L. R. Giles is a three-time contributor to the Dark Dreams anthology series edited by author Brandon Massey for Kensington Publishing (Dark Dreams, 2004; Voices from the Other Side, 2006; Whispers in the Night, 2007), a recipient of the 2006-2007 Virginia Commission for the Arts Fiction Fellowship, and a Top 10 finalist in the 2009 Tor UK and SciFiNow War of the Words competition. He resides in Chesapeake, VA with his wife.
L.R. Giles is also one of the authors paving the way for this new e-book phenomenon. Specifically I’m speaking of his support of the e-book format. You can find his e-books available on SMASHWORDS (which supports the popular and industry standard Epub format) as well as on AMAZON.
Or if you are like me and still enjoy having the real book in your hands go here.
Okay enough with the public service announcement :) onto the interview…
HT: Hi LR, First Welcome to Heroic Times. And second, a big thank you for taking the time out of your booked schedule to answer these crazy questions. So taking that into consideration, we’ll start with an easy one. What is your favorite genre or genres?
LRG: This one is tougher than you think, so I’m going to cheat a little and say it’s a tie between fantasy and horror. I grew up on both, and a bit of science fiction, too. See how I snuck a third one in?
HT: What is the favorite thing you’ve written?
LRG: There’s a story called “The View” that’s part of my indie published short story collection THE SHADOWS GALLERY. It’s about a man who opens a window to Hell so he can confirm his wife’s dead murderer is being properly punished. I wanted to play with the idea of divine justice and pose a question. Can a need for vengeance ever be truly satisfied? It’s one of my darker stories. Difficult to write. That’s probably why I like it so much.
HT: Name 5 classic or genre writers who inspire or impress or influence you?
LRG: Poe (for “The Tell-Tale Heart), Shakespeare (for many works, but *MacBeth* in particular), Lovecraft (mostly for “The Dunwich Horror”),Nathaniel Hawthorne (for “Young Goodman Brown”), George Orwell (for ANIMAL FARM). With the exception of Lovecraft, I think I just gave you the reading list from my sophomore year of high school. Nevertheless, that was a formative time for me and those writers/stories stuck.
HT: Name some current or new writers, whose work you’ve recently read or discovered and blew you away.
LRG: Tananarive Due & Steven Barnes, they’re a husband and wife team who write an incredible mystery series starring a former male prostitute turned detective named Tennyson Hardwick. The first book in the series is called CASANEGRA and I HIGHLY recommend it.
Charlie Huston’s fiction really impresses, particularly THE SHOTGUN RULE.
And I recently read DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor; it’s incredible and I can’t wait for the upcoming sequel.
HT: Going along with the above name an author or authors (either new or old) who you think don’t get the attention they deserve, and everyone should be reading.
LRG: I have to go with Tananarive Due & Steven Barnes here. They’re veteran genre writers (horror, fantasy, and sci-fi), but people may not know how incredible their mysteries are. Reading their series inspired me to take a crack at the mystery genre, the resulting novel is WHISPERTOWN, a book I sold to HarperCollins last year. I can’t sing their praises enough.
HT: Name 2 or 3 of your favorite horror short stories
LRG: I’ll try not to borrow from my previous answers, though I certainly count those. For the sake of freshness, let’s say “The Barrens” by F. Paul Wilson, “The Man in the Black Suit” by Stephen King, and “The Yattering and Jack” by Clive Barker.
[I couldn't find any of these stories available online, but you can listen to a different F. Paul Wilson short story here.--- ht]
HT: Anthologies are usually theme based, so you have your Poe anthologies or Lovecraft etc. If you could do a short story for such an anthology, if you could decide/choose, what would the anthology be about.
LRG: Lovecraft, for two reasons. 1) The concepts of the Old Ones and universes running parallel to our own fascinate me, and I’d love to play in that sandbox. 2) Given some of Lovecraft’s musings on (human) races different than his own, I’d like to think that if he were still here, I could help show him we CAN have mutual respect for one another despite having different backgrounds.
[I love that take on Lovecraft. A writer I myself have very little love for :). But I do acknowledge his imagination and influence.--ht]
HT: Name 5 Favorite films, horror or otherwise.
LRG: I could probably give you 50, but here we go:
BLADE – Say what you want, Wesley was a badass and, sadly, one of the few heroes of color to grace a genre film and survive. This will always be at the top of my list.
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION – I could recite lines from this film all day.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS: DREAM WARRIORS! Don’t wanna dream no more!
TERMINATOR 1 & 2 – Cameron just knows how to make entertaining films. Period.
SEVEN – I still squirm at the end, and I KNOW what’s in the box.
HT: What do you think can or should be done to get more writers of color producing genre fiction:
LRG: I think the first thing we need to do is keep discussing the image systems that dominate novels, comic books, and scripts that become television shows/feature films. Writers of color* producing genre fiction?
Believe it or not, there are tons of them. The problem is there are few opportunities for them to showcase their talents when they’re writing about characters *who look like them, *particularly lead characters.
This is nobody’s fault, per se. There’s nothing productive about pointing a finger at Hollywood, or Big Publishing, or ‘The Man’. Numbers talk, and major successes for writers/characters of color have been few and far between.
If we want more writers of color making names for themselves in genre fiction, we have to reach a point where the general buying public is more open to the variety of stories such writers bring to the table and start voting with dollars. The great thing is, I think we’re getting closer every year.
Time will fix this. I want to be clear, when I say color I don’t just mean black writers. There are many stories to be told, and many writers who want to tell them.
HT: And finally in closing with a little less than 10 months left in 2012, what are you looking forward to?
LRG: Other than THE AVENGERS? :) I’m just looking forward to finishing up a couple of writing projects and meeting more authors and readers. That is, by far, the best part of this gig. I hope to be doing it for a long time. 10 months +.
HT: LR, Those are great answers! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to introduce me and the HEROIC TIMES readers to not only your work, but great work from writers old and new. Thanks again!