Interview with Gabino Iglesias
By Spike Marlowe
November is just around the corner. This also means Eraserhead Press is about to decide which of this year’s New Bizarro Authors are going to have the opportunity to work with them again in the future.
I thought it would be fun and informative to interview this years’ authors, both so I could better get to know them, and so you could get to know them, too.
If you like what you read here, I highly encourage you to check out the authors’ books NOW. This is the last month that the New Bizarro Authors’ sales are counted as part of their sales quota in order to become full on bizarro authors.
I started reading horror very early in my life, and some of it looks like bizarro when I look back. I found H.P. Lovecraft incredibly weird, unique, and mesmerizing. I had a lot of fun reading Bentley Little because he made normal things seem freaky and endlessly creepy. Oh, and Lansdale. I picked up Writer of the Purple Rage when the paperback came out in 1996 or so. There’s a story in there titled The Diaper. It brings together alien intelligence and diapers. It changed the way I thought about fiction.
2. Do you have any phobias?
I have an irrational fear of salamanders and geckos that causes me to go on homicidal rampages (no worries, they’re almost always directed at those beasts). When I was a kid, I watched a monstrous house gecko devour my grandma’s canary back home. TV shows had shown me birds ate reptiles, not the other way around. Seeing that semitranslucent freak of nature eat that tiny bird messed me up. I love iguanas and Komodo dragons. I even bred iguanas when I was in high school, but common house geckos are a different story. I also fear the destructive power of humanity’s collective idiocy, specially the appalling bigotry of those in charge.
3. What’s the strangest real life bizarro experience you’ve had?
Bizarro is a literary genre, but it’s also a state of mind and a way of life. I’ve seen a dude stick his finger in a bullet hole in his bicep. I once tried to cut a guy’s ear off and got about halfway through before he escaped. I’ve seen ghosts. I met a man who told me he was an alien and his helicopter was really a UFO. There’s a huge transvestite that regularly rides the same bus I ride to work. He likes having conversations with a small plant he carries around. Bizarro is always around if you pay attention. Just yesterday I watched a man eat fried calamari and cookies and cream ice cream…simultaneously. Hell, I’ve been to BizarroCon!
4. Kafka or lemon crepes?
Lemon crepes. I can’t read German and once had a neighbor who’d been born a cockroach and morphed into a man who loathed philosophy. Plus, I try not to read the same books twice, but I don’t have a problem eating delicious things many times.
5. You have a background in journalism. Is truth truly stranger than fiction?
Nothing’s weirder than very good bizarro fiction. However, for every bizarro book out there, there are 1,371 strange happenings that make truth seem stranger than fiction. Ears growing on rats, zombie pigeons and ants, folks seeing rodents on Mars, amoebas that eat your brains, folks believing a gigantic dude with an epic beard lives in the sky and hates gay people, dogs wearing fishnets, celebrities being famous, the list goes on and on. Even my reason for quitting law school and pursuing a career in journalism is weird: I wanted to be the brown version of Hunter S. Thompson. Between nights spent in juke joints, cavorting with pole acrobats, drinking with musicians, and adding strangeness to every situation I’m in, I like to think I’m on my way to accomplishing that.
6. What’s the best thing about writing? What’s the hardest thing about writing?
The best thing about writing is writing. Seeing words appear, stories take shape, characters come to life. Sharing your work with others is great. Getting positive feedback is the best drug in the world. The hardest thing is a very deep, dark, dangerous canyon that separates ideas from paper. Stories have to cross this space and sometimes they suffer in the process, they roll down a hill, get attacked by invisible monsters, or reveal their true nature. Sometimes they make it out with a few scratches, but other times they mutate and end up being sad, gimpy versions of what you’d envisioned. When that happens, you have to take a knife and slash their throats to put them out of their misery.