BY MONIQUE QUINTANA
I have been a lifelong reader of the weird. As a Xicana/Latina identified woman, I find myself navigating the dark joyfully, cautiously, and oftentimes fearfully. The wonderful thing about writing fiction is that you can work through the fear and create your own autonomy through landscapes both real and imagined.
I was thrilled to hear that V. Castro, the author of Maria The Wanted and The Legacy of the Keepers, will be editing a new anthology called Latinx Screams with Brozeville books. Here she shares about the inspirations and intentions for the project.
M. Q: In addition to writing novels, you have also written literary criticism in which you examine Latinx contributions to horror, dark fantasy, and weird fiction. I enjoyed your recent listicle/feature “Conversation with a Ghost: Latinx Writers in Horror and Dark Fiction” in the U.K. publication, Ginger Nuts of Horror. What about these genres appeal to you as a writer, especially as a Latina who has relocated to London, England? England is such an influential place for these genres. Alice in Wonderland, Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Frankenstein, among many other works, have literary footprints in England. How are these genres of writing complimentary to writing about Latinidad?
V.C. : I grew up with horror; I can’t remember a time in my life when the supernatural was not part of my psyche. Saying that, everything I consumed was from white culture based on those ideas transported from Europe and the UK, however, Mexican history and storytelling is just as rich. The UK has a bloody history predating The United Sates, as does Mexico. I don’t have to tell you, there is little representation when it comes to the Latinx community. I don’t see why I can’t create original or recreate classic tropes through my cultural lens. There are no hard and fast rules and I ignore people that say there are.
M. Q. : I am intrigued by the title of your new anthology project with Bronzeville Books, Latinx Screams, especially with our current political climate. The act of screaming is very visceral and makes me immediately think of the body. Why is it important to examine this specific idea at this point in time?
V. C. : My first visceral response to that question is that we are under attack. The first response to a threat is to scream followed by fight or flight. I choose to fight, and this anthology is my way of fighting back and arming those with strong voices to fight as well. Most anthologies are getting better at including women but have a very poor record of including people of color. Rarely do I see Latinx representation. This is me setting up our own table when told there are not enough seats and hopefully people will take notice.
M. Q. : I often feel that film, art, pop culture, and politics are especially influential for Latinx writers. My favorite Latin American horror film is Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Santa Sangre. The images and sounds from that film have been profoundly inspiring to my writing in the past year. I am also inspired by popular media such as soap operas and retro cartoons. If you could describe an inspiration board for this project, what would that look like? What are some aesthetics, artistic energies, and aspects of pop culture that you hope submitters will tap into?
V. C. : I want writers to tap first and foremost to the things that shaped them while growing up Latinx. So many of us cut our teeth on tales of the supernatural, religion, music, color and I think that is a beautiful thing. I want the writers to pour out their hearts, souls, nightmares, dreams and hopes into the stories. It can be whatever they want it to be. There are enough damn borders. Let this space be borderless.
When I see this anthology, I want it to be somewhat chaotic because we all have different experiences within our culture. There is also chaos that is happening in society. I hope this book can be a jolt of brown lightning. We won’t have the future we don’t demand
M. Q. : How can Latinx writers submit their work for consideration for this project? Where can they find submission guidelines?
V. C. : Again, Bronzeville Books is the publisher and here is the link. Thank you! http://www.bronzevillebooks.com/writers/anthology-submissions/
Monique Quintana is a Xicana writer and the author of the novella, Cenote City (Clash Books, 2019). She is an Associate Editor at Luna Luna Magazine, Fiction Editor at Five 2 One Magazine, and a pop culture contributor at Clash Books. She has received fellowships from the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, the Sundress Academy of the Arts, and has been nominated for Best of the Net. Her work has appeared in Queen Mob's Tea House, Winter Tangerine, Grimoire, Dream Pop, Bordersenses, and Acentos Review, among other publications. You can find her at moniquequintana.com and on Twitter @quintanagothic.