Halloween Extravaganza: INTERVIEW: Andrew Robertson

Meghan: Welcome back, Andrew! It’s been awhile since we sat down together. What’s been going on since we last spoke?

Andrew Robertson: First, it’s great to be back, especially on your fresh, new, updated blog!

Since the last time we spoke, the anthology I edited, Dark Rainbow: Queer Erotic Horror was released by Riverdale Avenue Books and landed a #1 spot on a few of Amazon’s LGBTQ+ charts which was great to see. I also published a short story titled Her Royal Counsel in Colleen Anderson’s Alice Unbound anthology from Exile Editions and placed my story Sick is the New Black in the Pink Triangle Rhapsody anthology from Lycan Valley Press. That one launches Winter 2019 and contains horror, sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, and pulp mystery stories written exclusively by gay men. I fell in love with the characters in Sick is the New Black and have started a book-length version to further explore the dark and fashionable social media cult that their lives revolve around.

Also, with the holidays right around the corner, readers can pick up O Unholy Night in Deathlehem: An Anthology of Holiday Horrors for Charity from Grinning Skull Press that was published earlier this year. I have a creepy little tale in there called Jason’s Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, and all proceeds from the book go to benefit The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Meghan: Who are you outside of writing?

Andrew Robertson: That’s hard to answer. I feel like I’ve changed a lot in the past three years, but it’s been more about returning to someone I used to be before I started looking for what was already there. Sometimes we think we need to ‘grow up’ and develop a mature, adult identity by burying parts of ourselves that made us who we were in high school or university, but I’ve realized that those pieces weren’t temporary. So I put on some black nail polish, sat down to write horror stories without caring what anyone else thought, and got tattoos of Siouxsie Sioux and Lydia Lunch. It all felt right.

I guess I’m a bit introspective – I like exploring ideas and art and love new (and scary) experiences most of all. It always surprises people how easily scared I get but I like it a lot. My partner Dinis refuses to go to haunted houses with me because I push him in first. But I don’t even need the haunted house. I can even scare myself just by thinking. I was in a canoe on Lower Buckhorn Lake in Ontario and I envisioned a cold pale arm reaching out of the underwater reeds and that was it. I paddled for shore like an outboard motor.

Meghan: How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?

Andrew Robertson: I think that one is tricky for anyone that doesn’t write cozy thrillers. My very first piece of writing published in an anthology was called Not Just a Fuck, a hell of a title. Of course, I was really excited about it, especially because Margaret Atwood was in the same book, so I wanted to show my parents but my content was a bit… personal as you can imagine. I bit the bullet and showed them all the same. I figured they might as well get used to it because I have never been one to self-edit!

The other concern for many writers is your family or friends ‘seeing’ themselves in the characters or situations you write about. Sometimes I’ll use friend’s names in stories just to mess with them. That way, when they ask why ‘their’ character was killed off, you know that they actually read your work.

Meghan: Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Andrew Robertson: I think being able to tell a story is a gift, and if it means something to a reader, that is a perfect gift. The curse is writing the story.

Meghan: What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your books?

Andrew Robertson: I’ve researched Sokushinbutsu, or the self-mummifying practice of certain Buddhist monks, for Miira in Group Hex Vol 1. They enter mummification while they are still alive which was so horrifying to me that I had to write about it. That was when I learned about Portuguese sailors selling Egyptian mummies to the Japanese to turn into a powder that was believed to have curative powers.

I’m also currently researching a lot of diseases that have obvious and visible symptoms for a WIP. That makes me feel pretty itchy.

Meghan: Are you an avid reader?

Andrew Robertson: I have a giant stack of books to get through, and I usually have a few on the go at the same time. Sometimes it’s to try and grow or learn as a writer. For example, I will read a thriller to see how the author sets the pace. I really enjoy Shari Lapena’s work in that way. There are so many twists and turns that she stitches together, and we live in the same city so maybe one day I can tell her how much I enjoy her work in person!

I’ve just read Bedfellow by Jeremy C. Shipp and it was fantastic. The way he writes is so surreal you feel like you are losing your mind along with the family at the core of the tale, and the progression of the plot reveals a nefarious otherworldly gaslighting at its finest.

I’ve also recently finished Danger Slater’s I Will Rot Without You and the level of horrific imagination he displays while telling what is at its most basic level a love story with a total disregard for whether something needs to make sense is inspiring. I think it’s important for a writer to stop asking if something could happen and just make it happen.

Meghan: Have you ever killed a main character?

Andrew Robertson: Maybe. That’s all I’ll say.

