August 3, 2012

Sparkly Vampires Need Not Apply: an interview with Louise Bohmer

Louise Bohmer is the editor of the monstrous Belfire Press anthology, Old School, as well as a contributing author to the project that saw classic monsters revisited and re-imagined by the likes of Natalie Sin, R. Scott McCoy, and the Funk Werepig himself, Gregory Hall. I had the chance to read the anthology this year, as well the opportunity to interview Louise, discussing the anthology and the art of editing. Enjoy. 

Gef: How did Old School come about as an anthology? Was it as simple as tiring of the sparkly vampires in paranormal romance?

Louise: The credit for the creation of Old School goes entirely to Greg Hall and R. Scott McCoy. I came in later, after they'd compiled the stories, as a replacement for an author who had to back out of the project, and as the editor. The idea started from conversations about the more terrifying monsters of old school horror versus the more romanticized monsters you tend to see in modern genre fiction. But it also came from a love of those old school monsters that, for a lot of us, went back to childhood. Sort of an homage to the horror that scared us all as kids.

Gef: Each author in the book, including yourself, write two stories each. Did people call dibs on their creatures of choice or was everyone assigned their monsters?

Louise: When the project first started, I think Greg and R. Scott let the contributors choose their monsters. Since I came in at the end, I took the remaining monstera for my contributions.

Gef: Zombie Zak is all over the place with an introductory poem basically for each story. How did the inclusion of poetry happen?

Louise: This was something Greg really wanted. For me, it kind of gives the anthology that "Tales From the Darkside" or "Creepshow" feel. The build up before the main attraction. I think Greg's idea was to have the poems almost mimic a horror host, like those who would introduce horror movie presentations at one time. Zombie Zak became our Elvira.

Gef: Have you got a favorite monster? Is there one, perhaps, that didn't make the cut for this anthology you would have liked included?

Louise: My favorite monsters are often undefined, like the ones found in Midian. I like shapeshifters and monsters that cast illusions the characters have to see through. I think the anthology pretty much covered all my favorite classic creatures, but a giant squid or mutant reptile tale would've been a fun addition to the TOC.

Gef: As an editor, your projects range beyond old school horror. In fact, you have an erotic anthology out in 2012, am I right? Tell us about that.

Louise: I released an erotic romance collection in February called Passion Plays. It also includes a bit of speculative fiction, in the form of a story called "Bio-ink and Blueprint Whores." The stories were originally published about five to six years ago, when I first started writing erotic fiction in addition to other genres. Most of the stories are contemporary, general interest erotic romance, but there is also one erotic noir tale included, about a pair of female P.I.s back in the 40s.

Gef: How has editing helped or hindered your own writing? When you wrote The Black Act, were you as heavily engaged as an editor by that point?

Louise: Editing has helped my writing a great deal by sharpening my internal editor/critic. Nowadays I edit as I write, which means I can produce a clean, final draft quicker than I once could. It's hindered my writing somewhat by making me over-analytical at times. My internal critic can get too loud, second guess every idea and word, and that can stall the creative flow. I have to put a clothespin on her mouth when she gets too nit picky.

When I wrote The Black Act, I wasn't as experienced as an editor. I still had a lot to learn, although you always have a lot to learn in this business. But there were areas I didn't adequately tackle back then that I can better address now.

Gef: When it comes to writing it's pretty easy for most of us to cite our influences, but as an editor are their names you could mention who influence your work?

Louise: I've read the blogs of a lot of editors, mining these for advice, but I can't say any one editor has had a distinct influence on my work. My style of editing was something that just kind of developed from a variety sources.

 Gef: Thanks, Louise.

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