Risingshadow.net is proud to present an interview with Laird Barron.
Here's some information about Laird Barron:
Laird Barron is an American horror and dark fantasy writer. He is the author of two short story collections, The Imago Sequence and Other Stories (Night Shade Books, 2007) and Occultation and Other Stories (Night Shade Books, 2010). He's currently working on a novel, The Croning, which will be published in 2011. His official website can be found here.
AN INTERVIEW WITH LAIRD BARRON
Hi Laird and thanks for allowing Risingshadow.net to interview you.
Thank you for the interview, Sami.
How did you become a writer? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I began as a child and ended up writing scores of stories, novellas, and even a couple of rudimentary novels into my teenage years. The idea of becoming a published author crystallized somewhere during adolescence. Someday having a story in an anthology with Jack Vance, Stephen King, Roger Zelazny or any of the other greats was a big motivator during my formative years.
What was your first short story? What kind of a story was it?
I wrote a piece for school in second grade. A science fiction knockoff of Forbidden Planet and Star Trek. I think the title was Star Journey. It had to do with scanning the plaster and foam debris of what I envisioned as a typically barren Star Trek soundstage environment. Obstacles for the nameless narrator included a ripped space suit and a recalcitrant robot sidekick. We were assigned a paragraph and I went crazy and busted out something in excess of a thousand words. My teacher typed it up and fixed the spelling errors. She was a swell lady, Mrs. Gray. Probably the only supportive teacher I ever had.
What kind of literature do you usually read? Have any books or stories inspired you to write your own stories?
I imagine my reading habits are typical of genre authors. I conduct a lot of research for my fiction – and since my fiction is pretty wide-ranging within the spectrum of dark fantasy, scifi, and horror, that means I’m perusing everything from historical romance to quantum physics, to zoology. I also get a ton of manuscripts and finished books from my colleagues in the various genres.
Pulp, noir, westerns, high fantasy, and science fiction dominated and shaped my early to middle years. I still love that stuff. I’ve been inspired by many pieces of literature and art. TED Klein, Peter Straub, and Michael Shea inform some of my style and technique. Dark Gods, Ghost Story, and Polyphemus are three definitive works I draw on for daily sustenance. Music plays a role in keying my brain to creative frequencies.
You've written several stories, which can be called weird fiction. Do you like weird fiction?
Yes, I adore weird fiction insomuch as I tend to categorize that genre quite broadly and consider it as a frequent component of horror, or vice versa. Machen, Blackwood, Lovecraft, Howard, Jackson – all tremendous authors. I’ve finally gotten around to Aickman, which is a crime and a pleasure. There is a fantastic assortment of contemporary weird writing: Caitlin Kiernan, Nick Mamatas, John Langan, Brian Evenson, Paul Tremblay, Jeff VanderMeer, Livia Llewellyn, Richard Gavin, Barbara Roden, Stephen Graham Jones, Joe Pulver... I can’t even scratch the surface... I made a long list on my Live Journal with suggested reading. That might be worth checking out for newer authors and readers entering the field.
Ellen Datlow says something to the effect that this is a golden age for horror, and I agree. We’ll look back on this era in twenty years and be amazed at the convergence of so many dynamic authors and styles. There are plenty of Machens, Blackwoods and Jacksons putting the pieces together as we speak.
What has been the best moment of your writing career so far?
There are many milestones in an author’s career. Four off the top of my head: Landing the cover for The Imago Sequence in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Ellen Datlow reprinting “Old Virginia” in her horror half of The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror. The publication of my first collection, The Imago Sequence & Other Stories. Winning a Shirley Jackson award for that collection.
You're currently writing your first novel, The Croning. Can you tell us something about it?
On the surface it’s written in the vein of the quieter haunted house, occult-type novels of the 1970s. There’s something of a Bluebeard and Rosemary’s Baby vibe at play – a retired professor spends the summer alone at his wife’s ancestral farm in Western Washington. He pokes into her family history and begins to discern an alarming and insidious pattern of black magic, ritual sacrifice, and much hairier things. Matters descend into the realm of the untenable.
For anyone out there who has read “The Broadsword” or Mysterium Tremendum, The Croning progresses deeper into that particular subset of my Pacific Northwest Mythos. This isn’t your dad’s haunted house story.
Will you write more novels in the future?
Yes. I’ve a couple in various stages of completion and others on the drafting board. In general, these court the ultra-violent, hyper-sexualized noir elements prevalent in The Imago Sequence & Other Stories.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
I invite readers to drop in at my journal Camera Obscura http://imago1.livejournal.com/.
They’ll find the latest news regarding my upcoming stories, books, appearances, etc., as well as the occasional essay or review.