Innsmouth’s Editorial Assistant Nathaniel Katz interviewed Erin Stocks, author of “Grotto of the Helpless,” part of Innsmouth Magazine issue 12. Remember, you can buy an issue for $2 at Amazon.com, Weightless Books or Smashwords. Or subscribe to Innsmouth Magazine and never miss an issue.
IFP: Reading “Grotto of the Helpless,” I was struck by the narrator’s palpable need for the genuinely unusual, the impossible to predict, even the transcendent. Is that a drive you feel in your own life or work?
ES: Not nearly to the same degree – and I certainly hope that whatever I have in common with Aster, it isn’t our reactions to the things she saw in the Grotto. But I think that need is the reason why I prefer fiction with speculative elements. I try every once in awhile to read the latest literary masterpiece, but it’s an effort. I really do love, and need, the SFF & horror genres.
IFP: Are there some particular stories or certain writers whose works reach that kind of unusual intensity for you?
ES: Absolutely. First, who pops into my mind is Caitlin R. Kiernan, who is probably my favorite short story writer these days (start with her A is for Alien collection). In the last year, I’ve read a few stories by Maureen McHugh that have just floored me (her After the Apocalypse collection has some gems) and nearly everything Margo Lanagan writes has some punch to it that can possibly shellshock a reader.
IFP: Do you think you would have the courage to enter the Grotto if you found a way in? If you did, do you think you’d come back a second time?
ES: I suppose it depends on how much of a sociopath I am. The me right now? No, thanks. And hell, no, I wouldn’t go back.
Erin Stocks is a graduate of the 2011 Clarion Writers’ Workshop. Her fiction can be found in Polluto, the Coeur de Lion anthology Anywhere but Earth, Flash Fiction Online, and upcoming in Kaleidotrope.