Meghan: Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?

Andrew Robertson: As a huge fan of the Hellraiser films, my formative years were spent watching characters suffer. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?

Meghan: Where can we find you?

Andrew Robertson: I’m on Facebook and twitter for all your stalking needs.

Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview or the last?

Andrew Robertson: I just want to thank you for your passion in keeping this blog going, for supporting indie authors, and for helping spread the word about genre books. A few years ago I never would have thought that I would have work out by publishers I admire, alongside other writers I read and love, or that anyone would want to interview me never mind twice, so thanks for being a part of this crazy ride Meghan!

Meghan: Aww shucks! Thanks for all that! And you are truly welcome. It’s been wonderful meeting you and every other cool author I’ve met along the way. It more than makes up for the handful who have been… dramatic (and not in a good way) haha.

Andrew Robertson is an award-winning queer writer and journalist. He has published articles in Xtra!, fab magazine, ICON, Gasoline, Samaritan Magazine, neksis, and Shameless. His fiction has appeared in literary magazines and quarterlies such as Stitched Smile Publications Magazine Vol 1, Deadman’s Tome, Undertow, and katalogue and in anthologies including Alice Unbound: Beyond Wonderland, A Tribute Anthology to Deadworld, Group Hex Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and Pink Triangle Rhapsody from Lycan Valley Press. He is also the editor of Dark Rainbow: Queer Erotic Horror, a bestselling anthology from Riverdale Avenue Books. A lifelong fan of horror, he is the founder and co-host of The Great Lakes Horror Company Podcast, official podcast to Library of the Damned, and a member of the Horror Writer’s Association.

Pink Triangle Rhapsody – Coming Winter 2019

Alice Unbound: Beyond Wonderland

Lewis Carroll explored childlike wonder and the bewildering realm of adult rules and status, which clashed in bizarre ways. And although it seems we all know something about Alice and Wonderland, we—like Alice herself upon her first reading of Jabberwocky—find “It fills my head with ideas, but I don’t know what they are.” So as each new generation falls under Carroll’s word spells, each in turn must attempt to understand what Alice and Wonderland might mean in the context of their world and in their time.

This collection of twenty-first century speculative fiction stories is inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Hunting of the Snark, and to some degree, aspects of the life of the author, Charles Dodgson, and the real-life Alice (Liddell).

Enjoy our wild ride down into and back up out of the rabbit hole!

Preface by David Day

Authors: Patrick Bollivar, Mark Charke, Christine Daigle, Robert Dawson, Linda DeMeulemeester, Pat Flewwelling, Geoff Gander and Fiona Plunkett, Cait Gordon, Costi Gurgu, Kate Heartfield, Elizabeth Hosang, Nicole Iversen, J.Y.T. Kennedy, Danica Lorer, Catherine MacLeod, Bruce Meyer, Dominik Parisien, Alexandra Renwick, Andrew Robertson, Lisa Smedman, Sara C. Walker, James Wood

Dark Rainbow: Queer Erotic Horror

There has always been a special relationship between queer culture and horror. Horror is a genre about the ‘other’ and being a part of queer culture often comes with feelings of ‘otherness’ or being an outsider based on your desires…maybe you see a freak onscreen during a midnight madness screening and you think to yourself, Well, I feel like a freak too. Maybe the monster is just misunderstood…we all hunger for something, right?Dark Rainbow: Queer Erotic Horror is the first volume of a short fiction anthology series edited by award-wining queer writer and editor Andrew Robertson. Published under Riverdale Avenue Books’ Afraid imprint, it features many members of the Horror Writers Association along with writers from all over the world. Dark Rainbow contains 15 tales of dark appetites, hidden fantasies, sex and slashers including new work from Angel Leigh McCoy, Jeff C. Stevenson, Sèphera Girón, Julianne Snow, Derek Clendening, Spinster Eskie, Lindsay King-Miller and many more.

O Unholy Night in Deathlehem

Said the little child to his mother dear, 
do you hear what I hear 
Shrieking through the night, father dear, 
And do you see what I see 
A cry, a scream, blood coloring the snow 
And a laugh as evil as sin 
And a laugh as evil as sin 

Well, folks, looks like we’re back in Deathlehem, where…
Santa’s gift turns a mindless horde of bargain-hungry shoppers into…well… a horde of hungry shoppers… 
defective toys aren’t just dangerous; they’re deadly… 
holiday ornaments prove to be absolutely captivating—permanently… 
those ugly Christmas sweaters are to die for… 

Twenty-five more tales of holiday horror to benefit The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.