Interview with Paul Stansfield

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Today we chat with Paul Stansfield




Nikki: What’s your most extreme or most bizarro fantasy? Feel free to follow up on why you never will never act it out in real life?


Stansfield: I’ve talked for years about what I want done with my body after I die. Initially, I’d like it to go the Body Farm in Tennessee, where they train their forensic students by leaving corpses out in various situations and observe how they decay. After they’re finished with me, I’d like to be cremated, and my ashes divided up into say, 10 portions or so. Then I’d like a trusted friend or relative to toss these ashes into the faces of people that I strongly dislike or hate, saying “Paul says ‘hello’!” I would like to do this for real. I plan to set aside some money for my designated agents’ travel costs, trouble and time, and (probable) bail and lawyers’ fees. But I haven’t made out a will or anything yet, because I figured I still should have plenty of time to do so. Although in these pandemic days, maybe I should step up the preparation!


Nikki: What real-world environment is most terrifying to you? Why?


Stansfield: Like a lot of people, I’m not into public speaking at all. So, any environment where this is necessary scares me—talking in class, giving a speech to coworkers, giving a toast at a wedding, and such. Although, that said, I have had to give the occasional oral presentation, of course, and I always get through it, by practicing it countless times beforehand. But I still always dread it, and will avoid it if at all possible.


Nikki: Tell us about your story in Welcome to the Club? What inspired it?


Stansfield: “23 to 46” is about a guy whose body cells gain sentience, and start to communicate with him. And it quickly becomes uncomfortable, as some of the cells grow quite demanding, and even abusive. Things get alarming and disturbing from that point. So the actual conflict is a man literally against parts of himself. It’s been a long time since I wrote the story, so my memory is a bit hazy. But I’ve always been fascinated by real life medical situations when the body is in conflict with itself, such as severe allergic reactions to otherwise harmless substances, immune systems attacking a transplanted organ which is actually keeping the body alive, or the phantom limb syndrome that some amputees experience. Also, I find people’s opinions about fertility and pregnancy to often be illogical, and self-contradictory.


Nikki: What does Splatterpunk or bizarro fiction mean to you? And is it a big part of you as an author?


Stansfield: To me they mean speculative fiction stories that are more extreme, more absurd, and more subversive. “No holds barred” types of tales, which might revel in the violence and gore, and aren’t afraid to be weird and unsettling. As to being a big part of my stories—sometimes. I don’t sit down and say, “Today I’ll write a splatterpunk or bizarro story.” But sometimes the main idea behind the story lends itself well to these subgenres, and so they come out that way. I enjoy the horror genre in all of its formats, and have written in all of these ways. Some subtle, “quiet” horror movies and stories can be fantastic. And some over the top, grotesquely violent and bloody ones can be great, too. Or everything in between. If the plot, the tone, the characters, etc., are all compelling, then the story probably will be as well. How the story is presented can go a lot of different routes.


Nikki: If there’s one thing you’d want readers to know about you or the mission of your work, what would it be?


Stansfield: At the risk of sounding mundane, I don’t have any grand mission or goal about my writing, other than trying to express myself, and tell stories that people will hopefully find entertaining, and interesting.Most of my work tends to be in the horror genre, so in those tales I’m trying to frighten and disturb the reader, and ideally write something that sticks with them, and makes them think about morbid topics. Also, I live in the real world, so it would be nice to eventually make a full time living from writing, too.


Nikki: What’s your next project and where can we stalk you? 


Stansfield: My day job for 25 years was working as a field archaeologist.Among the excavations I worked on were several large cemetery removals.I found these fascinating—like snowflakes, each grave was different, and special in its own way.Determining the person’s age at death, sex, and disease or injury history was a cool bit of mystery-solving, too.Anyway, I’m working on a ghost story that is based on one of these projects.It’s highly fictionalized, but the kernel of it actually did happen.I don’t often write about work-related topics, but this is a notable exception.As for stalking me, I live at 123 Faux Street, in---just kidding, of course.My personal blog address is http://paulstansfield.blogspot.com, and I can be reached at the following email address: paulccstansfield@gmail.com Popular blog topics include bizarre and gross things I’ve consumed, underrated horror movie reviews, sports trivia, and writing updates.


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