Saturday, 4 August 2018

Interview With Author Craig DiLouie

Today I have a treat, presenting a terrific interview with speculative fiction author Craig DiLouie. He stops by to chat about his books, characters and the genre of speculative fiction.


Interview With Craig DiLouie



Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself?

Thanks for having me on your blog! I’m an American-Canadian writer of speculative fiction, what’s called a “hybrid” author these days as my work is published by both big traditional publishers and also self-published.


Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

One of Us is a Southern Gothic dark fantasy about a disease that produces a generation of monsters now coming of age and wanting their place in society—something they may have to fight for. It’s a gritty misunderstood monster novel that also carries themes of prejudice and what makes a monster a monster. It’s been described as X-Men by way of William Faulkner, but it’s far darker than either. Author Claire North described it as The Girl with All the Gifts meets To Kill a Mockingbird, which is I think nails it.
The novel was published in hardcover mid-July 2018 and is available in the sci-fi section of your local bookstore, as well as online in hardcover, all eBook formats, and audiobook.


Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration?

I was fascinated with the idea of writing a Southern Gothic misunderstood monster novel. Southern Gothic is typically dark, gritty, and includes elements like the grotesque, taboo, prejudice, and a society in decay. The idea was to have monsters live among us, but they came from humanity biologically, and now the rest of humanity rejects them. We clearly sympathize with the monsters, but when they finally push back with extreme violence, our sympathies become pulled between them and the people living in the town. The result is a misunderstood monster novel that reveals itself as a larger examination of prejudice. One of Us doesn’t preach or pose any answers but instead simply asks the reader to experience the novel’s themes through empathy with the characters, and then reflect on them if they want to do so.


What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

I loved working with the characters in this book and building the world they live in, then revealing it with a style that combines a dark, modern thriller with a traditional Southern Gothic tone. The result really sang for me as the writer.



What did you find most challenging about writing your book?

I wanted to show the full spectrum of human ugliness revealed through some of the supposedly “normal” characters, which required violence but also a scene with sexual assault. This is a very sensitive subject to include in a novel these days, and it had to be handled carefully without being gratuitous.


Do you have a favourite character?

One of Us is a character-driven work and has an ensemble cast of both “monsters” and “normals” living in or near a small town in Georgia in 1984. I didn’t have a favorite but loved writing all of them equally.
On the monster side, you have Brain, his oversized head containing a supergenius intelligence he hides from the “normals”; Dog, who believes if he works hard and plays by the rules, he’ll get a fair shake; Goof, a funny kid with an upside-down face and an extraordinary capability that attracts the interest of the government; and Amy, a plague girl who is beautiful on the outside, allowing her to hide in plain sight. Readers seem to love Dog for his earnestness and hope.
On the “normal” side, the characters are more based on Southern Gothic small-town tropes, and while our story’s monsters are very human, many of these humans are very monstrous. You have Gaines, a small town loser in love with a girl half his age; Sheriff Burton, who sympathizes with the plague kids but oppresses them to preserve what he sees as the natural order; Jake, the preacher’s son who is also the small town rebel, and more.
The lives of all of these people intersect in multiple ways, sometimes with sympathy and understanding, other times with fear and violence, leading to an explosive conclusion.


Of all the books you've written, do you have a favourite?

I’d have to say One of Us, followed by Suffer the Children, a horror novel I wrote for Simon & Schuster (Gallery) back in 2014. That novel is about a plague that turns the world’s children into vampires who become dead unless given human blood, which turns him into the children they once were for a short time. The children are vampires, but the parents, willing to do anything to get blood and keep their children going, become the monsters, and they do it out of the purest love in the world. The question behind the novel is, “How far would you go for someone you love?”


What do you enjoy most about writing in the speculative fiction genre?

I love writing sci-fi, fantasy, and horror because you can take the familiar and put it in an unfamiliar situation, resulting in contrast that titillates and possibly reveals truth. I particularly love the possibility of writing original works that push boundaries and make readers reflect on a fundamental human trait.
That being said, my self-published work mostly consists of military fiction series. These books are just plain fun for me to write, and they’re quite popular on Amazon.


What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

Currently, I’m revising another novel for Orbit. This book is about a brother and sister forced to fight as child soldiers on opposite sides of a second American civil war. As with One of Us, I think it will be provocative and I hope inspire people to reflect. Readers can keep up with this and other projects at www.CraigDiLouie.com.



One of Us by Craig DiLouie



They call it the plague
A generation of children born with extreme genetic mutations.

They call it a home
But it's a place of neglect and forced labour.

They call him a Freak
But Dog is just a boy who wants to be treated as normal.

They call them dangerous
They might be right.

“This is not a kind book, or a gentle book, or a book that pulls its punches. But it’s a powerful book, and it will change you.” – Seanan McGuire, author of Every Heart a Doorway


Available at:





About the Author:

Craig DiLouie is an American-Canadian writer of speculative fiction. His works have been nominated for major literary awards, translated into multiple languages, and optioned for screen adaptation. He is a member of the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, International Thriller Writers, and Horror Writers Association. Learn more at www.CraigDiLouie.com.





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