An Interview with MP Johnson, author of “The Strange Vice of ZLA-313 ” (GIALLO FANTASTIQUE)

Giallo Fantastique edited by Ross E. Lockhart will ship in May, and I asked if we could do some spotlights on some of the authors and their stories. The authors, and editor Ross E. Lockhart kindly complied. I’ll be posting these throughout April to get the buzz going, so keep an eye out for more this month.

Today, please welcome MP Johnson to the blog!

Will you tell us a bit about your story in Giallo Fantastique and what inspired you to write it?
Subtlety isn’t my strong suit, so the inspiration for my story will be obvious to giallo fans. It’s a robotic riff on Sergio Martino’s The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh. Although the film is an undisputed classic of the giallo genre, it clearly doesn’t have enough robots. I fixed that. Furthermore, the film’s depiction of Mrs. Wardh’s vice is a little too understated, so I amped that up a bit. My story is filled with robo BDSM. Is there anyone in the world who doesn’t love robo BDSM?

Have you always wanted to write? Will you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Ever since I could hold a pen, I’ve been writing. And it’s always been weird.

Against my parents’ wishes, I even went to college for creative writing. Most of my professors and classmates did not like the stuff I wrote, and I even got yelled at a couple of times by fellow students who didn’t appreciate being required to read my more violent pieces.

Since my writing wasn’t appreciated in the classroom, I took it to the streets. In 1998, I started publishing my zine, Freak Tension. It’s a DIY affair, filled with music reviews, interviews with punk bands, true life adventures and weird short stories.

Soon after that, I got started submitting short stories. So far, I’ve had more than 50 stories published. I recently released my first couple of books: The After-Life Story of Pork Knuckles Malone, which was nominated for the Wonderland Book Award, and Dungeons & Drag Queens.

What do you like to see in a good story, and what authors or novels have influenced you the most in your work, and your life?
I want to have my mind blown by weirdness, but I need it to be grounded in strong characters. I want my head to be filled with crazy images as I read, but I need those images to be anchored to people that I want to read about. I’ve drawn influence from William S. Burroughs, Clive Barker, Harlan Ellison… Like most writers of my generation, I think I’ve been influenced almost equally by other media. I’m heavily inspired by filmmaker Charles Band, who seems to have an endless amount of weird creativity and a relentless drive to see his ideas come to fruition, even if it means doing so in low budget form.

What do you enjoy most about reading, and writing, dark fiction?
I think about this a lot. I’m pretty firmly entrenched in the real world. I’ve had to deal with real world shit. Lots of it. When I sit down to read, I don’t necessarily want to relive my day to day life. I don’t need fiction to bring me some sort of profound understanding of family life or relationships or other regular stuff. I’m good on all of that. What I really want is fucking monsters. Lots of goddamn monsters. And aliens. And robots. Sure, maybe there is understanding to be gleaned from stories about monsters and aliens and robots, but it’s more subtle. Okay, maybe I do like subtle.

What’s next for you?
This year is going to be a mega major rager. I’ve got three books coming out, if all goes as planned. Next up is a book about a farm cult raising an evil cow god. That should be out in the next couple of months from StrangeHouse Books. Then Bizarro Pulp Press is releasing Sick Pack toward the end of the summer. And I’ve got Dragosaurus Rex coming from Eraserhead Press in the fall.

I’m also editing an anthology of splatterpunk and bizarro stories starring and inspired by rock ‘n’ roll terrorist GG Allin. That should be out sometime in the summer. Oh, and I’m editing Strange Fucking Stories 2 from StrangeHouse Books.

Keep up with MP: Website

About Giallo Fantastique:
An anthology of original strange stories at the intersection of crime, terror, and supernatural fiction. Inspired by and drawing from the highly stylized cinematic thrillers of Argento, Bava, and Fulci; American noir and crime fiction; and the grim fantasies of Edgar Allan Poe, Guy de Maupassant, and Jean Ray, Giallo Fantastique seeks to unnerve readers through virtuoso storytelling and startlingly colorful imagery.
What’s your favorite shade of Yellow?

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