Welcome back! Today I’m thrilled to spotlight the fantastic V. Castro. V. is the author of Maria the Wanted and the Legacy of the Keepers as well as numerous short stories. I was fortunate enough to meet V. at StokerCon this year, and I knew I had to invite her to talk with me here on the blog.
Recently, V. and I discussed her new novel as well as her inspiration and hopes for the future of horror.
A couple icebreakers to start: when did you first decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?
I’ve always loved books. Writing happened later in life because I never had the confidence to pursue it. A few years ago, I was in a bad place emotionally and felt I had nothing to lose. I was nearly forty and all those insecurities that held me back previously no longer existed. It’s a nice freedom to write with a fuck it all flag in your window. With that being said, my mother recently gave me a vampire book I wrote at nine years old! Masterpiece.
I don’t have favorite authors because I am discovering new favorites all the time. The books that shaped me were; Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark by Alvin Schwartz, The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, The Stand by Stephen King.
Congratulations on the release of your novel, Maria the Wanted and the Legacy of the Keepers. What inspired the book, and what has been the most surprising part of the experience, either writing or promoting it?
Maria was not a main character, however, the more I thought about her, the more I felt she was important to write. She needed to be fleshed out because my kindle was full of straight white males. No shade, but there is a real need for narratives from females and people of color.
The most surprising part is that people have embraced me. The horror community is AMAZING, and I can’t tell you how many Latinx folks have reached out to me on Instagram excited about a strong Latina with her own story. There is a massive gap in the adult horror market for people of color. Most people don’t see this because they are represented. It isn’t only vampires that don’t see their reflection.
The first part of my life was not easy. Horror was an escape. There was no one to monitor what I was doing so I watched most horror films when they were on TV. Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark was my bible for years. The horror I was reading made me forget the little horrors that I experienced in my life.
You’re an incredible supporter of your fellow authors, both in person and on social media! You’re always promoting others and being such a positive force in the industry. In that vein, what advice do you have for other authors just getting started in the industry, especially female authors?
My first and foremost advice is just be cool. There is never a reason to be rude or dog another author. It makes you look like a jerk and there are enough of those in the world.
I also feel that women are stronger together. The Suffragettes would have never accomplished half of what they did by being bitchy and divided. If we want things to change it should be shoulder to shoulder.
Which part of the writing process is your favorite: writing dialogue, creating setting, or crafting characters?
Crafting characters because I only write main characters that are Latina. We see so few Latinas as main characters, we need to shine.
What are your hopes for the future of the horror genre?
I want more diverse stories. There are so many folk tales and urban legends from different cultures that are creepy AF. But women are KILLING it. I think the future is female.
What projects are you currently working on?
The big news is I will be co-editing a Latinx horror anthology with Bronzeville Books, Latinx Screams. I can’t wait for this to drop because it is all our nightmares and dreams from our own voices. Given the current climate, I feel this is very important right now. Submissions are open!
I have a ton of projects out and I’m just waiting for those emails.
Where can we find you online?
Tremendous thanks to V. Castro for being part of this week’s author interview series!