Craig Laurance Gidney writes both contemporary and genre fiction. He is the author of the collections Sea, Swallow Me & Other Stories (Lethe Press, 2008), Skin Deep Magic (Rebel Satori Press, 2014), Bereft (Tiny Satchel Press, 2013) and A Spectral Hue (Word Horde, 2019).
NTK: How old were you when you discovered horror?
CLG: When I was in elementary school the local channel, for some reason, played horror movies at four o’clock, and that was when I was first introduced to horror cinema. Movies like Trilogy of Terror and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark were a part of my after-school rituals. I’d watch them before doing homework!
NTK: Who was the first horror character you felt represented you, the one you could identify with the most?
CLG: The Wicked Witch of the West. She reveled in her malevolence, and was stunningly green.
NTK: Who is your favorite horror author?
CLG: Shirley Jackson. My horror tastes tend to subtle and atmospheric, and she was the queen of this flavor of dark fiction.
NTK: What is your favorite horror novel?
CLG: The Haunting of Hill House.
NTK: Favorite horror movie?
CLG: The Exorcist.
NTK: Favorite horror TV show?
CLG: The Channel Zero Anthology series. I was sad to see that it wouldn’t be continued. Each season featured surrealistic horror stories that were like catnip to me.
NTK: What inspired your story in SLAY: Stories of the Vampire Noire?
CLG: The old Environmental Protection Agency’s building in SouthWest DC was a major inspiration for “Desiccant.” The irony of the EPA building being a source of “sick building syndrome” was too rich to pass up!
NTK: What attracted you to the Vampire Noire? Why did you want to write a story for Slay?
CLG: I was invited by Nicole.
NTK: What inspires your writing?
CLG: Everything inspires me! I find the most mundane occurrences appear in some of the strangest fiction I’ve written. The “sick building” idea, for instance, has been bouncing around in my brain for a decade.
NTK: Do you allow your characters free will? Or do you plan their every move?
CLG: It varies from project to project. But the characters in my short fiction tend to have tighter leashes.
NTK: As a person of color, how has your experience in the horror writing community been?
CLG: It’s complicated. In one-to-one, meatspace interactions, most everyone I’ve met has been perfectly professional. Online, it’s a different story. My tiny portion of horror fiction—the Weird/Cosmic Horror subgenre—-is chockfull of Lovecraft fanboys who minimize, ignore or, in rare cases, agree with his toxic White Supremacist ideals, and it makes for some unpleasant online interactions.
NTK: What does the future hold for you? What works do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?
CLG: I have a bunch of stories coming out in anthologies in the Fall. My fairytale novel Hairsbreadth is being serialized by Broken Eye Books. And I have an audio story coming out from Tor-Nightfire sometime.