Marc Pastor works as a crime-scene investigator in Barcelona, where he has lived all his life. He has written four novels: Montecristo, Barcelona Shadows, L’any de la plaga and Bioko. His critically acclaimed work spans a range of genres, from Sci-Fi to Gothic, via the adventure novel. Barcelona Shadows is his first book published in English. Barcelona Shadows by Marc Pastor is published by Pushkin Press and retails at £12.99.
What first attracted you to horror writing?
I think it comes from when I was a child. I remember I read Stephen King and said: “Uh, that really scares me. I wanna scare with my books like this guy does!” I had nightmares, nightmares I still remember clearly, with The Stand. And when I first read Misery (when I was maybe twelve, not a teenager, yet) I knew I wanted to be a writer. Not to be kidnapped by a psychopathic fan, of course (at least not by an ugly one like Annie Wilkes) but to influence people’s emotions like Mr. King did. And then there was the blood, the screaming, the horror and all that stuff. I always enjoyed horror films. From Universal to Lionsgate, from Hammer to Tobe Hooper, and I was a boy with a creepy sense of humour. I am, actually, still that boy.
What is your most notable work?
Barcelona Shadows is my most notable success. It won a crime fiction prize [the Crims de Tinta] in 2008. That was my second novel. I first wrote Montecristo, a kinda Indiana-Jones-esque Dirty-Dozen-ish war adventure, in the middle of the Third Reich with spies, air combats, magic swords and all the fun you can imagine. With Barcelona Shadows, I uncovered the story of a female serial murderer in the beginnings of the century in Barcelona. A true case of a woman who kidnapped children and corrupted them to finally kill ’em. She was considered a ‘vampiress’ because people believed she sometimes drank the children’s blood. I wrote this book as a ‘crepuscular western of horror’, merging influences from Sergio Leone to Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson or Roger Corman. There are two more books after this one. All of them are quite different. The third is an alien invasion as seen in the body snatchers movies, and the fourth is another story of the main character of Barcelona Shadows, inspector Moisès Corvo.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on my fifth novel and expanding the universe of my books. All of them are connected in some way. Sometimes it’s a link between characters, sometimes it’s the same scenario, or a company, or perhaps a mysterious plan. You can read all of them separately, but if you read more than one, you’ll see there’s a bigger story. I’m telling you all of this because I’m not telling you anything about my next novel, or I should kill you.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
First of all, Richard Matheson. If there’s somebody I’d like to write like, it’s Richard Matheson. And then, of course, Stephen King (the one from the eighties, sadly), Clive Baker, Robert Bloch, Lovecraft, Poe, David Moody, John Wyndham and Dan Simmons. That’s only for books; if I talk about movies I won’t stop. The scariest movie I’ve seen is, maybe, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But, as I told you, I enjoy watching all kind of horror movies, from Terence Fisher to James Wan. I love Philip Kaufmann’s The Invasions of Body Snatchers – goddamnit I wrote a remake – and V/H/S, for example. I’ve seen all of the Elm Street movies in cinema – including Rachel Talalay’s 3D Final Nightmare six times! I was so bored that summer – and enjoyed every psycho movie I know. Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, Norman Bates, Henry from Portrait of a Serial Killer and Aliens, and John Carpenter’s (every) Thing and… and…
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
It depends on my mood, but I like both. When I want some fun, I like the teenage chasing, the shoulder stabbing, the muscular tearing, the bloody squirting and the Queen of Screams festival for an hour and a half. If I want tension, then I’d rather the psychological chills, of course. The ambiences, the slamming doors, the shadows, the steps in the upper floor, that guy with the pale face and the whispering in your ears when there is nobody else in the room.
Why should people read your work?
Because they’re gonna get fun and fright at the same time. Imagine another Jack the Ripper, with all the legends around him. Imagine it’s a woman, that she did exist and she lived in Barcelona, a hundred years ago. And then imagine a police investigation that never happened, with a police detective who acts like a cowboy. Literally, he walks like a cowboy and is rude like Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone’s movies. Imagine Clint Eastwood fighting a female vampire, directed by Roger Corman. Isn’t it enough?
Recommend a book.
I’ll be classical and I’ll recommend my favourite book, that is I am Legend from Richard Matheson. Everything is in that short novel. Not just a vampire story— or The Vampire Story, after Dracula— a tale about good and evil and the nature of monsters… And the scene with the dog. Oh my god, I cried when the dog…
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