Journal

Negative Space Author Q&A: Maggie Slater (hey! it’s me!), “Rhapsody in Flesh Minor”

This is part of a series of interviews with contributors to Negative Space: An Anthology of Survival Horror from Dark Peninsula Press. Check back here over the next few weeks as I post more of these so you can get to know these great authors and get a little taste of this awesome collection! Negative Space: An Anthology of Survival Horror is available in paperback and ebook format!

Q: Tell us about your story in the Negative Space anthology.

A: “Rhapsody in Flesh Minor” is a futuristic tale of an introverted artist whose hermitage upon his private space station is interrupted by a multi-limbed alien intent on absorbing him. If only he could get from the safety of his sealed sleeping pod to his studio and adjoining garden, he’d be set, but the alien isn’t about to let him get away that easily.

Q: What work (fiction, video game, movie, TV show) of survival horror would you recommend as a gateway to the genre?

A: For me, the gateway was Shaun of the Dead followed in swift succession by Resident Evil 4 (still my absolute favorite Gamecube game of all time). When I was in fifth grade, I went to a friend’s halloween party where we watched Return of the Living Dead. Now, I was a huge coward when it came to movies (seriously, E.T. scared the crap out of me). I suffered from vivid nightmares, and because of this, my parents didn’t allow me to watch films that weren’t G or PG, which I was 100% okay with. So that was my first introduction to zombie movies (I do not recommend trying that with your fifth grader unless you like being awoken several times a night by shrieks of terror).

It took me years to work up the courage to watch even The Sixth Sense or Jurassic Park after that, and I didn’t even consider touching a zombie flick until Shaun, which looked just funny enough to manage, and boy! Did that start a love affair with survival horror! I went on to watch just about every horror flick I could take in. I recently watched The Thing, and a few years ago even re-watched Return of the Living Dead, which is actually a fantastic (and hilarious!) horror flick once you’re old enough to handle it. I fell hard for the Resident Evil franchise, and have played through RE4 more times than I can count. I was even an assistant editor with Apex Book Company’s The Zombie Feed spin-off publishing house for a while, and have written quite a bit of zombie fiction myself. So if you’re a little nervous about how to engage with a seriously fun genre, start with Shaun of the Dead and then fine-tune your own zombie-killing skills with Resident Evil. You’ll be glad you did!

Q: The zombies are coming for real this time, and the outbreak is getting closer. What’s your survival game plan?

A: Honestly, none. Once you have small children, you realize very quickly that as a mom there is no chance in hell you’re going to survive. Children are the first-wave assault for germs, which means they will get whatever it is, and they will cough/sneeze/bite you at the first opportunity. What’s more, you honestly won’t be able to help yourself going to them if they’re crying for you, even if they’re covered head-to-toe in your neighbor’s brains.

Q: What writing project are you currently working on?

A: I had Boy #2 in January this year, and the pandemic has Boy #1 at home (and apparently homeschooling?), so getting my work done—as you can imagine—is a little strained. That said, I’ve taken a note from Ursula K. Le Guin and am focusing on novel-length fiction, as that’s surprisingly easier to pick up and put down when a nap either doesn’t last long or blessedly runs on for hours.

Q: Where can readers find out more about you and your works?

A: I maintain a casual blog (here!) at maggiedot.wordpress.com, where I wax philosophic about the process of writing, poly-reading, publishing, craft beer, art, and the frustrations, delights, and general complexity of arting while also mothering.

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