Hello again dear Círculo Lovecraftiano & Horror´s creed, we are excited to give you a new dose of “De Boca del Loco” (From the mouth of the madman).
Today we bring you the twisted words from the King and Queen of the new Cthulhu mythos, Mr. Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire, a being so radical in his stories as in his persona.
Acclaimed by fellow horror writers -such as our dear Master S.T. Joshi and Laird Barron-, as well as by all the thousands of fans of his fiction, which is not only a revival of the Mythos, but a new insight into the Lovecraftian universe in a very original way, where the Victorian characters with a punk attitude and sex appeal, must deal with wicked situations that H.P. Lovecraft himself would have considered brilliant and creepy.
Wilum grew up in Seattle Washington immerse in the Mormon church from which he was at some point a missionary in Ireland. From his time in Europe, he recalls his correspondence with Robert Bloch, and the influence his letters had in his decision to become a writer.
And now, many years after and hundreds of horror and Sci/Fi stories inspired in Lovecraft and in his own lifestyle, we have Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire right here for you, the writer, the fan, the diva, the punk... What is Wilum? maybe we will find out in this interview...
So, without further ado, lets enjoy some words from... the mouth of the madman.
Círculo Lovecraftiano & Horror: Wilum, thanks for the honor of giving us the opportunity of having this interview. How was for you growing up in the 60's Seattle scene? Between the Beat movement and the Nightmare Theatre what was young Wilum up to?
Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire: I was a real monster kid in the 1960's. I used to dress up like the Frankenstein Monster and walk around the neighborhood. I was an avid fan of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, and I wanted to be a horror film actor when I became an adult. I got a job walking around in a vampire costume for the Jones' Fantastic Museum, and I never missed an episode of DARK SHADOWS.
CL & H: How did you come across H.P. Lovecraft’s literature?
W.H.P.: The man who lived across the street was a record salesman, and he was always getting free records. Two of those records, which he gave to me, were readings of H. P. Lovecraft's stories by Roddy McDowell and David McCallum. And then my favorite horror film fanzine, GORE CREATURES, did an entire issue devoted to HPL.
CL & H: When you created the Sesqua Valley, was it just your own private Arkham or was it your own private Idaho? Like, a place that was a reflection of the life of Wilum maybe?
W.H.P.: When I first created Sesqua Valley it was just a setting that I could use in my Mythos fiction. I based it on nearby North Bend and its majestic Mount Si. Over the years, I think the valley has come to represent my feelings about being an Outsider. Unlike Lovecraft's settings, Sesqua is a place of wanton supernaturalism.
CL & H: Your stories are Lovecraftian influenced but very original nevertheless. And you insert a sensual/sexual vibe on them that works just fine in the whole context. Do you think Lovecraft stories -maybe if he had lived closer to our times- would have worked better had they contained this kind of connotations?
W.H.P.: I think Lovecraft's stories are wonderful as they are. They are remarkable because they can be admired for a variety of reasons by all kinds of different people. For me, Lovecraft's stories are timeless and close to perfection.
CL & H: Speaking about sexuality in the Lovecraft universe, we see that all the authors who claim to be influenced by the Master, seem to work very well their stories with sex involved, Alan Moore to name one. Why do you think H.P. Lovecraft didn’t use these topics in his works?
W.H.P.: I don't think Lovecraft had any deep or even mild interest in sex. Certainly, as an author, he wasn't at all concerned with sex on a surface level (although there are some deep psychological/sexual vibes in his grotesque women characters). His major theme centers on cosmic indifference to humanity.
CL & H: How has it been for you to be a Drag Queen in a world of horror writers? Was it hard at first to fit in a world of literature that claims to be more open to women writers, feminist writers and gay novelists, but seems to be forever dominated by the macho writer culture?
W.H.P.: I wasn't out as queer when I first began writing, and my entire identity was being Lovecraftian. Even after I came out, I didn't utilize my sexuality in much of my work; and when I did, I was more obsessed with "poisonous" eroticism in the Wilde/Baudelaire manner than explicit bump-&-grind. I've written very little in the "erotic horror" vein.
CL & H: Why do you put Nyarlatoteph as the recurrent boss in the pantheon of Gods of your stories? What is the fascination you have with It?
W.H.P.: Nyarlathotep has always fascinated me. He has a sense of power and fateful doom, and he is inexplicable because of his variety of forms. He can be used as a ghost-figure, as a semi-human character, as almost anything. When I imagine him, he also has a keen sensual aspect that is close to sexual for me. I would not resist his ravagement.
CL & H: Does music have any influence on your stories? It would seem so, since you tend to explore an ambient of some sort of punk, rock in your fiction. And what do you prefer to get ideas from, a good goth metal, or a nice dirty jazz?
W.H.P.: I use music often in my weird fiction, and I got that from H. P. Lovecraft. Music and sound is a vital element in his work. I love all kinds of music—classical (that's what I listen to in my car), country (my dad was a cowboy and I grew up listening to country radio), Elton John (my personal favorite performer), and then early 80's punk. I was also a gay boy who loved his albums of musical comedies such as ANNIE GET YOUR GUN and MY FAIR LADY.
CL & H: How does the writing process work for you? Are you the disciplined writer who has a scheme of “things to do” or you just go along with your life and it flows by itself?
W.H.P.: I have no discipline as a writer, and it doesn't come easy for me. I'm very lazy, and the only way I can write is if I find an idea that really excites me and that I MUST turn into a story. I almost never make notes, but will write out a rough draft in long hand and then type it up twice.
CL & H: In this world of horror fiction, it’s not common to have a Queen writer, but most uncommon is to have one that is a Mormon Faith practitioner. Are you a full believer, or faith is something that gives you comfort in this tribulated times? And along with this question -we always ask this to our guests- Do you believe in the supernatural phenomenon that you write about?
W.H.P.: My father was Mormon and raised me in the faith. I was excommunicated for 25 years when I came out as queer, but I remained a believer during all those years, although I stopped attending church. I am a full believer, although I am not and probably will never be a priesthood holder or be able to enter an LDS temple. I love the Book of Mormon and read it often, believing it to be the inspired word of God as is the Torah/Bible. I've been celibate since 1985 (by personal choice), and I live with a handsome Latino lad whom I have never kissed.
CL & H: Help us finish this micro pun story; Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk and W.H. Pugmire walk into a gun & barber shop in East Texas…
W.H.P.: Bret and Chuck both find choice guns which they use to destroy Pugmire, thus ridding the world of an eldritch evil.
CL & H: What is horror for you?
W.H.P.: Horror is passion and identity. My love of horror is rooted in the Gothic, in the past, in darkness. It is an evil that beguiles, and I am drawn to it. I want to embrace it, drink it, fuck it. I want to wear it on my face as a mask and terrify the world.
CL & H: Tell us something about Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire that nobody knows.
W.H.P.: My favorite foods are corn chowder, chicken enchiladas, and Big Hunk candy bars.
CL & H: Do you have any final words for your mexican fans in the Círculo Lovecraftiano & Horror?
W.H.P.: Thank you so much for reading my stories, and hopefully someday I will have a Spanish edition of my work. Que Dios te bendiga.
Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire!!!
We sure hope we have the chance of having W.H.P. stories published in Spanish soon. Thanks to Mr. Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire for this awesome time with the Circulo Lovecraftiano & Horror, we hope you dear readers have enjoyed this interview as much as we enjoyed making it.
If you want to know more of the many haunting works of Wilum, check his website attached, we are sure that you´ll be delighted to discover there is much more to the Mythos than you had imagined.
See you in the next edition of "From the mouth of the Madman"
- El Dumpstero