interview by Joe Vaz

From Issue 14 (Oct 2011)

Where is home?
I used to think South Africa, where I was born. After eight years in New Zealand, I started thinking that maybe this was my home now. Anyone who has lived in different countries for extended periods will tell you what a weird space it is to occupy. These days I just tend to think that “home” is wherever I happen to be.

Are you a full-time writer?
No. I am writing a Masters thesis in literature, so most of my time is divided between that and fiction writing.

What inspired this story?
My fascination with the occult, coupled with the time period and a healthy dose of Lovecraftianism. My thesis is on Lovecraft and Poe; reading those two on a daily basis will supply a plethora of interesting ideas.

There’s a very definite “Heart of Darkness” feel to this, did you draw on Conrad’s book at all, or were you just capturing the feeling of the era?
As a literature major, I am going to say something that will have many gasp in horror: I have never actually read any Conrad. I was aware of writing in that tradition while working on the story, but I think it was more a focus on the era, and of combining the unknown with a world that was by then firmly rooted in scientific discovery.

Was anything in the story inspired by personal experience?
Happily, no.

What inspired the setting?
Well, for all my claims about being homeless, admittedly, Africa is in my blood. I have never been as far up north as the explorers of my story, but it is something I would love to do. I think writers write not only to entertain others, but to take themselves away from the ordinary as well.

Are you working on anything right now?
I am working on a speculative novel, the first in a planned series. It is set in a very strange city with ten rings, each of which is completely different from the other. It is a book about magic and science, the differences between them, and how they are in many ways very similar.

Where can we find more of your work?I recently contributed a story to Tales for Canterbury, a relief anthology in aid of the recent Christchurch earthquakes in New Zealand ( I have also contributed fiction to Jabberwocky Magazine (#3), H.P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror (#3), and have an upcoming story in Fantastique Unfettered (#4).

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Joe Vaz

Joe Vaz is the founder and editor of Something Wicked, which occasionally affords him the honour and good fortune to hang out with really cool people.
In his other life he is a film and television actor who gets small parts in big movies, most recently in Dredd 3D, due to be released in September 2012.
He was recently hugged by John Hurt.

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