Meet the Writer: Eric LaRocca

Eric LaRocca (he/they) is the author of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke and The Strange Thing We Become and Other Dark Tales. He is an active member of the Horror Writers Association and currently resides in New England with his partner. For more information, please follow @ejlarocca on Twitter or visit ericlarocca.com.


What first attracted you to horror writing?

I think the unfortunate fact that I felt very disenfranchised and ostracized by most of my peers while I was growing up really propelled me to seek out horror as a form of comfort. For me, horror is a hugely cathartic genre. Horror affords us the privilege of examining our fears, our anxieties, our worries in a controlled environment. I’ve struggled with anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, etc. for most of my life and I constantly find myself drawn to horror because of the genre’s frankness when examining some of my fears. In short, I often felt like a freak growing up. Horror made me realize that being weird and unusual is something sacred. It’s a magnificent power and must be respected.


Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca - cover
What is your most notable work?

I suppose my most notable work would have to be my 2021 Weirdpunk novella, Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke. I never anticipated that particular book to take off the way it did, especially since it’s so short and so noticeably fixed in a niche market. But I think readers were fascinated by Kim Jakobsson’s exceptional cover art as well as the book’s compelling title. Obviously when I was writing that piece, I had hoped that it might receive some attention from readers. However, I certainly was not prepared for the level of attention it ended up receiving. That’s not to say I’m ungrateful in any way. I’m forever indebted to those who have taken the time to read and review the book. Each review means the absolute world to me, and I look forward to sharing more of my work with my devoted readers very soon.

 

What are you working on now?

I recently finished the first draft of a full-length novel on commission from a well-known publisher. Unfortunately, I’m not at liberty to discuss the details of the project until an official announcement is made. Regardless, I’m very happy with how the piece turned out and it’s one of the darkest, bleakest, and strangest things I’ve ever written. I’ll most likely take some time off from writing for the holiday season to spend time with family and loved ones. In January of 2022, I hope to resume work on a novel I had set aside a month or so ago. This particular novel is less rooted in horror and more grounded within the realm of dark literary fiction. If I had to compare the novel to an already existing piece, I would mention Han Kang’s The Vegetarian—one of the best novels I read in 2021.

What is your writing routine?

I’m very militant and superstitious when it comes to my daily writing routine. I always need to center myself and cut out distractions—especially social media on my phone. Once I’m centered and ready to write, I’ll write for an hour or so. Perhaps I’ll take a break. Sometimes I won’t. Regardless, I’m usually not satisfied with a writing session unless I’ve completed a thousand words. My daily goal is to write two thousand words; however, some days are slower than others. Then there are days when I write three or four thousand words. Regardless, between one and two thousand words is my daily target.

Who do you admire in the horror world?

There are so many incredible writers currently exercising their literary muscles in the horror genre. I think of horror icons like Paul Tremblay, Josh Malerman, Bracken Macleod, Christopher Golden. I’m honored to call them my colleagues and my friends. But there are so many others to be mentioned as well! I’m mindful of the extraordinary talents of writers like Laurel Hightower, Gordon B. White, Philip Fracassi, Ross Jeffery, John Langan, Gabino Iglesias, Cynthia Pelayo, Gwendolyn Kiste, Sara Tantlinger, Hailey Piper, Joe Koch, David Demchuk, Jonathan Janz. There are so many others I’m probably forgetting, unfortunately. Horror fiction is truly thriving!

Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?

I suppose it depends on the piece in question. Of course, I admire the frenetic intensity of films like High Tension, Martyrs, Inside, and A Serbian Film. However, I also admire the subtlety and nuance crafted in films like Jacob’s Ladder, Rosemary’s Baby, and I’m Thinking of Ending Things. Although I typically write bolder, “in your face” type of fiction, I can absolutely understand the value of more understated and controlled exercises in horror.

Why should people read your work?

If you’re drawn to the dark and the absurd filtered through a decidedly queer lens, I think you’ll find something compelling about my work.

Recommend a book.

Red X by David Demchuk. This book was the best novel I read in 2021. It’s unsettling, engrossing, and so dangerously compelling. David is perhaps one of my favorite authors of all time and I will salivate whenever he releases new content for readers to enjoy.

Buy Eric LaRocca’s Books

Eric LaRocca’s website

 

BOB PASTORELLA

 

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