I got to know one of those writers - Dennis Etchison - long before I started writing horror fiction, and Dennis's brilliant work, which is almost always set around Southern California, was hugely influential on me. Like Dennis, I know that L.A. isn't just about beaches and vapid blondes; I see its darker side, too. I see the homeless, many of whom probably came here to make it big in the movies or the recording industry, and now they're as shattered as their dreams. I see the narcissism of those who have succeeded, and the delusions of those who still believe they will succeed. I see buildings that are falling to ruin because their owners simply couldn't afford to keep them open and repaired. I see Caucasian and Asian and Latino, gay and straight, rich and poor, mixing...but not always comfortably.
Once you become aware of all these less pleasant aspects, it's not hard to see how they resemble certain classic horror archetypes. Isn't there something haughty and arrogant and movie-star-ish about Dracula? Aren't the hopeless meth junkies hiding from their pasts a bit like the Phantom? What are the La Brea Tar Pits if not a black lagoon?
I also wanted my collection to provide a complete emotional experience for the reader. Just as L.A. can induce blissful living or desperation, the joy of success or the constant dulled grief of the most abject failure, so my collection would move from the humor to be found in a giant monster menacing Santa Monica (really, who hasn't laughed at a Godzilla movie?) to the frustrations of a gay teenager to the horrors of modern technology. I also wanted the storirange from flash fiction to a novelette (the story involving those lizard people), with some interconnecting and even depending on each other. Kind of like how all of us who live in L.A. have to mesh.
I hope SoCal residents who read Monsters of L.A. will nod in recognition, while those who've never been here will end the book feeling almost as if they have. And I won't object at all if you tell me that the book made you feel like there was something dark here lurking beneath all that sunshine.Thanks for stopping by Lisa! To buy a copy of Monsters of L.A., visit Bad Moon Books! ond make sure you visit www.lisamorton.com