If you recognize the name, you just might know Pedro from Welcome to the Future, Sanitarium #32, and our own Those Who Live Long Forgotten. To the best of my knowledge, he’s the only author to have written stories about both space marines (of a sort) and Arabian ghouls.
We’ve invited him over to tell us about his new, stand-alone short story, Death’s Café: Ootheca.
James: Today, Ootheca found its way to publication. It’s incredibly exciting. What do you most want people to know about your book? What was your favorite part to write, too?
Pedro: Thank you James. It was an idea I’d had for a while, and one that drew on inspiration from stories like Alien, The Thing, and The Mist. Stories where fear of “the other” is as scary as the people you might be next to. That was what I loved writing the most, and really, a message about all of our fears and insecurities in everyday life. Misunderstanding really is one of the biggest driving forces in the terrors that plague our world today. You can find “the other” blasted all over the news every day: Immigrants, terrorists, opposing political parties coming to change your way of life. It drives people mad and that paranoia can lead to some interesting results.
James: Xenobiology has always been one of my pet fascinations. What inspired the aliens in the story, and did you base their biology on any specific creatures?
Pedro: The creatures had to be something that could withstand the harshness of space and the dangerous terrain of comets and asteroids while looking scary and alien. I thought about the deep ocean and animals like lobsters, crabs, and mollusks. Their shells could withstand extreme pressures and cold. That was the basis for the creatures in Ootheca. I also added cocoon-making elements to their biology like that of a butterfly or a mantis in order to keep their eggs safe in hostile environments. Plus, it’s always fun thinking up new monsters and getting to play with them. I think we’ve all been doing that since childhood.
James: One of my favorite things is how well you combined horror and science fiction, without it feeling like an Alien retread. What was the key in bringing them together?
Pedro: Science-Fiction has always been a genre that easily teeters on the edge of Horror. Just a few minor detail changes and a Sci-Fi story ends up being a Horror tale. Again, it really all comes down to fear of the unknown; fear of what we might encounter during space exploration, for example is one of the elements in the story. I think both genres really compliment each other and pave the way for interesting story telling.
James: What inspired the connection between the aliens and the crew’s dreams? I’ve never seen peaceful, benevolent dreams used in such a way.
Pedro: I always found it funny how in fiction aliens were either intelligent, English-speaking beings, or just hissing monstrosities. I tried to imagine a new form of language, something perhaps we haven’t fathomed yet as humans. That’s where the dreams came in. And without revealing too much, they do play an important part in the story. In a way, our dreams are messages to ourselves that even we might not have thought about.
James: What advice do you have for other writers? And, to close, where can our readers find you online?
Pedro: The best advice I can give to writers is what everyone has said all along: keep writing. Sure, there are certain rules like punctuation, and proper grammar, but besides that there is no right or wrong way to tell a story. Everything you read about is all just tools in the toolbox at your disposal. You get to dictate the story you want to tell and the only way to get comfortable doing that is to continue doing it. They say practice makes perfect, and while there really is no such thing as perfect in the world of literature, you can sure as hell write an entertaining story.
People can find me on Facebook and my Amazon author page.
The story can be found on 5/15/15 at http://mochamemoirspress.com/, as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.