Micro-interview: James S. Dorr

Candle in the Attic Window, an anthology of Gothic horror, is the latest release from Innsmouth Free Press. We are interviewing some of the book’s contributors. Today James S. Dorr talks about his story, “The Victorians”.

What makes your story Gothic?

“Gloom, mystery, and the grotesque” – this, by memory, is part of a definition of Gothic Literature I once ran across. There are other things, too, of course. As for “Victorians”, the elements present include repressed memories and, if not a curse, at least a family “disposition” played out against an old (if not “ancient”) High Victorian home. I rather like spooks in my Gothic fare, too, although this story, deliberately, takes a psychological as opposed to a supernatural, approach.

What was the source of inspiration for your story?

This one is easy and actually quite mundane. A friend of mine sent me some photos, both inside and outside, of a Queen Anne house her parents owned in Iowa. This gave me an idea for a setting, the home in a fairly isolated Midwestern location (a place where it would stand out as being different from prevailing architecture), combined with a riff on the (probably unfair) notion of Victorian “hypocrisy”.

What are your favourite Gothic movies and books?

In books, The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, though there’s relatively little of the supernatural, as such, but some stories, like “Ligeia”, go into metaphysical concepts that, from today’s perspective, come close to the same thing. For film, I’ll expand the concept a bit and say: anything with a vampire in it that treats its subject with some respect (the original Nosferatu, Bela Lugosi in Dracula, Gloria Holden’s Dracula’s Daughter, but anything “sparkly” need not apply), although there are no vampires in “Victorians”. I do, however, have a book of vampire poetry, Vamps (A Retrospective), that has just come out from Sam’s Dot Publishing.

If you were the star of a Gothic TV show, what would your character be like? Would you be good or evil?

Keeping to the vampire theme, perhaps I might be in a show about having a date with Le Fanu’s Carmilla. As long as I wore a stiff, high collar (The lady has a title, so formal dress would be de rigueur), she wouldn’t eat much and, for the second part, I would be good-but-susceptible to temptation.

Bio: James Dorr has published two collections with Dark Regions Press, Strange Mistresses: Tales of Wonder and Romance and Darker Loves: Tales of Mystery and Regret, and has a book of poetry about vampirism, Vamps (A Retrospective), coming this year from Sam’s Dot Publishing. Other work has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, New Mystery, Science Fiction Review, Fantastic, Dark Wisdom, Gothic.Net, ChiZine, Enigmatic Tales (UK), Faeries (France), and numerous anthologies. Dorr is an active member of SFWA and HWA, an Anthony and Darrell finalist, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and a multi-time listee in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Up-to-date information on Dorr is at: http://jamesdorrwriter.wordpress.com.