Interview with dark fantasy author Craig DiLouie

Writer Craig DiLouie helps me kick off a new
week and new month. He’s here to chat about his new dark fantasy, One of Us.
Craig DiLouie is an American-Canadian writer of speculative fiction.
His works have been nominated for major literary awards, translated into
multiple languages, and optioned for screen adaptation. He is a member of the
Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, International Thriller Writers, and
Horror Writers Association.
Welcome, Craig. Please tell us about
your current release.
First off:
Thank you for having me on your blog, Lisa!
Published by
Orbit, One of Us is a dark fantasy
about a disease that produced a generation of monsters, who are now coming of
age in ramshackle orphanages through the American South. Scorned by the society
that birthed them, they must find a way to fit in—or fight for what’s theirs.
Claire North,
author of 84K, described it as The Girl with All the Gifts meets To Kill a Mockingbird, which I think
nails it. The book has gotten wonderful reviews in The Washington Post, Starburst,
SciFiNow, The Guardian, B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, and other places.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was
fascinated with the idea of telling a Southern Gothic story with monsters.
Southern Gothic literature is dark, over the top, gritty, and deals with
subjects like the taboo, grotesque, and Southern society in decay. I thought
this was the perfect place to tell a misunderstood monster story, a story of
human monsters and monstrous humans.
As I was
writing it, One of Us became a much
more ambitious examination of prejudice. I love writing stories that entertain
while viscerally engaging the reader with a big idea that may cause them to reflect
and maybe look at the world with fresh eyes.
Excerpt from One of Us:
teacher crossed his arms. “Go ahead, Amy. No need to holler, though. Why do you
hate them?”
monsters. I hate them because they’re monsters.”
Benson turned and hacked at the blackboard with a piece of chalk: MONSTRUM, a
VIOLATION OF NATURE. From MONEO, which means TO WARN. In this case, a warning
God is angry. Punishment for taboo.
is nature out of whack,” he said. “It rewrote the body. Changed the rules.
Monsters, maybe. But does a monster have to be evil?”
What exciting story are you working on
I’m currently
wrapping up another novel for Orbit, a story about a brother and sister forced
to fight as child soldiers on opposite sides of a second American civil war. As
with One of Us, I expect it will be
When did you first consider yourself a
I grew up on
disaster and great sci-fi movies in the 1970s, and wanted to create my own
similar worlds where ordinary people were tested in extraordinary situations.
In the 1980s, I read a ton of Robert E. Howard and for a few years there tried
to be Robert E. Howard. I considered myself a writer from then, working hard
writing and learning as I got older. It wasn’t until the last 10 years or so I
achieved any major success with it. It’s been an incredible ride, gratifying
and humbling.
Do you write full-time?
I’m a
full-time writer, though it’s split between fiction and nonfiction.
My nonfiction
work focuses on journalism and education for the lighting industry. My fiction
is then split between “big books” for major publishers like Orbit, and
self-published series.
Working at
home is great. I had to learn to be self-motivated and be happy with my own
company, but I’m so much more productive, I work in my pajamas, my commute is
to a coffee maker, and I get more time to watch my wonderful kids grow up. I
absolutely love it.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I hate a type
of “orphan” where a single word dangles on its own line at the end of a typed
paragraph. I’ll do anything to get rid of it. Which is crazy, as once it gets
into typesetting at the publisher, the orphan would disappear anyway. I guess I
just like the way a page I’m writing looks to me while I’m writing it. If it
visually looks right, it somehow reads better to me.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
A writer, all
the way. I’ve never wanted to be anything else.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I thought the
most amazing thing about getting into print with big publishers would be seeing
my book on a shelf in a bookstore, but what’s really been most gratifying is
getting reviews or letters from fans who were touched in some way by my work.
Anytime you like an author’s work, write a review or write to them
directly—more than likely, you’ll make their day.
Other than
that, thank you for reading!
Thanks for joining me today, Craig.

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