My Women in Horror Month interview series continues with a conversation with author V. Castro! Read on to hear more from this wonderful writer.
Sonora: How long have you been writing?
V: I have been writing since I was a kid, but I didn’t seriously begin to consider publishing until three years ago. I always thought it would be unavailable to someone like me.
Sonora: You made a welcome splash into the vampire genre with Maria the Wanted and the Legacy of the Keepers. Tell us about this book. What inspired the story? What was it like writing it? Publishing it?
V: Maria works in a maquiladora in Juarez, Mexico to earn enough money to pay a coyote to cross the border. During one of her shifts, she and her co-workers are attacked by vampires. This is the beginning of her journey to becoming a dark enforcer of justice that even Lucifer cannot resist.
This story was inspired by a dream, but it wasn’t about Maria. She emerged while I wrote what is now book 2 of the series. I couldn’t stop thinking about her and what she stood for.
Sonora: When will we see Maria’s next adventure?
V: I have written parts of the sequels already. My hope is to find a publisher to take on the series because it is a pretty big project. I envision at least 2-3 more books.
Sonora: You also wrote another vampire tale, The Erotic Modern Life of Malinalli the Vampire. As the title suggests, it’s very sexy. What draws you to writing erotica?
V: I just love sex. That might sound crass, but it is true. Writing about it is an escape that I find exciting. I have lived a pretty colorful life so some of those experiences make their way onto the page.
Sonora: Sex in horror is interesting. I often find that horror stories treat sex as something that should be shocking, violent, and/or a means of punishment; so it’s refreshing when I see an honest-to-God, sexy, consensual sex scene in a horror novel. What are your experiences reading sex in horror? Is there anything you would suggest authors do to improve the state of sex in horror?
V: I think you hit the nail on the head. We should have normal sex in horror because humans have good consensual sex all the time. Women are not just toys to be degraded for the sake of a plot. If it is part of a back story, handled with respect or if it is written by a survivor, I can understand.
If authors want to improve sex in horror, I suggest they write it in a way they might enjoy it.
Sonora: Tell us about your next novella, Hairspray and Switchblades (out February 22). I can’t wait to read it!
V: Maya is a dancer at a gentleman’s club, but she is also a jaguar shifter. After her parents are murdered, her options are limited that will allow her to retain custody of her younger sister Magdalena and pay for her education. But there is a predator on the loose and it wants their hide.
Sonora: You’ve also written several short stories, which have appeared in different anthologies. How is the experience of writing a short story different for you than a novel? A novella?
V: In some ways it is more difficult because you have a finite space to create a rich world and developed characters. I love writing short stories because where else can I pursue all my crazy ideas!
I also find that a novel can feel like a slog because 65k and over is a lot of words. Then you have the editing that consumes significant time and energy. When I need a break, short stories help me to break up the monotony of bigger projects.
Sonora: What have been your experiences as a Latinx author? As a woman author?
V: In horror there are so very few Latinx authors and it is discouraging when you only see white men getting all the fanfare in horror. However, the indie horror community has been great to me as a Latina and a woman. With that said, I truly believe you get what you give. Supporting others is important to me.
Sonora: What can the genre do to improve representation of diverse voices? What can the industry do?
V: The industry is off to a good start by stating in their submission calls that they want to see diversity in the author pool. It is not enough for just asking white authors to write diverse stories. Those stories need to come from us.
Editors need to look at their anthologies and try to include stories by authors from marginalized groups.
Reading diversely and reviewing those books goes a long way because word of mouth is crucial.
Sonora: Who are some of your favorite authors? What are some of your favorite books?
V: Honestly, the indie horror scene is really hot as it becomes more inclusive and women are killing it. I can’t just name a few! Everyone on the hustle deserves a nod.
One book I read last year that has continually inspired me is a non-fiction book by fellow Mexican American author David Bowles. Feathered Serpent Dark Heart of Sky is a book of all the myths of Mexico. It is so lush, and I love it.
Sonora: What are you working on right now?
V: So many things! Working hard on making Latinx Screams the best it can be. I’m curating a Latinx dark fiction book bundle for StoryBundle.
About V. Castro:
V.Castro is a Mexican American writer from San Antonio, Texas, now residing in the UK.
As a full-time mother, she dedicates her time to her family and writing Latinx narratives.
Currently she is co-editing Latinx Screams with Bronzeville Books due out in the fall.
Her titles include:
Maria The Wanted and the Legacy of The Keepers
The Erotic Modern Life of Malinalli the Vampire
Rigor Morbid: Lest Ye Become — “The Latin Queens of Mictlan”
Hairspray and Switchblades — Feb 2020 (Unnerving)
Violet is a reviewer for www.scifiandscary.com and Latin Horror. She has contributed to Ladies of Horror Fiction, Ginger Nuts of Horror, OctoberPod Podcast, and Burial Ground.
Connect with V via Instagram and Twitter: @vlatinalondon; or www.vvcastro.com
Check out previous WIHM 2020 interviews: