Can you tell us more about the mythology surrounding the Llorona and her importance in this story? Do you often feature mythology or folklore in your stories?
She’s the Mexican Medea, although unlike Medea she is punished for her actions and suffers for them. La Llorona, The Weeping Woman, weeps because she murdered her children, drowning them, and now spends her afterlife haunting the countryside, crying out for them. She is often dressed in white. I feature a lot of folklore, yes. My great-uncle told us the story of how he met the Llorona one night and she was eating prickly pears on the side of the road.
Your protagonist, Ramon, is an interesting and complex character. On the one hand he’s somewhat unsympathetic—particularly in his attitudes toward homeless people and the abandonment of his family—yet also feels tremendous guilt and seems to be motivated by shame and a desire to leave his roots behind. How do you see Ramon?
People love to classify things as black and white, good or bad, but I’ve seldom met any one who can be neatly defined and classified. Ramon is a person like many I’ve met.
You wear a lot of different hats: writer, editor, and publisher, to name a few. Do you enjoy one more than the others? Does being an editor/publisher inform your writing in any way, and vice versa?
I like to write, mostly. I don’t know if editing and publishing informs my writing. It forces you to be more organized when you deal with many things, but then again I like to do many things.
What makes an effective horror story? Are you a fan of horror and, if so, what are some of your favorite stories, novels, and/or movies?
Dread. It’s never as fun seeing the monster as much as imagining. I kind of hate it when people ask for favorite anything, but I have read a lot of du Maurier and Jackson, and I am partial to quiet, slow, psychologically intricate work.
Congratulations on the publication of your debut novel, Signal to Noise! What has that been like?
Weird. It had a lot of good reviews but that doesn’t mean anyone knows me or that my local bookstore carries it. I’m .25 less obscure than I was a year ago; probably more prone to drinking now.
What projects are you working on now and what do you have forthcoming?
My agent just sold my second and third novels to Thomas Dunne. The second is called Young Blood and Publisher’s Marketplace said it was “about a garbage-picking homeless teen in Mexico City who falls for a vampire and gets caught up in a huge mess involving warring families of narcovampires.” The third is a completely different novel, a romance in a fantasy Belle Époque titled Proper People. On the editing side I co-edited She Walks in Shadows, the first all-woman Lovecraftian anthology, out this October. It has generated a bit of interest and we are seeing about selling foreign rights to it.
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