–April 24, 2016: io9: I’ve been a fan of horror and studying it for as long as I can remember. The use of all the horror references and critiques in A Head Full of Ghosts has an important role in the book, but I have to admit, it was fun getting to geek out like that and present my graduate7 thesis on horror. So in one sense the book is a weird combination of love letter to horror and a fist-shaking at the famously reactionary politics of much of it8.
–January 13, 2016: Wall Street Journal Speakeasy Blog: It’s my hope that the book (Disappearance at Devil’s Rock) is emotionally realistic, insofar as what Tommy’s mother, sister, and friends would be going through. It’s a book about their grief, and grappling with the lack of answers. It’s about a mother and daughter trying to hold it all together even as their own relationship crumbles under the strain. It’s also a book about Tommy and his two friends, and the entwinement of nascent masculinity and violence. I hope readers are pleasantly unsure of what’s happening until they’re not unsure, and yeah, I hope readers are creeped out, too.
–November 5, 2105: Unwinnable: “Some of that, honestly, is my own internal battle with realism,” says Tremblay. “A girl can’t be really possessed, right? There’s no such thing as giant sea monsters, yeah? So keeping the question of is-this-really-a-supernatural-event-or-something-else alive satisfies that annoying ‘but-Paul’ voice in my head. Working with that initial unsureness helps put the reader on unsure footing, too. The real horror of that story (I hope) is what has happened to SWIM, what her life has become and what she’s going to do.”
–June 6, 2015: Electric Literature: Horror is still stigmatized by many. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, horror (or any other genre) is not inherently inferior. You still see articles crop up, usually once or twice a year with hey-is-genre-lit-innately-sucky? To wit [this] recent Guardian click-hole piece. Or Glen Duncan’s obnoxious review of Colston Whitehead’s excellentZone One. Quoting Duncan’s first line: “Colson Whitehead is a literary novelist, but his latest book, ‘Zone One,’ features zombies, which means horror fans and gore gourmands will soon have him on their radar. He has my sympathy.” Ironically, this last sentence applies to anyone who has read Duncan’s unfortunate and misogynist sequel to his excellent The Last Werewolf. But I digress…
–June 2, 2015: LitReactor: I keep a bunch of little notebooks. Emphasis on bunch. Six or seven maybe? I shed them like dead skin (ew…) so that I find them randomly around the house and/or in the hidden crags and crannies of my school bag. In those notebooks I jot down ideas, work out scenes or loose outlines, character sketches, brainstorm, write mini-manifestos. When it comes to actually writing the book/story, I work on a computer. I wish I could write longhand but I can’t. My penmanship is too messy (apologies to all my elementary school teachers) and I make too many mistakes to write by hand. I’m lost without a mouse and the delete button. None of that trackpad bullshit either, and ‘hell no’ to whatever you call the little button-mouse thingies in the middle of a laptop keyboard that are the size of a pinhead. Not the Cenobite. Might as well call it the random-stuff-will-happen-that-you-don’t-want-to-happen-when-you-fumble-at-it-fecklessly button.
–February 13, 2015: This Is Horror: The amount of planning and research has depended on the book or story. For The Little Sleep I wrote a detailed ten page outline/summary of the plot while I also read a ton of classic noir novels and books on Raymond Chandler. For A Head Full of Ghosts, the writing was more free-flowing. I didn’t write a plot summary and only jotted down ideas and thoughts in a pocket black notebook. Going into that novel I knew where it would end16 and I knew it had to have a three part structure. Other than that, I dove in head first. As far as research goes for the Ghosts novel, if a lifetime of horror movie watching and book reading counts as research, then so be it.
The Little Sleep related interviews:
–February 23, 2010: The Boston Globe: Tremblay says that Boston kindles his imagination as a writer because it offers “this odd mix of quaint and big city that I think is compelling,’’ adding: “When you throw into it the massive history – from the Revolution to busing – you can feel the weight that Boston has.’’
–February 2, 2010: HTML Giant (with Nick Antosca): And once, during an overnight sleep study in a hospital, with electrodes and the like hooked up to my head and chest, I dreamt that squirrels were coming out of the walls and attacking me. I held my ground though, because in my dreams, I’m a hero.
–January 24, 2010: The Big Adios (with Tom Piccirilli): Genre-mixing or hopping reflects my own personal tastes as both a writer and a reader. I got my fiction writing start with horror/SF short stories, so I’ve always been drawn to stuff that’s dark but also just a little bit off or strange. I’ve told people—somewhat tongue-in-cheek—that I wrote a mystery novel with a horror attitude, by which I mean that reality wasn’t reality and anything could happen at any time and the reader wouldn’t ever be or feel safe. Which, I know, is kind of bullshit. That ‘not-safe’ description could just as easily be a descriptor of noir fiction, or any fiction for that matter. So…
–May 10, 2009. Punktalk (the blog of author Jeffrey Thomas): There’s a good word: rearranged. Each day for Mark is a rearrangement of what he knows about himself and the world around him.
–April 5, 2009. Bookslut (with Geoffrey H. Goodwin): The idea of writing a PI novel — a genre that celebrates order and the lucid piecing together of clues to ultimately reveal truths and black-and-white conclusions — that blurs the lines of reality and embraces ambiguity appealed to me. I started with Mark Genevich being the anti-private dick: not calm-cool-collected, not handsome, and not at all well-suited for his choice of career (and does he really even have a career?). As the novel progressed, I think Mark and his narcolepsy became much more complex, and hopefully, more compelling.
–March 27, 2009. Fear Zone (with Nick Kaufmann): I have no personal experience with narcolepsy, but during the mid-to-late 90s I actually suffered from a sleep disorder: sleep apnea. There was a solid two-to-three year stretch when I never really got a good night’s sleep because I would stop breathing, and then would wake up, gasping for breath. Not fun.
–September 15, 2008. Diet Soap Interview (with Doug Lain) : Okay, fine, last words: “If it matters, if you care about such things, I didn’t try to hurt anyone on purpose.”
–May 27, 2008. Interviewed by Charles Tan: I wish I was a basketball pro. I can shoot very well; but I’m short on strength, quickness, and all around athleticism.