Micro-interview: Nick Mamatas

Nick Mamatas’ flash piece “And Then, And Then, And Then …” appears in the Summer 2009 fiction issue of Innsmouth Free Press.

He is the author of two novels, the Lovecraftian Move Under Ground and the satirical Under My Roof. His short fiction has appeared in subTERRAIN, Poe’s Lighthouse, Lovecraft Unbound, and many other journals, magazines and anthologies. Much of his short fiction was recently collected in You Might Sleep… A native New Yorker, Nick now lives in the California Bay Area, but misses Boston and the North Shore more than he thought he would.

How did you become interested in writing Mythos/Lovecraftian stories?

Well, from reading them, of course.  And that came from the once shocking but not fairly common method of stumbling upon Lovecraft from tertiary sources. For me, the early edition of the Deities and Demigods handbook for Dungeons and Dragons was the first time I’d come across Lovecraftian stuff as a child, and some time later I realized that this might have been a big deal when I saw an episode of the Ghosbusters cartoon called “Collect Call of Cathulhu” (sic)

I also have an interest in cult fiction generally, so when I began to understand that Lovecraft was a cult figure, I got more involved with a close reading of his stuff, letters, biography etc. I decided I’d give it a whirl in 2002 when I began writing Move Under Ground. At the time, what I found least satisfying about Lovecraftiana was the often turgid writing from Lovecraft’s latter-day fans. So I figured that some nucleic exchange with another great cult writer might be in order.  Since then, I’ve occasionally been asked to write more Lovecraftian fiction.

What was the inspiration for your story?

Missing Boston and Salem. I lived there for a couple of years and enjoyed it greatly. I had a lot of friends, a good relationship…and no money. So I had to leave for a new job in California (another place I really like). I thought I’d miss my taiji classes and Hannah Bowen and my friends, but I miss the geography of the area too, the accents, the inferiority complex vis-a-vis New York, the devotion to the Red Sox, and even the horrible weather and municipal corruption.

I also had the idea to ape a bit of Chelsea native Michelle Tea’s voice for this one, as she had also moved from MA to CA.

If you were a Mythos monster or character, who would you be and why?

A member of the Great Race, probably. I like the idea of time travel or being stuck/unstuck in time —Vonnegut is another cult author that often tangles with this notion. Also, if one has to be a Mythos character, why not be one from the best story Lovecraft ever wrote?

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IFPMicro-interview: Nick Mamatas