To those of you active in the horror circles, Louis Greenberg requires very little introduction. As one half of the SL Grey partnership, with Sarah Lotz, that brought us The Mall, it's also thanks to his involvement with eKhaya, the digital imprint of Random House Struik, that we now have the Bloody Parchment elevated to the status of a paying market.
Louis's stopped by to chat about horror fiction in general, so, without further ado...
There're a lot of doom/naysayers who say that horror's golden age had its boom, and that the genre's now dead. Your thoughts?
LG: I suppose one reader's golden age is another reader's poxy selection of rip-offs. Whatever you grew up with, I suspect, you'll consider the golden age. But there's always something fresh, along with a lot of derivative stuff, being produced in any given cycle.
Any advice to writers of horror? What's the best way forward in such a competitive industry that's mutating so fast?
LG: Don't try to catch a wave, because you'll be too late. Stay honest; keep your integrity; work on your craft; write what moves you. Well crafted, honest writing has more chance of lasting a bit. (And don't confuse honesty with realism.)
How do you think digital publishing will affect the horror genre? Who are the new gatekeepers now that the playing field has been levelled?
LG: I think publishing will find its level. After the boom and bust of the fly-by-night publishers who are just looking to cash in, we'll hopefully be left with those publishers who care about vision and quality. These include both traditional publishers who know their business very well and upstarts who will be able to use the flexibility of new media to enter the field. The medium doesn't matter; the writing and quality of production does.
Anthologies... How do you feel about them?
LG: It takes some creativity to make an anthology more than just a loose collection, one that works as a whole. But at the very least, anthologies are usually a great showcase of emerging and existing talent that you may not have encountered before, and great motivation for beginning writers to carry on.
Are there any Bloody Parchment stories that particularly jumped out at you?
I'm not going to highlight any favourites, because that would be unfair, but I looked with interest at how each writer uses local, specific detail in their stories. I'm drawn to stories in which the action is imbued with local flavour and is set in specific rather than generic locations. Even if the plots are fantastical, I like them when they're hung on real places. They have so much more effect that way.
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