Please enjoy this special guest post: an interview of horror author Nancy A. Collins conducted by one of her peers, Deb Hoag. Special thanks to both authors and Dog Horn Publishing editor-in-chief Adam Lowe for setting it all up.
Nancy Collins has won international fame for her series of vampire novels based on the character Sonja Blue (and yeah, you can check out the covers in all their foreign language glory here: Out Of The Blue: A Visual History of Sonja Blue). When she was starting out, she copped the Bram Stoker Award for best first novel. And on top of that, she’s just genuinely cool. She’s written comic books (the Swamp Thing series, Jason Vs. Leatherface, Predator: Hell Come A Walkin and Dhampire: Stillborn). She’s got great taste in music, and hangs out with cool people like Gahan Wilson. And then talks about cool stuff like Charles Adams. And then there’s that whole smokin’ hot ginger thing . . .
Anyway. When we were putting together Women Writing the Weird, as an entire wild card, we contacted Nancy and asked if she would consider giving us a short story for the anthology. To our immense (really, really immense) delight, she did. It’s an odd, atmospheric quirky tale of slow southern justice and Mississippi mythos. It’s nearly as damn cool as Nancy, and I heartily recommend it. It’s kind of Tree of Nightish in its graceful creepiness. In honor of the release of Women Writing the Weird, we conducted a brief interview with Nancy to help us kick it off.
Five Questions for Nancy Collins:
You’ve written everything from comic books to a wildly successful vampire series to several of the Final Destination movie tie-ins. Who’s your favorite character and why?
Sonja Blue is probably the character I’m the most comfortable writing, if for no other reason than familiarity. I’ve been writing about her, in some form or another, since I was in high school. However, in terms of the most fun to write, I really enjoyed creating the character of Johnny Pearl, the undead gunslinger hero of Lynch: A Gothick Western.
You’ve written many novels, novelettes and short stories that have a supernatural theme. What draws you to this type of story?
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawn to such subject matter. I grew up with fantasy literature. My grandfather was a big fan of the Universal Horror movies and Edgar Rice Burroughs, and my mother read a lot of science fiction and mysteries, which I later read as hand-me-downs. TV was full of shows like The Twilight Zone, The Addams Family, The Outer Limits, Star Trek, Lost in Space, and Night Gallery during my formative years. How could a young girl with a strong imagination stuck in a small rural town not end up fascinated with fantastic literature?
While your most popular writing involves sleek urban monsters, you’ve said in past interviews that your Deep South stories, carrying their own distinctive mythologies and spookiness, are your favorites. How do you reconcile that dichotomy in your writing?
Well, it’s the old “write what you know” idiom. In this case I know what it is like to grow up in the rural South, and I know about living on the edge, both financially and socially, in big cities such as New Orleans, Atlanta, and Manhattan. I’ve been to both extremes, and try to incorporate that in my work.
What are your own literary favorites—who are you recommending to your friends right now?
Well, I always recommend the late Michael McDowell (better known as the screenwriter for Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas), for his amazing Southern Gothic horror novels and historical dramas (The Elementals, The Blackwater Saga, Gilded Needles). I also always recommend William Kotzwinkle (another fantasist better known for his movie novelization, in this case E.T., and his children’s books, the Walter The Farting Dog series) than his astoundingly poetic, and often darkly hilarious, novels, such as Fata Morgana, Jack In The Box, The Fan Man, and Dr. Rat.
What have you got going on right now?
Right now I’m promoting my new novel in the Golgotham series Left Hand Magic. But I’m also revisiting my Pretenders mythos. I’ve just released the first new Sonja Blue story in 10 years, Search & Destroy, and the completely revised A Dozen Black Roses, also starring Sonja Blue.
I also have a website for the Golgotham series at www.golgothamonline.com.
Women Writing the Weird is an anthology of fiction by some of the best women writers in the world today. It contains stories that will delight and surprise you, that hang about the dusky edges of ‘mainstream’ fiction with characters, settings, plots that abandon the normal and mundane and explore new ideas, themes and ways of being. Featuring stories by Nancy A. Collins, Eugie Foster, Janice Lee, Rachel Kendall, Candy Caradoc, Mysty Unger, Roberta Lawson, Sara Genge, Gina Ranalli, Deb Hoag, C. M. Vernon, Aliette de Bodard, Caroline M. Yoachim, Flavia Testa, Aimee C. Amodio, Ann Hagman Cardinal, Rachel Turner, Wendy Jane Muzlanova, Katie Coyle, Helen Burke, Janis Butler Holm, J.S. Breukelaar, Carol Novack, Tantra Bensko, Nancy DiMauro, Moira McPartlin. The book is available in limited release from Dog Horn Publishing, Central Books (UK & Europe) and Lulu.com; it will be released worldwide in brick and mortar bookshops, and Amazon.com, in May 2012.