone interested in New Zealand Horror from a world-renowned Horror author and a good friend and mentor of mine.
What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
You need to read to be able to write! This is important. Read more to enhance your skills and to develop the craft of writing.
And to the Asian and/or Pacific Islander writers out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?
Incorporate as much culture into your stories as you can. This will help in the future to give a voice to the Asian/ Pacifica and Māori voices.