Joe Sullivan: In the last year or so, I began listening to your Cursed Morsels podcast, checked out an anthology you edited: ProleSCARYet, and have read a few of your stories. Usually when I come across a writer who’s putting out quality work there’s more to their artistic history that I can catch up on–but you really seem to have emerged on the spec fic scene at some point in 2020. If I were to guess, I’d probably say you’ve been published elsewhere under a different name. Luckily, this is an interview and I don’t have to guess. So, Eric, what can you reveal about your interest in horror and how you began putting your dark fic out into the world?
Eric Raglin: You’re absolutely right about me joining the spec fic scene fairly recently. Before the pandemic began, I’d been writing horror and poetry off and on for several years (inspired by Livia Llewellyn, Carmen Maria Machado, and John Ajvide Lindqvist primarily), but I’d never submitted anything for publication. It was June of last year when I attended one of Gabino Iglesias’s workshops, and that experience inspired me to actually send work out into the world and start talking to people in the horror lit community. Now, with a few pieces published and plenty of new friends, I’m so glad I made that decision.
You seem at ease with switching between narratorial voices and viewpoints from story to story i.e. man, woman, ambiguous, LGBTQ. This is fairly uncommon, as writers worry themselves over the authenticity of it all and don’t like the extra criticism it may bring. I’m really curious at what your process might be for choosing your narratorial focus. How do you choose which viewpoint best serves the story?
Writing provides an opportunity to explore new worlds and perspectives. I’d get bored if I wrote solely from the perspective of someone like me (i.e., white, male, bisexual, cisgender, etc.) That said, when I write from a perspective other than my own, I do my research and try to be mindful of stereotypes. I also make sure to give my characters flaws and complexities, regardless of their identities. It’s important that I not flatten out, sanitize, or caricature a character’s experience. As far as how I choose a narratorial focus for a story, I take time to consider which perspective would be most interesting, powerful, and fitting for the individual story’s needs.
Your debut collection Nightmare Yearnings is set for release in September, and it has been blurbed by some really fantastic writers. If someone reads it front to back, what do you hope they take away from the book as a whole?
I hope readers come away from the book with exhilarating disorientation, a troubled night’s sleep, and a mobilizing anger against the injustices of capitalism.
I think most who know your work, or at least know of you, are familiar with your interest in anti-capitalist, antifascist, and LGBTQ themes. What other themes are you interested in exploring through your writing?
One theme I come back to repeatedly is ecological destruction. Climate change is a collective trauma that we must process and confront however we can. One way in which I do that is through writing eco-horror.
What do you hope to do in your writing career after Nightmare Yearnings? Longer works? More short stories?
I’ve just finished my second weird horror collection Extinction Hymns, which I intend to submit to small presses over the next few months. Beyond that, I have a novella in my sights, but it’s too early to comment on what it might become. All I know is that short stories come much more naturally to me than longer fiction. Hopefully I can learn to write both.
Eric Raglin (he/him) is a Nebraskan speculative fiction writer, horror literature teacher, and podcaster for Cursed Morsels. He frequently writes about queer issues, the terrors of capitalism, and body horror. His work has been published in Novel Noctule, Dread Stone Press, and Hyphen Punk. His debut short story collection is Nightmare Yearnings. He is the co-editor of ProleSCARYet: Tales of Horror and Class Warfare. Find him at ericraglin.com or on Twitter @ericraglin1992.