Interview: Richard Baron

Name: Richard Baron

Author of: “The Cry in the Darkness”

Age: 39

Geographic Location: Peterborough, England

Twitter:@DrVollin

Website: http://rbbaron.co.uk/

Past publications: ‘The Lake” published in the anthology Caught by Darkness and the forthcoming Something in the Doorway anthology.  ‘The Painted Path” published in the October issue of Dark Gothic Resurrected magazine.

What’s your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story or other Mythos story? “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”. I love the description of Innsmouth with its empty houses and strange townsfolk. Whenever I hear of Lovecraft, I envision that place.

What comes to mind when you think “Lovecraft” + “Erotica”? Suppressed desires. Things we perhaps wouldn’t entertain in waking life can become natural occurrences in our dream state where physical reality has no grounds.  A large amount of what stimulates us sexually is in the mind not the flesh. Lovecraft’s writings though devoid of erotic prose walk a similar line… Places and beings that we feel are real but which lie just beyond our physical perception.  He may give us the Gods upon the page but it’s up to us to take them to our beds at night.

How did you hear about Cthulhurotica? I believe it was on the Duotrope website; a must for budding writers.

What inspired your story? I’ve always liked stories in which the female has the upper hand so when thinking about what to write for Cthulhurotica this was my starting point. I had just read ‘The Dunwich Horror’ and remember thinking to myself ‘How did these events effect the people there?’ The story grew naturally out of that.

What music or movies helped you to write this story? I like total silence when writing but watched the film Dagon the night before I started work. Though very loose with the source material, it captures the atmosphere of Lovecraft’s writing more than any other adaption (in my view).

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? Two drafts, an edit then final polish.

What is your favorite bit?

As the nights drew in, melancholy seemed to befall our home. The bright wildflowers that Mamie had earlier that summer picked to decorate our bedroom now lay shriveled in their vases. Dust lay undisturbed upon each surface where I now laid my hand.

Live! Nude! Tentacles?

Or, what happened when Nathan Crowder read his Cthulhurotica story, “The Fishwives of Sean Brolly”, in public this past weekend. In his own words:

There I was, slated to read something at Foolscap 12, my favorite little literary convention here in Seattle region (specifically in Redmond). I had a 9:00 time-slot, and a raft of impending publications to choose from. What to use to win over a room full of strangers, a few friends, and a few regional spec fic luminaries? Why, how about “The Fishwives of Sean Brolly?”

First off, I warned the audience. “This is the darkest thing I’ve ever written. It’s disturbing. It’s Cthulhu erotica and while there are no tentacles, I feel it only safe to warn you.”

A few people left. Those people are still my friends. Many more stayed. To the best of my knowledge, I made enemies of none of them. Though I was aware of some nervous shifting as I read and a few genuine gasps of something that translated to “That’s not right!”

This was my first experience reading erotica out loud to a room full of people. It was really my first strong erotica story. After a host of grotesqueries and the words “hard on, manhood,” and “erection,” through the course of the narrative, my penis-euphemism meter redlined. I found myself self-editing a brief paragraph towards the climax (no pun intended) when I spied the word “cock.” All things considered, that was really the least of the offences being perpetrated by my story, and I have no idea why I suddenly got coy. But it happened, and I kept going, straight up to the grisly, horrifying, and deeply satisfying (pun VERY intended) end.

I talked to a few of the audience the next day, almost as much to make sure that we were still on speaking terms as to say “Thanks for sticking around for the reading.” That regional luminary I mentioned (but not by name, because I’m coy here as well)? She sat across from me while I read, and I was worried about her reaction. Turns out she enjoyed how the language was used beautifully, to describe something so ultimately horrible and horrifying. And another was still squidged out by the story the next day to the extent that discussing a particular bit provoked a flinch reaction.

All things considered, I couldn’t have hoped for a better debut of my story from Cthulhurotica.

-Nate

Interview: Nathan Crowder

Name: Nathan Crowder

Author of: “The Fishwives of Sean Brolly”

Age: 41

Geographic Location: Seattle, Washington

Original Hometown, if different: Durango, Colorado

Twitter: @Natecrowder

Website: http://nathancrowder.com

Past publications: Short fiction — “Fists of Felt” in Byzarium, “Ink Calls to Ink” and “Memory in the Time of Bones” at WilyWriters.com, “Deacon Carter’s Last Dime” in Crossed Genres and in Crossed Genres Year One, “None Left Behind” in Absent Willow Review, “Frames of Reference” in Close Encounters of the Urban Kind, “The War at Home” in Cobalt City Timeslip, “Kid Gloves” in Thug Lit, “Dancing Tonight! Live Music!” in Rigor Amortis

What’s your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story or other Mythos story? “Pickman’s Model”

What comes to mind when you think “Lovecraft” + “Erotica”? The scene in the movie Dagon when the “local girl” whips back her bedding to show her tentacle legs…her hot, tentacle legs.

How did you hear about Cthulhurotica? The usual suspects on Twitter.

