Horror & Dark Fantasy

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Author Spotlight: Tanith Lee

Can you give us some background on how you came to write “The Gorgon”?

Not really, I’m afraid. Ideas just come to me, and this one did. I think the grimace on the gorgon masks (especially the ancient Rome variety) may have influenced me with some ideas of pain, and frustration. The hero is an American—by the way—I was just beginning to visit America a few times a year, and I was very taken with both land and people. But the rest simply . . . arrived.

In “The Gorgon,” the reader is led to expect an external horror in the form of Medusa, but instead finds the protagonist trapped in an internal one. Can you talk a bit about the interplay between internal and external horror in a story like this?

Again, not really. I tend not to analyse my work, though I’m frequently intrigued when other people take time to do so. I did (more or less) know the outcome—which isn’t always (usually isn’t)—the case when I write. Perhaps the tale implies that Horror is Horror, whatever coat, hairstyle, or cosmetics it wears.

You’re an incredibly prolific writer. Are there unique challenges involved with producing that kind of output?

For me none, as a rule. I write in a sort of (so occasional observers, mother and husband, tell me) trance. As the story comes, even if it ever sticks (this one certainly didn’t; most don’t luckily) I’m there more as transcriber than participant. Although sometimes I am the participant—male, female, old, young, nice or nasty—and then it’s like being an actor immersed in the role, and too, to some extent, I imagine, strangely protected. However, it’s only a reading through, post writing, that I think/say, “My God, how awful/wonderful/disgusting,” etc. Or merely, “Eeeek!” On the sheer amount of stuff I produce (I do, now, go a little slower, and with a few more intervals) I love my trade. While I can write, I’ll write. It’s part of living, for me.

What are your current projects?

How many hours have you got . . . Quite a few projects. Currently I’m working on a long ghost story. Two future projects: A weird contemporary novel called BR(ONZE) and another Flat Earth volume: Earth’s Master.

What scares you? What makes you have to turn the light on in the middle of the night?

The so-called Real World. Human misery and sadness. Blind politics and general cruelty. But I don’t put on the light—the cats would think it was another mealtime! I switch to another radio station.

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Lisa Nohealani Morton

Lisa Nohealani Morton

Born and raised in Honolulu, Lisa Nohealani Morton lives in Washington, DC. By day she is a mild-mannered database wrangler, computer programmer, and all-around data geek, and by night she writes science fiction, fantasy, and combinations of the two. Her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Lightspeed, Daily Science Fiction, and the anthology Hellebore and Rue. She can be found on Twitter as @lnmorton.