A Quickie with John Palisano
Nikki Noir (NN): What’s your darkest fantasy? And why will you never act it out in real life?
John Palisano (JP): For years, I had some pretty off the wall fantasies I never dreamt would come true. Most have. Even some of the more depraved ones. I’d love to have a lost weekend in New Orleans again one day. Endless nights. Flowing liquor. Wonderful conversation. The taste of flesh. The faint taste of blood, of sweat, of absynthe, and to leave with the memories of dark secrets left unshared.
NN: What real-world environment is most terrifying to you?
JP: Jungles! I have no experience, I hate to admit. There’s so much that could go wrong, and my survivalist skills in a jungle would be abysmal. The animals. The insects. The weather. Hopefully I’d make friends with an empathetic gorilla family who’d adopt me and babysit me. I’m really good at grooming, so there may be a chance.
NN: If you could collaborate with any small press author on a project, who would it be and why?
JP: I’d love to offer a variant on that and say I’d love to collaborate with amazing editors. It’s a relationship that’s growing more and more rare. Top on my list would be Ellen Datlow, of course. Her taste is exemplary. Other dream editors that come to mind are Ross Lockhart from Word Horde, Sam Cowan from Dim Shores, Leza Cantoral from Clash Books, and Rose O’Keefe from Eraserhead. Honestly? Just writing those names is exciting. There are so many brilliant people I’d love to work with. We are truly in a golden age.
NN: Tell us about your latest project or work in progress
JP: Lisa Morton put together a collective of authors and we are putting out five small themed fiction collections, five stories in each, by five different authors. Mine is Strange Tales of the Macabre: Gothic. I have a deep love of gothic literature and even lead a Book Club at the Last Bookstore every month in downtown LA.
NN: Of all the characters you’ve created, do you have a favorite and why?
JP: Minarette, the vampiress in Ghost Heart, is one of my favorites. She has so many layers as a person and as a vampire. Her story haunts me as much now as it did when I wrote it.
NN: What’s your favorite philosophical quote or phrase to live by?
JP: "Be excellent to each other!" —Bill & Ted
Goofy? Perhaps. But it’s a great philosophy to stick with. Good to remember in most excellent situations! And in most heinous situations, too!