In this archival podcast Scott Nicolay interviews Gemma Files, author of the Shirley Jackson Award-winning novel Experimental Film. It was recorded on October 11, 2015 and originally aired on October 13, 2015.
Gemma Files goes behind the lens of her new standalone horror novel Experimental Film, its roots in her background as a film critic who has seen more than 5000 movies, the difference between horror in cinema and horror literature, Stephen King, Peter Straub and Clive Barker, the hyper-reality of anything that happens behind the camera, her ongoing fascination with found footage narrative, why inside every movie is a ghost story, the aftertaste of Candyman and swimming deep into Lake Mungo, why she likes people who are monsters, accepting the monster inside herself and writing the monster, how the experience of raising an autistic son and discovering a shared language with him using music and movies has contributed to her own growth and work, why we are attracted to certain narratives and stories, personal narratives and the survival imperative of reframing one’s own narrative versus “collapsing to no one,” her tendency to set stories in war zones and the end of days as not an end but a transformation, moments of transfiguration and decision, crafting language in narrative, rap music, minute details of historical fashion, the unlikely genesis of her Weird western Hexslinger trilogy, opening oneself up to diversity and letting LBGT and culturally diverse characters speak for themselves, why she decided to write deliberatively about women, “Grave Goods,” her story in the upcoming Autumn Cthulhu from Lovecraft eZine about an all-women archaeological dig including a transgender character, how H.P. Lovecraft’s legacy today is to be subverted and how she approached writing for two all-female Lovecraft-themed anthologies, and her current reading recommendations including John Connolly’s short stories, The Book of Lost Things and his Charlie Parker noir novels, which she says are “totally horror” and “make it look effortless,” Adam Nevill, whose most recent book is No One Gets Out Alive and whom she says is ‘the real deal”—”so good and so vicious and so layered and beautifully, beautifully detailed” —and Shirley Jackson and World Fantasy Award-winning author Helen Marshall—”My God she can write!”
News From the Weird
(2:07:24) Arkham Digest columnist and Strange Aeons fiction editor Justin “Steely J” Steele joins The Outer Dark this week as news co-host/resident reviewer to discuss Gemma Files’ Experimental Film and other recent Weird and film-related novels.
Former film critic and teacher Gemma Files won the 2016 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel for Experimental Film, which was released in November 2015, and the 1999 International Horror Guild short fiction award for her story “The Emperor’s Old Bones,” which appears in her collection The Worm in Every Heart. Both it and her earlier collection, Kissing Carrion, feature stories adapted into episodes of The Hunger, an anthology TV show produced by Ridley and Tony Scott. Her first novel, A Book of Tongues: Volume One of the Hexslinger Series (ChiZine Publications), won a DarkScribe Magazine Black Quill award for “Best Small Press Chill” in both the Editor’s and Readers’ Choice categories. A Rope of Thorns (2011) and A Tree of Bones (2012) complete the trilogy. She is also the author of We Will All Go Down Together: Stories of the Five-Family Coven.
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Weird Novels: “The Expanding Borders of Area X: Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach in the Context of a Weird Renaissance,” Weird Fiction Review, Nov. 21, 2014.
Host/Executive Producer: Scott Nicolay
Co-Host, News From the Weird: Justin Steele
Associate Producer/Show Notes: Anya Martin
Logo Design: Nick “The Hat” Gucker
Music: Michael Griffin