What inspired your story? The fishwives were very, very fringe characters from another unfinished story, crossed with lingering memories of some unhealthy personal relationships that were nowhere near as bad as depicted in my story.

What music or movies helped you to write this story? The soundtrack to the movie City of Lost Children was strangely compelling, and comes to mind when I close my eyes and think of the story.

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? Three – one specifically to add in more sensory detail to the individual paragraphs, and one to remove a confusing framing device/flashback and smooth it over so it didn’t leave a scar.

What is your favorite bit?

That’s an easy one.

“I’m not a freak. I just know what I like.”

I think that really sums up the core of the character as he reaches that revelation.

Interview: Madison Woods

Name: Madison Woods

Author of: “Daddy’s Girl”

Age: 45, for a little longer.

Geographic Location: NW Arkansas, way off the beaten path

Original Hometown, if different: St. Amant, LA

Twitter: @madison_woods

Website: http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com

Past publications: Non-fiction on Ginseng in the Ozarks (Digging Roots, a Dying Legacy). Lots of blog posts between my fiction blog, listed above as the website, and my Rural Ozarks Musings at http://blog.ancientearthwisdom.com .

What’s your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story or other Mythos story? When I first heard about Cthulhurotica, I looked up Lovecraft. So that was my first introduction to his work. I am intrigued but haven’t found a favorite, yet. Monsters with personality are a strong interest of mine, though.

What comes to mind when you think “Lovecraft” + “Erotica”? Very twisted concepts, haha. And a touch of horror that my own mind is thinking of it.

How did you hear about Cthulhurotica? A while back I participated in #zinechat on Twitter with @JaymGates and some other magazine editors and writers of stories. I think it was there that I first saw it mentioned.

What inspired your story? Haha, surely something better left unsaid.

What music or movies helped you to write this story? Believe it or not, Pirates of the Caribbean, the monster-humanoid characters, had a huge influence on how I thought of my characters.

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? Hmmm. Not enough. I found a fairly significant error after hitting ‘send’, and thought surely that would be the death blow to my submission.

What is your favorite bit?

“Smartass. I didn’t say that. But she’d know I’d likely not directly disobey a summons from Daddy.”

Interview: Steven J. Scearce


Name: Steven James Scearce

Author of: “The Assistant from Innsmouth”

Age: I’m 42, actually.

Geographic Location: Kansas City, by way of Detroit and Seattle.

Original Hometown, if different: Kansas City

Twitter feed: @ShinkaiMaru5

Website: http://www.stevescearce.com/
http://www.unknowntransmission.com/

Recent publications:

1. “Second Sunday in September” from Rigor Amortis, Jaym Gates & Erika Holt Editors

2. Unknown Transmission (a science fiction web serial)

3. All kinds of alt-rock music articles in magazines that don’t exist anymore

What’s your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story or other Mythos story? Ah… “The Dunwich Horror.” Brilliant.

What comes to mind when you think “Lovecraft” + “Erotica”? Although Lovecraft’s work is almost entirely devoid of relationships, sex, intimacy, and even women, it’s not for us to say that his work is without an erotic quality. The best erotic fiction creates an almost unhinged desire deep within the reader – a madness of sorts. So, for Lovecraft, who was no stranger to madness, the stories and mythos elements may have been a highly-charged projection of his deepest desires – strange and terrible as they may be.

How did you hear about Cthulhurotica? I believe that I may have been there when the idea was first hatched, like a fly on the wall. *

What inspired your story? My story was inspired by thoughts of travelling through the Miskatonic River Valley. I wondered what it would be like to drive through the valley and into the depths of the unknown. And, as so many of Lovecraft’s characters were ordinary folks who found themselves surrounded by the extraordinary and the horrific, I also wondered what it would be like to walk around in the central character’s shoes for a time and watch those nightmarish events unfold before me.

What music or movies helped you to write this story? During the course of the writing, I listened almost exclusively to the Philip Glass/Kronos Quartet re-imagined soundtrack for the 1931 horror classic, Dracula (with Bela Lugosi).

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? There were nine or ten drafts of the story. One of the early drafts actually approached 4,000 words. Through the course of the editing, I whittled the dialogue and descriptive passages down to a much-tighter version of the original. There were no major cuts. The ending was always the same (horrific), but a brief ritual scene was cut from the final version.

What is your favorite bit?

“The valley itself was wondrously dusky and quiet, although somewhat ominous. Massive trees of deep green foliage populated the whole of the valley and at no point in my journey was my vehicle ever without cover of deep shade. The central aspect of the valley was the Miskatonic River, a broad, dark watercourse that babbled rapid but quiet, as if whispering urgent secrets that only creatures of the water could hear and comprehend.”

* Editor’s Note: It’s true. When the original conversation that inspired this anthology was being had, Steve was a tiny insect, perched on a wall. We nearly swatted him, but he flew away, wings buzzing angrily, and survived to write “The Assistant from Innsmouth”.