When I was younger, my parents always knew I was reading the Craters in the Heart series because whenever I finished one of In’cizor Ironcold’s books all my musical compositions would feel like the soundtrack for a blood-splattered budget flick for a solid two months following. Eventually good ‘ol mum and dad insisted I read one “educational” book for each of In’cizor’s gothic masterpieces.
Needless to say, my reading rate drastically improved (except during the height of band season, in which case I read musical notes and not much else . . . ) after they passed that rule. I would burn through classics like crazy to earn In’cizor novels because I craved that feeling that In’cizor’s fans know so well: the terror mixed with just the tiniest sliver of hope, like a crescent moon on the darkest of nights. The books taught me to face my fears, that every monster is worth fighting, and while the nightmares can be terrifying, there is a dignity in facing them strait on.
So when C’therax told me my first assignment as Culture Editor for The Martian Muckraker was to interview In’cizor, and that the Muckraker was going to be the first to release her (yes it’s a HER) real name, I was overjoyed.
But I must admit, In’cizor was a lot smaller, and pinker than I expected. Here is our interview.
Terbble: . . .
In’cizor: Not what you expected?
Trebble: . . . Nope.
In’cizor: Hahahahaha. I love the looks on people’s faces when they realize their worst nightmares were dreamt up by a 2 and a half foot Cuddilian. People assume that because I write horror I must always work in darkness and have pale skin . . . but I’m not scary in my everyday life. I even collect teddy bears.
Trebble: The earthling stuffed animal phenomena?
In’cizor: Yep. They’re so huggable. And when my own writing scares me, it helps to hug one. They are also good for crying in when I have to kill off one of my best characters.
Trebble: About that. YOU KILL ALL YOUR BEST CHARACTERS.
In’cizor: [Sniff] It truly is the hardest part of the job . . .
Trebble: Hard for you?!? What do you think it’s like for us? I had to perform Venus Symphony of Joythe day after you killed of Coduk in Moons of an Eldritch Madness!
In’cizor: But would the monsters still scare you if you knew your favorite characters are safe?
Trebble: True . . . but you enjoy this, don’t you?
In’cizor: Fine . . . I admit it . . . yes I enjoy making my readers suffer . . . a little bit. You must understand that I am small and weak, even for a Cuddilian. In fact for most of my childhood I was sick and wasn’t able to play outside with other kids. The emotional power of my stories . . . it’s the one power I really have. But with it comes a responsibility.
Trebble: What do you mean?
In’cizor: I feel there is a bargain a good horror author makes with a reader. You scare your reader. You emotionally torture your reader. Sometimes you subject your reader to a shameless gross-out. But if you do these things, you have to give them something in return. Something that makes them stronger. Perhaps a new way of seeing a contemporary issue. A renewed confidence that in the long fight, good will defeat evil, even if good takes some devastating losses along the way. Perhaps a new way of understating what causes their fears. If you don’t give your reader something in exchange for their terror . . . then I feel you’re not an artist, you’re just a hack.
Trebble: Why did you start writing horror?
In’cizor: Well during my childhood sicknesses, I started developing strong anxiety. My mother encouraged me to draw my fears as monsters, so I took a set of colored comet dust and made the pictures and showed them to my mother. Then my mother told me to add to the pictures an image of me riding them, like how the Martian Lancers of old rode their Crater Wolves. And so I did, and in doing that I felt a little less afraid. So, I kept drawing monsters. Soon, I started writing stories to deal with my fears.
Trebble: [sniffs and gets emotional] Art really can be powerful. Well its almost time for you to go to your book signing for the staff here at the Martian Muckraker. So I guess it’s time for the big reveal…In’cizor is your pen name, what is your real name?
Trebble: . . .
In’cizor: You see why my editor said I must use a pen name.
By Culture Editor Trebble
Background Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash