I have been a fan of Michael Rowe’s work for some time, and was really pleased that he was willing to take some time to do an interview with me so shortly after the publication of his recent novel Wild Fell. Rowe is an accomplished journalist and horror author.
Check out our upcoming interview on Wednesday, December 18th
In our upcoming interview, Michael Rowe discusses the switch from non-fiction to fiction writing, the power of horror, the use of ordinary people in horror, small town culture, the history of residential schools in Canada, the impact of social repression, the issue with the use of LGBTQ characters for shock value, homophobia in horror, LGBTQ2 literature, the tremendous appeal of ghost stories, changes in the figure of the vampire over time, horror and loss, and the gothic potential of the Northern landscape.
Here are a few highlights from our interview:
Michael Rowe: “The body is our first haunted house. We live in it. We haunt it. We are literally our own ghosts.”
Michael Rowe: “I think what horror and indeed most speculative fiction does is enable the writer to shift and bend the boundaries of the narrative to reveal more texture and subtext about otherness and the outsider experience.”
Michael Rowe: “Much of horror is often about bad things happening to ordinary people, which, by definition, negates the notion of any intrinsic “otherness” unless the story is being told from the perspective of an entity that is extraordinary.”
Michael Rowe: “Everything happens in small towns. I was and am entranced at the way the currents and counter-currents that bind people in small towns can be both beautiful and horrifying.”
Michael Rowe: “The metaphors just write themselves. That’s what vampires do. They drain you of blood and turn you into something else.”
Michael Rowe: “The residential school system in Canada, run by churches, is a stain on our national identity that shames me, on a deep level, as a Canadian. The collusion between the churches and the Canadian government that yielded that system is the very definition of vampirism to me.”
Michael Rowe: “Repression and suppression do two things: they isolate, and they create monsters. The isolation weakens the victim and makes them vulnerable, and hides any number of horrors behind a façade of propriety. Repression also bottles up rage and God knows what else which, when unleashed, is often devastating. You could write reams about the parallels between the way society makes monsters, and the way it makes monsters out of those who are already vulnerable and marginalized.”
Michael Rowe: The notion of the vampire as a gothic lover has never really resonated with me, and that appears to still be the dominant current image. I like my vampires terrifying, and only seductive in the service of his vampirism, like Christopher Lee at the top of the winding stone staircase in Horror of Dracula.
Michael Rowe: “Queer Fear was the first-ever gay horror anthology. We didn’t want it to be erotica, we wanted it to be horror stories where LGBTQ identity was a given, not something injected for shock value.”
Michael Rowe: “So many of us started life as observers and outsiders, not necessarily in the mainstream. I know that informs a lot of my own work.”
Michael Rowe: “I think many people would like to believe the sprits of the dead could haunt them, but actually don’t believe it. Ghost stories are that marvellous spaces in between, where readers can enjoy the thrill of seeing in happen to someone else without paying the price themselves.”
Michael Rowe: “What horror allows both the reader and the writer to do is to explore both darkness and redemption by staring both in the face and naming them for what they are. When the narrative boundaries are as flexible and permeable as they are in horror fiction, the ways to tell those stories, to examine the human condition, increases exponentially.”
Michael Rowe: “Forced loss informs a great deal of my fiction—loss of innocence, loss of sanity, loss of beloved friends and relatives, loss of lovers.”
Tune in on Wednesday, December 18th to read out interview. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read Mr. Rowe’s work, you can check out his website at http://www.michaelrowe.com/ . If you have a chance, you can check out reviews of some of Mr. Rowe’s novels at https://speculatingcanada.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/shattered-glass/ and https://speculatingcanada.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/postcolonial-vampirism-consuming-resources/
Enjoy some delightful winter chills.