From Soraya: Interview with Peter Straub

I am excited to introduce a personal friend, Soraya Murillo Hernandez, from Spain. Soraya speaks Spanish, and I only speak English, so our friendship has leaned heavily on technology and Google Translate.

When I was accepted for Borderlands Press Boot Camp, I mentioned to her that I was going to get to meet Peter Straub in person. She replied, via translation, “Oh yes, I interviewed him once.”

“THE Peter Straub?” I asked, also via translation. “Horror novelist and poet, winner of literary awards such as as the Bram Stoker Award, World Fantasy Award, and International Horror Guild Award?” “Oh yes, him.” she replied.

Turns out, my online Spanish friend ran a magazine for horror fiction in her past life and has interviewed some of the best and brightest names in the genre. She has graciously agreed to let me reprint some of her interviews here, all translated to English. ALL the credit for these amazing interviews goes to  Soraya Murillo Hernandez, along with my deep gratitude and appreciation for her generosity. You can find all Soraya’s interviews at From Soraya.

From  Soraya Murillo Hernandez: I am an early reader, I started reading very soon and I was interested in terror, I liked to look for monsters and ghosts in the stories. Then I knew that the greatest terror came from humans. I am a book reviewer in Spain, I do it free to help its authors to know their works.

Jan 8, 2016, Soraya Murillo Hernandez—Your first publishings were poems and poetry. Why did you change of genre and started writing horror? Is there a poet still inside of you?

Straub in 2009

Peter Straub—I still read a lot of poetry, but do not write it any more. I began writing fiction because I had long thought of myself as a novelist, and at the age of 23 feared that if I did not jump in might lose whatever capacity that justified this fantasy.

Three years later, I began writing horror because I wanted finally to make a bit of money. It seemed–now this sounds lunatic– the most literary of all the genres, the one with the deepest connections to literature. I liked that.

Soraya Murillo Hernandez—You are one of the most awarded writers. What did it mean for you? It was a motivation to keep on writing or you would have anyway?

Peter Straub—Awards are always very welcome. They amount to a validation from my basic community that my work stands up, that it, is worth reading. If I’d never won a single Stoker, though, I would certainly have kept writing. I’m not sure that Stoker Awards mean a great deal in the wider world.

Soraya Murillo Hernandez—Your novel Ghost Story is considered your best novel. It was told to be one of the best horror books of the century. Do you think it is your best work?

Peter Straub—The reception of Ghost Story was one of the least expected, most reassuring, and most transformative experienced I’ve ever had. I knew the book was good, that it was nicely structured and well-paced, and above all, that it has been deeply pleasurable to write.

I was absolutely certain that it was the best novel I had written to that point, and that it was going to do quite well in the market place. By that, I meant that it would probably make it possible for me to work for a other couple of years without worrying about money. What actually happened was way beyond my expectations. It still means a lot to me that so many people should have taken it to heart.

Soraya Murillo Hernandez—To me your best book was Koko, that madness settled on the mind of a Vietnam War veteran. Some of your stories, like Koko are interconnected. Is there a “Straub Universe”?

Peter Straub—But… With all that said, I still agree with you, and feel that KOKO is probably my best work. When it was done, I had yet to recognize that I was not at all finished with the emotional landscape I’d been examining.

That recognition arrived only when I admitted that I wished Tim Underhill to be involved in my next project–the recondition that I wasn’t through with him yet, that he still had things to teach me. Actually, that feeling was really strong.

Thank you, Soraya for letting me reprint this interview!

From Soraya, in Spanish: Soy una lectora precoz, comencé muy pronto a leer y me interese por el terror, me gustaba buscar monstruos y fantasmas en las historias. Luego supe que el mayor terror venia de los humanos . Soy reseñadora de libros en España, lo hago gratis para ayudar a sus autores a conocer sus obras.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith's work has been published in several print and online publications, including the “Horror Writers Association's Poetry Showcase” vols. 2-4, “Christmas Lites” vols. 1-6 and the “Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy” anthology. She has nearly 20 books of speculative fiction and poetry for adults, YAs and children. Her first collection of poetry, “In Favor of Pain,” was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award.
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One Response to From Soraya: Interview with Peter Straub

  1. Manuel Amaro says:

    Good interview!!!

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