#NanoInterview: Shannon Giglio

DD: Thanks for plugging in, Shannon! You've written some wonderfully weird and original stuff including Short Bus Hero, which I loved. Tell us about your latest, Antichrist Supertaster.

SG: Hi, Dave! Thanks for having me. Yeah, you loved Short Bus Hero? That’s awesome, thank you! That book was pretty weird, I guess. The best thing about it? A lot of my horror friends told me that it made them cry. It made me so happy to hear that. How do you follow that? Well, you take a really long break, during which you sign with a big agent and do some networking with Hollywood players, and after that, you write another weird book with a catchy title. Antichrist Supertaster is the story of a kid tasked with saving his brother from a post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C. concentration camp and showing him that there’s still good left in the world. After a short stay with their cannibalistic grandmother in Manassas, the young travelers get picked up by a cult made up of anachronistic personalities who become convinced that the main character’s epilepsy is a clear sign that the teen is none other than the Antichrist. All hell breaks loose when one of the cult members figures out who the kids’ dad is, forcing our hero to make some tough choices. It’s kind of like The Road meets American Gods meets a They Might Be Giants song. There’s magic, despair, hope, poison candy, the resurrection and reconfiguration of the American dream, and an interpretation of the meaning of life.

DD: What does your writing space look like? Are there any rituals or habits you have to indulge before you write?

SG: My writing space…there are always a lot of coffee mugs, empty or mostly-empty soda cans, candy wrappers, and unopened mail hanging around. Sometimes, something in the clutter will give me an idea or help me solve a problem (usually not, but it’s happened). I don’t have any rituals or habits, but I do have this cheap Halloween costume hockey mask that I wear on my most productive days. It’s a little superstitious, I guess. 

DD: Do dreams ever influence your work? Do you keep track of dreams?

SG: Either I am not lucky enough to dream or I just don’t remember any of my dreams. It’s probably the latter – I forget everything (how long did it take me to get back to you on these questions?). Since I’m dream-deficient, I have to rely on reality and conscious imagination. 

DD: Do you write to music?

SG: Sometimes I have music on while I’m writing. It’s usually Death Cab for Cutie or Frightened Rabbit or some ‘80s band like The Smiths or The Cure. Lately, though, I’ve been pretty deeply depressed, and when I’m depressed, I don’t listen to music (not even depressing music)—everything seems too loud or distracting. I used to make playlists for writing, and I hope to go back to that practice someday, but, right now, I write in silence, or with cable news on in the background, or Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. I definitely write better with music.

DD: On the zombie front, is there anything you'd like to see more (or less) of in the genre?

SG: With The Walking Dead’s popularity and all the zombie books I read a few years ago, I’m kind of on a zombie hiatus. My main character in Antichrist Supertaster does bring a few beings back to life, with not-so-good results, so I’m not totally dissing zombie culture, but I’m not writing typical zombie stuff. My favorite zombie story is Scott Browne’s Breathers – it’s funny, but it’s sad, too. I’d say I like a little comedy and melancholy with my zombies, but it has to be done well. It’s a difficult thing to pull off because most of the comedy I’ve seen mixed into the horror genre just doesn’t work for me – it’s cheesy and cliché, and I don’t like that. If I had to read a zombie book, I guess I’d like to see more dry wit, and a newly minted zombie’s wonder at “WTF am I, what’s going on, I’m fucking starving—I eat what now? How in the hell am I going to get a brain?!” Maybe like an Interview With the Vampire or The Vampire Lestat, only with zombies. Maybe I’ll write that (there’s probably a book like that already out there that I don’t know about—I haven’t been keeping up with the zombies as much as I should).

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