Today I am interviewing Gabriel Squailia, author of the new dystopian fantasy novel, Viscera.
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DJ: Hey Gabriel! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Gabriel Squailia: I’m the author of Dead Boys and Viscera, two dark and decidedly odd fantasy novels. I make a living as a dance-floor DJ in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, and I greatly enjoy naps.
DJ: What is Viscera about?
Gabriel: It’s a brutal swords-and-sorcery fantasy with a twisted sense of humor. It’s a quest for vengeance that gets tangled up in the intestines of a number of strangers. And it’s about our deepest selves and the thorny paths they travel while they’re emerging.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Viscera?
Gabriel: Most obvious are the fantasy influences, from China Miéville’s Bas-Lag novels to GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire. (I also took a lot of cues from Jack Vance and Dungeons and Dragons on this front.) But the secret source of this novel was Rebecca Solnit’s A Paradise Built in Hell, a brilliant nonfiction book that argues that people are often at their noblest and most utopian in the midst of great catastrophes. So many of our tales of war, disaster, and dystopia present humanity as being perpetually on the verge of regression into animal chaos, and I think this is a lie we’ve swallowed too long. So I wanted to write a story that shows the hope on the other side of tragedy—which meant dragging my characters through the muck first.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers will sympathize with them?
Gabriel: Everything after the first few pages constitutes a spoiler, so I’ll stick with the first characters we meet. Rafe Davin has recently joined a Fortune-worshiping cult of gamblers called the Assemblage, and he’s following his Ace, Jassa Lowroller, through the woods outside of Eth. The two of them are decidedly Up to No Good, but Rafe is struggling with all of it—the bizarre tenets of the cult, the existence of Fortune, and the radical changes in his life that led him here—and that makes him very compelling to me. Mostly because I think too much, too, and spend a good deal of my life doing things I’m constantly questioning. Continue reading