Larissa Glasser is another of my Ladies of Horror friends and a fellow member of Broad Universe, which advocates for female-identified writers of genre fiction. She’s a librarian, genre writer, and queer trans woman from Boston. Her short fiction has appeared in Wicked Haunted (New England Horror Writers), Tragedy Queens: Stories inspired by Lana Del Rey and Sylvia Plath (Clash Books), Procyon Science Fiction Anthology 2016 (Tayen Lane Publishing), and The Healing Monsters Volume One (Despumation Press). Larissa co-edited Resilience: a collection of stories by trans writers (Heartspark Press), a nominee of The 2017 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction. Her debut novella F4 is available from Eraserhead Press. She is on twitter @larissaeglasser and blogs at https://larissaglasser.com/.
She describes her novel F4 like this: A cruise ship on the back of a sleeping kaiju. A transgender bartender trying to come terms with who she is. A rift in dimensions known as The Sway. A cruel captain. A storm of turmoil, insanity and magic is coming together and taking the ship deep into the unknown. What will Carol the bartender learn in this maddening non-place that changes bodies and minds alike into bizarre terrors? What is the sleeping monster who holds up the ship trying to tell her? What do Carol’s fractured sense of self and a community of internet trolls have to do with the sudden pull of The Sway?
Did something in the real world inspire F4?
I was inspired by cruise ship disasters. Everyone thinks of the Titanic (1912), but I was definitely more inspired by the Costa Concordia disaster (2012), where the captain abandoned the sinking ship before making sure his passengers made it out safely. Other disasters include the MS Estonia (1994), which resulted in a huge number of casualties. William Langewiesche wrote an amazing account of the Estonia sinking, which inspired a number of action scenes in my book, as did the film The Poseidon Adventure (1971). And of course I was also inspired by Kaiju films such as Godzilla and King Ghidorah.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
I like the opening porn-camming scene, actually, because it shows how conflicted Carol is about her gender dysphoria and her latent lesbian crush on Chloe, her mentor. Plus I thought it was hot as fuck.
What was your writing process like as you wrote the book?
I did research on the day-to-day routine of cruise ships and worked on an outline with character sketches. Due to the word count limit, I had to pare down a lot of plot elements. When I outline, I approach the story from many different angles which have to be discarded eventually or repurposed for something else. When I met my developmental editor Fiona Maeve Geist, she helped me finish the manuscript by contributing ideas and fixing up chapters.
What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?
Caleb Wilson, the author of Polymer, which is also part of the New Bizarro Author Series from Eraserhead Press, made an illustration of one of the kaiju featured in my book. He also sent me a black-and-white version that people could color in. I thought that was so cool, because he’s a great writer and game designer. Definitely check out Caleb’s work.
What do you have planned next?
I’m working on a few things: short stories and a new book about fairy mounds and celebrity. It won’t be a bizarro book but rather a trans lesbian romance with a twinge of Arthur Machen and Clark Ashton Smith influences.
You can check out F4 on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2urre8Z.