Why write horror stories?
I have no idea why I write horror stories. All I know is that I write stories and people say they're horror. Sure, my stories may have a little blood and gore and weird creatures (most of them, human) in them, but that might just be incidental. I'm glad that people like them though, and that they keep some folks up at night. That's probably the best compliment I've gotten. [firstpara]
Where do you get your ideas from? Do you have personal experiences or are these simply products of an active imagination?
I get story ideas everywhere: books, TV, other people's stories. You hear the weirdest things from the most normal looking people. I was in the elevator of a posh Makati condo once and I overheard two women talking about how one of their children had bitten the stomach of another, drawing blood. The weird part is that this was all told in a casual, it happens everyday way.
One of my stories, "The Bridge" is taken from an urban legend that circulated in the '80s about the San Juanico Bridge. We Filipinos have a massive cultural imagination. That's where I get most of my stories from.
Do you still get scared?
Oh yeah. I'm duwag, actually. I still get scared in an unfamiliar darkened room. These days, what scares me most are real people. Truth is still stranger than fiction, so when you hear something that happened in real life, you automatically think, 'that could happen to anyone.' Last month, 'it' even happened to people I knew. That's scary, that a species that can be so compassionate can also be so evil.
Can you tell us something about your book, Waking The Dead?
Waking the Dead is my first book. It's a collection of short fiction from my years of writing, some of them dating back to the late '90s. Two of the stories have won Palanca Awards ("Kulog" and "Sidhi") and two others ("Stella for Star"" and The Bridge"), the Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards. One of the stories there, "Delivering the Goods," got me bad looks and a reputation as "that weird girl" in church, which persists to this day. Ironic, because horror fiction is actually closest to its dogma. I mean, have you read the Bible lately? That stuff can give you nightmares!
INTERVIEW: LOU E. ALBANO