Interview with Silvia Moreno-Garcia (SILVER NITRATE)
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of several novels, including Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow and The Daughter of Doctor Moreau. She has also edited a number of anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu’s Daughters). Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination.
Welcome to the Hive, Silvia. Congratulations on your latest release, Silver Nitrate. Can you tell our readers a little about it? What can they expect?
Silver Nitrate is a supernatural suspense novel set in Mexico City in 1993. Two life-long friends stumble upon an obscure film that might be cursed.
What inspired you to write a dark fantastical thriller about a cursed horror film?
I was reading a book on early 20th century French occultists and stumbled upon the name of a German occultist who made his way to Mexico City. I had long wanted to do a novel with a film element and the occultism angle gelled well with some of my other ideas.
Do you enjoy watching horror films? If so, are there favourites you’d like to recommend?
There is a wide spectrum of horror and I’ve watched a lot of it. I gravitate towards films that are more suspenseful rather than graphic. For example, the first adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House .
Now let’s discuss your characters. Can you tell us a little more about Montserrat? How important was it to you to represent a female working in the male dominated film industry during the 90s?
My mother didn’t work in film, but she worked in radio as an announcer and journalist. All the sound editors I ever met were men. But my mother had a great ear and whenever anyone needed help with a delicate edit, she’d be called in. She’d do the edit for the guys and never get the credit.
And Tristán? What inspired his personality?
He’s supposed to be a little bit like the screaming ladies in the cover of old movie posters. You know, there will be a movie called something like ‘Attack of the Killer Rabbit’ and there will be a beautiful young woman who is screaming in terror. Tristan is also the rational person. He doesn’t want to split up and search the dark house. He serves as a foil to Montserrat.
Silver Nitrate features Nazi occultism as a source of horror. You did your Masters thesis on eugenic thoughts in the work of H. P. Lovecraft. Do you see horror as a particularly effective medium for exploring real-life horrors like fascism and racism?
I don’t think there is something that inherently makes horror better or worse for exploring certain topics. It’s often been perceived as a minor genre, but some of the books and films we consider classics and cultural touchstones are horror. Sometimes the fantastical can express reality better than any documentary-type approach. Either because real life is already outrageous and fantastical, or because it allows you to zoom in on a detail or perceive it differently.
We see such varying opinions from authors when it comes to the time of editing their books. How have you found the editing process? Enjoyable, stressful or satisfying?
It’s just part of the process.
One of our favourite questions here on the Fantasy Hive: which fantastical creature would you ride into battle and why?
What’s next for you Silvia? Have you any upcoming projects which you can share?
The Seventh Veil of Salome will be released in 2024. It’s a historical novel revolving around the making of a sword-and-sandals movie in 1950s Hollywood.
Finally, what is the one thing you hope readers take away from your writing?
My work is not confined to one category and I’m constantly switching lanes.
Thank you so much for joining us today!
Silver Nitrate is out now from Quercus Publishing. You can order your copy on Bookshop.org