Tell us a bit about “Things Crumble, Things Break.” What inspired you to write it?
The idea behind “Things Crumble, Things Break” has been stuck in my brain for a long time, maybe close to a decade. Junji Ito’s Uzumaki was a huge influence on me early on and, in a lot of ways, my first exposure to just how strange and weird the horror genre could be. I mean, the man wrote an epic work about a town haunted by spirals! You don’t get much stranger than that. Something about the flavor of that kind of story got me thinking about a small town where everyone was slowly crumbling, their bones just turning to dust inside their bodies one day at a time. Like most ideas, it just sat there until something else latched on to it. Very few ideas are solid enough to stand on their own, I find. In this case, it was remembering my grandmother and grandfather. My grandmother was struck down by Alzheimer’s. She lasted a long time after she’d lost all her faculties, and I remember the way my grandfather would just sit beside her bed, like he was hoping it might all turn out okay, somehow. When I got to thinking about that, I suddenly had the second part of the story, the part that made it more solid than a single, strange idea.
“Things Crumble, Things Break” opens like a post-apocalyptic story, but the apocalypse in question is a very local, personal one. Does the intimacy of the story enhance its horror? Is it easier for us to grasp the awfulness of the destruction of a smaller world?
I think horror is a very personal experience. At least, the best horror is. Relationships and emotions make an excellent backdrop for the horrific. Even an epic story needs to narrow its focus in order to stay interesting. Concentrating on how something like an apocalypse affects a smaller community or an individual makes it all a little more “real,” for lack of a better term.
What are you working on these days? Any exciting projects or upcoming publications you’d like readers to know about?
Currently, I’m working on a series of strange crime and horror novellas that I’m posting online with bonus content. The first, The Hog, concerns the theft of a blue ribbon hog that just might be a Dixie Mafia-funded man-eater. People can check it out, along with behind the scenes content, recipes, and other goodies at patreon.com/natesouthard.
Pick your poison: what kind of sinister government conspiracy would you like to be responsible for your untimely demise?
A wacky one, I hope. There are far too few slapstick political assassinations.
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