We are excited to see all your smiling zoomie faces this Thursday for our first annual Halloween Zoom Party! We are so excited to share readings, dark stories and socialize with all of you in the terrifying final days of election season. Until then, tide over your appetite with this interview with a rising star in the horror genre: Craig Laurance Gidney, who has been a finalist for the Lambda and Spectrum awards, and widely-critically praised for his beautiful and thoughtful atmospheric work, like A Spectral Hue, which our reviewer adored! His story in the anthology, EVIL IN TECHNICOLOR, is about a lost child at the edge of terror…
VB) Your piece explores the childhood of a famous British author and imbues it with mystery and danger. How connected are you to the work of Emily Bronte?
Craig Laurance Gidney) Like many children of the 80s, I went through a Goth phase, and who is more Goth than the Bronte sisters? Their lives are so fascinating—living in a remote area, the complex imagination they had both as individuals and as a unit, and their tragically early deaths is the stuff of legend. Emily was the most mysterious of the siblings (accept maybe for the brother Branwell) and from all accounts of her personality, she seemed to be almost changeling-like in her aloofness and deep connection to the surrounding moors. When I received the invitation to write for Evil in Technicolor, my mind immediately went to Bronte. I read some of her poetry to get me in the right frame of mind.
VB) How does Horror fiction shift when a child, alone, is threatened?
Craig Laurance Gidney) So much horror fiction (and its predecessors, folk tales) is concerned with harming and/or corrupting a child. It is because children are truly innocent victims. The witch in Hansel and Gretel is terrible because she uses the childrens’ sense of whimsy against them. Evil and/or possessed children are terrifying because they seem unnatural—childhood is supposed to be free from darkness, and full of wonder. In “Myth and Moor,” finding a lost village child is the motivating factor. The lost child is a kindred spirit to Emily—an imaginative dreamy child who wanders the moors in search of adventure and belonging.
VB) How has the pandemic impacted your life?
Craig Laurance Gidney) On the surface not much has changed. I’m a homebody and not wildly social at the best of times. I didn’t have a day job when the lockdown began, so my daily life didn’t alter that much. I found out that the minimal social life I do have—weekly get togethers with friends, the occasional outing to a concert or movie, seeing my brother’s family every three weeks or so—is now non-existent. I can tell that my anxiety has gone up, probably spurred on by the election . The fall of 2020 was supposed to be filled with events. I was supposed to do a couple of live readings in the Bay Area, and attend my first ICFA conference.