Today I am interviewing Craig DiLouie, author of the new dark fantasy novel, One of Us.
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DJ: Hi Craig! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
Craig DiLouie: I’m very happy to be here!
DJ: For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Craig: I’m what’s called a hybrid author, meaning I publish through traditional publishers, usually big standalone novels, while also self-publishing, typically pulpy series of dime novels. I’m prolific as to genre, playing with dark fantasy, horror, apocalyptic, and military historical fiction. What I think my signature is for these very different works is putting ordinary people you care about in extraordinary situations, and putting fantastic elements–whether it be monsters, what have you–in a very realistic, gritty world. Otherwise, I was born in America, live in Canada, and I’m a proud dad of two wunderkinds.
DJ: What is One of Us about?
Craig: One of Us is a dark fantasy novel about about a disease that results in a generation of monsters who are now growing up in poverty-stricken and abusive orphanages in the rural South. As they come of age, they must find a way to fit in–or fight for what’s theirs. Author Claire North called it “The Girl with All the Gifts meets To Kill a Mockingbird,” which I think nails it.
DJ: What were some of your influences for One of Us?
Craig: I wanted to write a novel about prejudice in all its forms–societal, institutional, and individual–while taking it to its extreme. What if humanity produced a generation of frightening monsters who had the hearts and minds of children? What if these children achieved extraordinary powers as they grew up–would we admire or fear them even more? If Spider-Man half looked like a real spider, would he still be a hero? If Superman had horns and a tail?
My goal wasn’t to preach or offer a single solution but instead entice readers to experience the topic in their gut and reflect on what they felt. In its basic concept, the story is reminiscent of The Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men. Otherwise, the story screamed for a Southern Gothic treatment, with influences ranging from Carson McCullers to Cormac McCarthy. Violent and over the top, the Southern Gothic lit tradition often features a society in decay, taboo, the grotesque, prejudice, and larger than life characters. In my view, combining monster fantasy and Southern Gothic wasn’t a mashup but a natural fit. Continue reading