In life, sometimes you come across people who are so wonderfully weird, you can’t help but read them to see how far they’ll go. Gabino Iglesias can probably outread, outweird, outreview and probably outbench press most people you know. He is also that type of author that likes to push limits and his first book, Gutmouth is as weird as it is funny AND disgusting. It is a piece of writing that really invites you to see how nasty and weird a story can be.
Seeing as Writer Wednesday is all about variety, what better moment than right now to see what goes on in his messed up head.
Here’s my interview with his answers:
Hey Gabino. First off, many thanks for taking the time to answer these questions.
1. So off the bat, what’s Gutmouth about and who could be interested in reading this book?
It’s a tender love story with healthy doses of murder, weird sex, social critique, mutants, and extreme body modifications.
Here’s the synopsis:
“He has a mouth in his gut. An obnoxious, toothy,
foul-mouthed, pig of a mouth. Luckily, his girlfriend doesn't seem to mind.
Marie, the one-legged stripper and cyber-prostitute love of his life is very
accepting of it. And then a little too accepting. What would you do if your
girlfriend cheated on you with the voracious yapper under your belly button? If
you live in Gutmouth's world-a bleak city where gruesome, spontaneous mutations
are no big deal, klepto-roaches take anything not tied-down, drugs turn pain
into pleasure, consumers are tortured for growing food, and your best friend is
a misogynistic rat-man-you might do something crazy. And what if you got
My book can be enjoyed by folks with a sense of humor, an
open mind, and a strong stomach.
2. Bizarro isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, why are you into that genre and what is your favorite part of tackling it?
The best thing about bizarro is that there are no limits. You can do whatever you want with the narrative and throw every preconceived notion out the window. As a writer, this absolute freedom is amazing. As a reader, this is the genre in which the most creative, brave, exciting authors are working, so it’s one of my favorites to read. I also write horror, crime, and whatever passes for literary fiction these days, but there’s always a weird element in my writing that comes from bizarre.
3. What projects are you working on?
Zero Saints, my second novel, will be published by Broken River Press this summer. I’m still tweaking it because Broken River is one of my favorite presses and J. David Osborne is one of my favorite writers, so I’m killing myself to make that thing as close to perfect as my abilities will allow. I also have 55 55-word stories in an anthology from Carrion Blue. That will also drop this summer. As far as novels go, I’m working on three manuscripts, one of which will surely be published this year…maybe even soon. It’s secret stuff. That one’s horror. Then I have my reviews and a bunch of short stories, as always.
4. You are a prolific book reviewer, to put it lightly. How many reviews do you have to your name and how many books do you read on average every year? (Or total books you’ve read in your lifetime).
Oh, man, I’ve been in the reviewing racket for about four years, so I have no idea how many reviews I’ve done. Last year I read about 140 books. The goal this year is to hit 200. Most of those will be reviewed somewhere. As for lifetime, I’ve been digging books since I was a kid, so I have no idea. A lot.
5. How does being Hispanic influence your writing?
Now that I’ve found presses and venues that embrace diversity, my positionality is starting to exert a hell of a lot of influence. Zero Saints is really heavy on the Spanglish and I’ve decided that all my work will probably have a Latino character in an important role. I’m not saying I’m only going to be writing what I know, but that my roots and upbringing give me a certain flavor that, when properly used, translates into me having my own voice.
6. If you could make your own liquor and beer, what would they be, what would they be called and how would you drink them?
I’d probably have a brand of whiskey called “Writer’s Medicine” and a really dark stout that would sit on your stomach like a full meal. I’d drink them like I drink everything else: in good company and as often as possible.
7. Your kid has asked you to write a story to scare his classmates, what’s it about?
A kid in class who lives with a monster at home, a monster he has to keep fed with animals from the neighborhood or face being eaten himself. His classmates pick on him because he’s always quiet and sits by himself in a corner while everyone else plays. When the bullying gets to be too much, he offers the monster a hell of a meal. The monster comes to school and eats the bullies’ guts while they’re still alive.
8. You are actually a great guitarist, if you had to make an hour-long set, what would you play and who would you invite onstage?
Man, your sources told you some lies! I’m mediocre at best. A perfect set would include songs by Joaquin Sabina, Alejandro Filio, Fito Paez, some originals, a bit of flamenco, some Tom Waits…the list can go on and on. As much as I’d love to have any of those musicians up there, the perfect gig would be closer to home; a jam session with folks like you and Trobi.
9. What is your philosophy between the body and the mind?
I understand that not everyone needs to bench four plates, but yesterday I went to get some groceries and saw a guy break a sweat trying to tear off a fruit bag from the roll. Also, I dig thick books, and having your arms quit on you when you’re reading at the bus stop is not an option. Jokes aside, I think that “mens sana in corpore sano” is a great way to live.
10. Where can people find more about who Gabino Iglesias is, what he’s about and what’s in store?
Thanks again to Gabino for taking the time out of an insane schedule to connect. Definitely someone to keep an eye out for especially if you want something very different for your bookshelf. You saw the links, so by all means, check him out.