Lor Gislason: Writing Goopy Horror in a Neurotypical World
As writers, we are often reminded by the self-help motivational gurus to "just write," but what happens if your sensory tank is filled to the brim and you go into full-blown burnout? The thought of putting pen to paper might be more terrifying than the story you're trying to tell. Of course, this isn't the situation for everyone, but it certainly is for neurodivergent authors. These are people who are so quickly overlooked. People who, in my opinion, overcome great adversity to tell the stories they write. There is a tremendous passion behind their words and it shows on the page in their storytelling. Lor Gislason is one such person. They are the author behind some of the most vile and disturbing horror I have ever read. It is absolutely divine! Lor is a very dedicated member of the horror community, and their debut novella being released on October 10th, 2022. This goopy, grimey collection is not to be missed.
Welcome Lor! What can you tell us about yourself?
I'm Lor, a non-binary (they/them) autistic writer from Vancouver Island, Canada! I started writing in 2020, mainly non-fiction articles, expressing my love for horror. I gradually began writing fiction and now my output is about 50/50. I post a lot of photos of my cat, Pierogi.
Where can readers find your non-fiction work?
You can find my writing on Horror Obsessive, Hear Us Scream, Neon Splatter and my personal blog, lorgislason.wordpress.com.
How did you get the nickname, Goop Maestro?
I think I used the word "Goop" to describe my writing and it stuck, haha. Now it's kind of my brand. Plus, it's fun to take the word back from a certain wellness brand…
The Maestro part came from my friend Shelley, and I loved it immediately. I'm like a conductor of carnage.
As a connoisseur of body horror, are there any authors whose work you recommend in indie horror?
Oh gosh, there have been so many good releases lately. Helpmeet by Naben Ruthnum, Maggots Screaming! by Max Booth III, One Hand to Hold, One Hand to Carve by M. Shaw, Joe Koch's Convulsive collection…I could be here all day.
Word on the street is, you have a delectibly goop-filled body horror book coming out very soon. What can you tell us about Inside Out?
Inside Out is part short story collection, part novella, in which each segment follows a different character, all in the same world. People start melting and all hell breaks loose. It has an overarching story and several illustrations by artists from the horror community, like Enoch Duncan and Trevor Henderson!
I've been fortunate enough to read the book already and absolutely loved every ooey gooey morsel of this book. The cover design has caught a lot of attention as well. I feel like it is a good portrayal of what readers can expect for the book. Who is the artist? What made you choose them?
Isn't it gorgeous?! The artist is Eduardo Valdés-Hevia. He does photo manipulation, creating cryptids and found footage-esque phenomenon that each have a little story to go along with them. I started chatting with him just as a fellow horror weirdo and pitched the idea of what became the melty woman, and Ed had some great suggestions. He's done cover work before and makes fake postcards for his Patreon, so I had confidence he would get this right. It was a very fluid (haha) process to work with him!
I am legally blind and people are always surprised by the things I accomplish on a day-to-day basis. It's weird to hear that because I was born with this disability, so I've just done things differently. Things people normally need sight to do. What i'm saying is that people have no clue. Neurotypical people don't know or understand what someone on the spectrum does in their everyday life to deal with sensory issues. Is there anything you do in your writing routine that helps you get words on the page? Something you think neurotypical authors wouldn't need to do to get writing done?
I definitely need both the right headspace and noise level to get any writing done. I know lots of people write with background music, but I can't do it. Most of my ideas happen when I'm trying to fall asleep, so I keep my phone under my pillow. If I don't jot it down it just disappears. My memory is pretty bad honestly.
I know that everyone on the spectrum has different hurdles, but i've heard that one thing in particular is especially difficult for authors. Is sensory overload or autistic burnout something that affects your writing? Is there anything preventative you do?
Thankfully I don't get a lot of sensory overload since I'm at home most of the time, but when I go out I have a specific music playlist to get me through things.
Burnout is something I deal with a lot, which can be frustrating. I'm trying to look at it from a positive angle. Even if I'm not writing, I'm still being creative; I watch films and read books and interact with the horror community! It's easy to be hard on ourselves.
I believe in authors writing a diverse cast of characters. In my opinion, readers get a lot of value from relateable characters. I know that I'd love to read about more people with disabilities like myself. Have you ever tried to write autistic characters? Are they present in your work?
I think my writing is inherently autistic, although some characters more than others. Aspects of myself or things that have happened to me are sprinkled in here and there. I describe actions and the physical world more than I utilize character dialogue, which I find (for myself at least) can feel unnatural or forced. I'm like, "wait, do people talk like this?" and find a way to work around it.
Aeew there any autistic authors or books that have helped you in your writing journey?
I admit I haven't read a lot of books by autistic authors, which is something I should change. Especially in the horror world. Temple Grandin is a hugely inspiring writer and scientist I recommend though!
Is there anything you're currently working on that readers should get excited about?
I have a few things brewing! I'm working on Bound In Flesh: An Anthology of Trans Body Horror with Ghoulish Books, due next April. The stories are incredible!! We had some first time submitters too, which is such an honour.
Shelley Lavigne and I are writing The Sea of Flesh, a gay and gross Darwinian Galapagos pirate novella. They're such a joy to write with, we really mesh well.
Then Shelley, Eric Raglin and I are working on Sick! Stories from the Goop Troop. We're kind of known for our penchant for the gross, and often frustrated at submission calls who exclude more extreme horror… so it felt perfect to work on something together.
These all sound amazing! I've actually read some of the stories. They even came with a warning. You said, "we mean it when we call these stories sick." YOU WERE'NT KIDDING! Granted, they were sick in the best way possible. I can't wait to read more. In your opinion, who's gonna gross out readers the most? Is there any particular story so far that's made you feel… uneasy?
Eric has a story called "Baby Face" that somehow manages to be both absolutely disgusting and heart-wrenching. I don't know how he does it!!
What's one thing you want readers to know about your new book, Inside Out?
It's just incredible to be able to share my story with the world and I'm looking forward to people finally reading it. I have a few bits that didn't make the cut, so maybe a sequel will happen in the future!
I am confident this is all just the beginning for you, Lor. You are an incredibly talented writer and a real asset to the horror community.
Thank you for being such a supportive person, Andrew! I feel very lucky to be where I am, surrounded by fellow weirdos.
Get Inside Out at Amazon
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