Victor LaValle writes good stories.
My husband has been devouring his catalogue of novels with a singular force.
“This is so good,” he announces from his side of the bed. The last few months, when he makes this kind of statement, it has been from inside the world of Victor LaValle. Not only has his fiction seduced Barry, but LaValle has also created a series of comics. The man crush was inevitable at that point.
It was an interesting challenge to interview Victor and talk about his latest book, as it’s one he has edited rather than one he has written. The Best of Richard Matheson is an anthology of stories that shaped Victor at a critical point in his young life when he first started to become a writer. As we discussed several episodes ago with Joe Fassler, who we read has a big impact on who we become as writers. And with greats like Stephen King, Ray Bradbury and Neil Gaiman naming Matheson as a serious influence, I was delighted to learn more about him and to discover like many others, I already knew his stories without knowing his name.
This interview goes into the different modes of writing, how editing an anthology happens, but it also touches on practical topics like how to keep writing when a couple has a baby and they’re both writers. I adored speaking with Victor and I know you will love listening to him as much as I loved being a part of this conversation. Happy listening.
Discussed in Episode 73 with Victor LaValle:
- The Twighlight Zone and Richard Matheson
- Finding a writer you didn’t know you already loved
- The beauty of the impact writing can have on you when young
- The process of selecting stories for an anthology
- Beginning to write at 12 or 13
- Why it’s so hard to call yourself a writer
- Early influences and feeling like a rip-off artist
- Writers who didn’t need MFAs | Mentioned: Grace Paley
- Learning from his mom to make time for the creative
- Creating a writing schedule with a new baby and two parents who write
- Editing a collection
- The genesis of Destroyer, the comic
- The different challenges of presenting a story through visual art in a comic
- Why you should always use all your ideas