October is almost upon us, which means many of you will soon be in the mood for spooky and dark reads. Well, I’ve got the perfect book for you! Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s upcoming novel, Certain Dark Things, will release on October 25th. Just in time for Halloween!
Today, the author of this exciting paranormal thriller is here to answer a few questions. Feast your eyes on the gorgeous book cover, then read the book synopsis and tell me you’re not intrigued!
Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life.
Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her. Domingo is smitten.
Her plan doesn’t include developing any real attachment to Domingo. Hell, the only living creature she loves is her trusty Doberman. Little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his effervescent charm.
And then there’s Ana, a cop who suddenly finds herself following a trail of corpses and winds up smack in the middle of vampire gang rivalries.
Vampires, humans, cops, and gangsters collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive?
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Q&A With Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Tell us a bit about the kinds of books you like to write. What narratives are you drawn to most and why?
I write across genres. I am not interested in the divisions between literary and genre, and jump back and forth between them. I am inspired by Mexican folklore and stories I heard as a child, family narratives, novels that are difficult to classify, and characters who are equally “difficult.”
Your author “About” page says “Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination.” What do you love most about Canada? And do you often visit your home country?
I’ve lived in Canada for more than a decade. I try to go back to Mexico every two to three years, but it’s expensive to be flying there. I have remained in Canada for several reasons, but one of the most important ones was because it seems much more equal in terms of women’s rights than Mexico. When I was growing up I could clearly see the glass ceiling and it was kind of low. Here, I think I can do anything I want. I remember wearing a long leather trench coat on the subway in Mexico because it deterred men from pinching my ass of harassing me. Here, I’ve never had anyone pinch my ass, whistle at me or catcall me, or any number of aggressions I had to withstand. I can go the gym in my yoga pants at night and not be scared. It’s a bunch of small and big things. I miss many things about Mexico, but the machismo was suffocating.
Certain Dark Things is your second full-length novel. Was this sophomore effort easier or harder to write? In what ways?
I did more rewrites. I work in rewrites. I have a pretty solid first draft but then it keeps getting additions and changes, so I really require an editor who is willing to accommodate that and doesn’t want it printed as soon as I get the book to her. I read an article about George R.R. Martin, saying that when he delivers the manuscript for his next novel they’d have it in print three months later. And I thought, how the hell? That means there’s few revisions or the revisions are done while writing. I do a lot of revising while writing, but I definitely need to sit down and rejig the thing a bit after talking to the editor. Looking back, I would have done some things different with Signal to Noise. I wish I’d had another chance at the editing of that, but I’m learning how this stuff works and how relationships with editors go, so we’ll see how the next one turns out.
Did Certain Dark Things require extensive research? If so, can you share with us a couple cool or interesting things you learned?
I lived in Mexico City and I know it well, but I did background research on the drug trade in Mexico. I was reading a lot of newspapers and blogs and anything I could watch. Also some other stories that were not drug related, just the regular crime beat. I got to see a lot of gruesome photos and videos. I don’t like to talk about it much because it was pretty fucked up. Certain Dark Things is much more tame than some of the stuff I was regularly looking at.
David Bowles, who is also a Latino author, knows Nahuatl and some Mayan, and he corrected the Nahuatl words that appear in the book.
I read some anthropological texts about the Mexican vampire-witch that appears in the novel. The legends come from Tlaxcala, but there are vampire-witches in other parts of Latin American, especially the Caribbean. And there were my great-grandmothers stories which somewhat got me on this path in the first place since, you know, there is the famous saying of “se lo chupo la bruja.” The witch sucked him. It’s a general belief in rural Mexico that there are witches and they’ll suck your blood. I was trying to figure out a more “scientific” vampire, so most of the folklore was discarded, but some things remain. Atl can change into a bird shape, she drinks the blood of young people, little things like that. But Certain Dark Things should not be seen as a primer for Mexican folklore.
The cover of your new book is fantastic! What is the cover design process like? Is it generally a positive experience or does it have its frustrations?
I was asked for cover input, as in describing what I ideally wanted and offered a couple of choices. I’d like to have someone like John Picacio illustrating my work, so maybe if I ever get big enough that’ll happen.
Most conversations during Latinx Heritage Month center around Americans. Can you introduce us to a few Latinx Canadian authors we should be reading?
I honestly don’t know many people who are Latin American and live in Canada. I live in Vancouver and whatever Latino population exists resides in Toronto. If you look at the percentage of visible minorities, we make a tiny sliver of the pie. The most famous writer I know is Caribbean-Canadian author Nalo Hopkinson and she’s written a whole whack of books. There’s some sort of Spanish Language Book Festival at my library this month so maybe I’ll meet people there, who knows.
Certain Dark Things is close to release date. Are you already working on your next project or do you like to take breaks in between?
I delivered my third novel to Thomas Dunne in the summer (another stand alone) and I’m doing edits this month, so that one is done. My fourth novel I’m still working on and I expect it will be completed before the end of the year. I write often, mostly out of economical necessity. I have a full-time job, but I am always on the lookout of extra money both for my family in Canada and my family back in Mexico. There is nothing better to fix writer’s block than needing to pad the checking account. If I had one of those artist’s grants maybe I could slow down, but I don’t have one and the competition for getting your work out there is fierce, so I push as much as I can.
_About the author_
(From author website)
Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination. Silvia’s debut novel, Signal to Noise, about music, magic and Mexico City, was listed as one of the best novels of the year at io9, Buzzfeed and many other places. It has been nominated for the British Fantasy, Locus, Sunburst and Aurora awards. Her second novel, Certain Dark Things, will be out October 2016.
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