Ginger Nuts of Horror
Today’s victim is John Claude Smith. He is a writer of novels and short speculative fiction in all variations of darkness, from weird to horror to magic realism and more.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I’m a writer of dark speculative fiction, as well as a poet and music journalist. I have one published book out, a collection entitled The Dark Is Light Enough For Me, and should have another collection and my first novel out in 2013. I split time living in the San Francisco Bay Area and Rome, Italy.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
Dark Speculative Fiction is my preference because I cross genres.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Too many to list here, but a few off the top of my head: Harlan Ellison, Kathe Koja, J.G. Ballard, Lucius Shepard, Thomas Ligotti, H.P. Lovecraft, Joe R. Lansdale, Clive Barker, Laird Barron, Clark Ashton, Smith, Caitlin Kiernan, William S. Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Bukowski...
Can you tell us anything about your story in the anthology?
The only thing I sense for sure is it will have a psychological foundation at its core, yet will not ignore the possibilities of something supernatural dancing around the edges. I like to mix up the reasoning of why and how something is happening within my fiction, layer the possibilities, keep the reader guessing...and interested.
What is the first thing that pops into your mind when someone says South African horror?
I don’t know South African horror well enough, so my first thought is a desire to explore the horrors of a culture I don’t know. Sure, universal horrors abound, but within every culture, there are distinct areas of focus, distinguishing, say, Japanese horror from American horror and the likes. These differences fascinate me.
Why did you decide to submit a story to this anthology?
Joe Mynhrdt seems to have his head on straight, hehe...and I saw the cover, as well as the cover for his collection, and thought, hmmm, looks like they know what they are doing and it will be a quality production. That, along with some of the other names on the TOC really caught my eye. I thought, yeah, I’d love to be in an anthology with this group of twisted minds...
And other than yourself who would you like to see open and close the anthology?
All I want is for the stories to be of high quality and bringing on heavy duty fright. I’ll leave the story sequencing to the editors.
Could you recommend one of your own stories to the readers?
From my collection, “I Wish I Was A Pretty Little Girl,” a piece qualifying as surreal horror, would be a good starting point, though I also think “Broken Teacup,” in the debut issue of Grave Demand, is a real shocker. It will be in the second collection. Both stories let the reader know I won’t flinch, I’ll take them all the way down into those dark places they might not want to explore, shine a light on what’s there, and highlight the dread.
Thanks so much for the interview. Bring on the darkness...
The Dark is coming! Call your friends over. You don't want to go through this alone. You will be taken back into the past, down to the depths of the ocean and across the borderline between our world and the next. You will see snapshots from the lives of small children, old-time cockney gangsters and aimless stoners. You will journey into the darkest house on the darkest street, wander hospital basements and take a flight in the comfort of first class. You will meet Mr Stix. This tome includes stories by some of the best horror writers around: G. N. Braun, Carole Johnstone, Armand Rosamilia, Daniel I. Russell, Scott Nicholson, Gary McMahon, Joe Mynhardt, Kevin Lucia, Tracie McBride, Stephen Bacon, Benedict J. Jones, Blaze McRob, John Claude Smith, Tonia Brown, Mark West, Robert W. Walker, Jeremy C. Shipp, Jasper Bark, William Meikle and Ray Cluley. Are you scared of the dark? You will be.