Anthony Rapino is a dark fiction author with a sense of humor. It was cool to interview him. Hope you enjoy!
MY: So, Anthony, thanks for stopping by! Why don’t you start off by telling me what you have out, and what you’re currently working on.
AR: Thanks so much for having me. I have to admit, my first impulse when you asked what I “have out” was to tell a vulgar joke. Let me just tuck that away. The vulgarity, I mean! Oof. What’s that they say about first impressions?
MY: Your first impression is shot.
AR: Moving on. I currently have a few short stories out in print magazines and anthologies such as the Arcane Anthology, On Spec #86, and Black Ink Horror 7. I of course also have the short story collection Welcome to Moon Hill available through Amazon, and my debut novel, Soundtrack to the End of the World available from Bad Moon Books. They put out a beautiful limited signed hardcover edition as well as a paperback edition.
I’m currently working on a two different super-secret anthology submissions. I’m also working on my second novel, which I published an excerpt of in Welcome to Moon Hill.
MY: You seem like a nice guy. Why aren’t you writing children’s books? Humor? Why are you drawn to horror?
AR: I had a tragic accident as a young boy. Do you remember those little toys, Monster in My Pocket? Well, one day I was walking along the sidewalk, playing with a couple of my monsters, when I tripped on a crack. I sprawled face first, dropping one of my toys (Vampiress), which somehow became lodged in my ear—thunk! That little sucker was plunged right past my eardrum and into the soft tissue of my brain, where it still resides to this day. So really, I didn’t choose to write horror. That’s just Vampiress whispering to me from inside my cranium: Your main character sssshould eat hissss own sssskin. Num num num.
I do have an idea for a children’s book, though. It’s based on Stanley the dog (from the story “Stanley” in Welcome to Moon Hill). It’s called Stanley’s Big Dig, which will make a whole lot of sense if you’ve read the short story. Stanley starts digging a giant hole, looking for rocks, but instead, finds something much more interesting. You see, already Vampiress is whispering, a bone yarrrrd. Dagnabit!
MY: You know I’m a fan of Welcome to Moon Hill. You said that you didn’t originally set out to write this collection, but realized that you were unintentionally writing about Moon Hill. Tell us about that.
AR: I’m not very smart. Let me rephrase that. I’m not very, smart, creative, or talented. Most writers can sit down and pre-plan what they are writing. They plot and write character sketches. I don’t. I can’t.
Like most of my ideas, this one was a slow evolution, and one that I was completely unaware of. A couple years ago, my then “first reader” said, “You use a lot of similar settings in your stories. A lot of wooded, rural areas.”
It turns out, I had always been writing about Moon Hill; I just didn’t know it.
While writing my second novel, I created the name Moon Hill, an expansive history of it, and even a small map. I knew that this was the town I had always been writing about, and so decided to link the stories together with this backdrop and publish a collection.
For those who read the short story collection and crave more interconnectivity, you’ll be pleased to know that my next novel will feature recurring characters from the collection, a deep look at the history of Moon Hill, and even answers to why Moon Hill is so special.
MY: I’m looking forward to that. Okay, explain the Pen Mustache Avatar Party. Were you possessed by imps?
AR: Well, if Jessica McHugh is an imp, then yes. I was scrolling along the addictive waters of Facebook when I noticed that Jess had changed her profile image to one of her with a pen mustache. I laughed so hard that I farted out a silly idea. I sent Jess a message which basically said, “We should start a Facebook event that requires attendees to change their profile image to one with a pen mustache.”
She agreed, and so the Pen Mustache Avatar Party was born. We had an explosively active 3 or 4 days before interest waned. But it was fun while it lasted, and resulted in a multitude of creative pen-related facial reconstruction (including your own mustachioed family portrait!)
MY: It was a lot of fun, and a terribly off-kilter way to see old writer friends in a different light and meet new ones. Do you find yourself running with a certain writerly crowd, or do you believe that writing is more solitary?
AR: Honestly, I think I feel both ways about it. There are days when I’m plugging away at a novel, and I know no one will read it for months, and it will be years before it’s published (if at all). Those days it really does feel like a solitary activity. It feels as though all of these things I want to say are falling on deaf ears.
But that’s only one out of every 30 days. The other 29, there is this huge, supportive, amazing group of people that I correspond with. Other writers who pat me on the back when I’ve done something good, pull me up by the bootstraps when a project falls through, and always—always—make me laugh and feel downright privileged to be a writer.
MY: Thanks for taking a second and hanging with us, Anthony. Want to tell our readers how to get a hold of you online? This is the time to pimp yourself out!
I do play around with other social media, but these are the places you’ll most often find me (or else waiting patiently in sincere pumpkin patches across the NEPA area come fall time).
Thank you so much for having me, Mercedes. It’s not every day the doctors let me have visitors, so this was a real treat. Almost as nice as the double dose of meds they’ll give me tonight so I can sleep.