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Q&A with D.W. Hitz (Larval Seeds)

The title and cover are enough to make your skin crawl and what you’ll find inside is no different. Larval Seeds is an extreme horror so if you trigger easily this book is not for you. Take a look at my Q & A with D.W. Hitz featuring his upcoming book Larval Seeds.


Let's dig into your upcoming release Larval Seeds. Larval Seeds is a bit different from your regular work. What made you decide to jump into extreme horror? As a person who loves stories, I love so many of the horror sub-genres, be they haunting or supernatural or zombies or mystery-box-escape-room-mutants. There's just so much to explore. Extreme horror is another entree at the horror buffet; it's great fun to read, and I had a blast getting to write some. Plus, my work can be dark and gory normally, so this was a great way to push some of the boundaries in my own writing. Where did the idea for this book come from? I'm a panster when it comes to story. Fly by the seat of my pants as they say, so while I often have a nugget planned or a character or a scene or two in mind, I never really know what's going to happen until I sit down to write it.

With Larval Seeds, I had this idea of a kid who lived in the soil, moved through it like a worm or a bug, but I had to figure out how he got there. What type of messed-up situation could lead to this? I found him where I wanted him and had to go back to his life before and explore his origin story. And now that that's concrete, maybe there'll be another chapter for Sully at some point in the future? Because in Custer Falls, there are so many stories to tell. Did you face any challenges writing this one? When trying to write a story of this size, it can be a little tricky working out the characters. I feel like the characters are always the most important part of any story—If they aren't interesting or you don't connect in some way, the rest of the story doesn't matter. And when aiming for characterizations in a story this size, it has to fit within a fixed space, and the number of cast members has to be limited so that each member gets enough time to make them more than just a cardboard cutout with lines. Do you have a favorite character in Larval Seeds? My favorite is definitely Callie. She is a sweet girl who is empathetic to all those around her but gets thrown into a ridiculous situation that no one could be prepared for. And even as horrors are coming at her, she still worries for others. I know I felt unsettled at times reading this. As the author did you ever have these moments? Did you gross yourself out? There are always a few scenes in every book that get a bit intense as they come to me, and this one was no exception. They ranged from mild gags in the opening scene when we learn Sully's favorite treat to a special scene where Callie's mom is learning what's inside her and trying to solve it—that one was gut-wrenching and stuck with me for a few hours at least.

There's a line where you think to yourself, "could a character recover from this?" and a gray area where maybe they could and maybe they couldn't—that's a real sweet spot. Like if a finger is removed, there's a certain amount of time while it's still warm and it could be reattached—those moments are where some of the best tension lies because we wonder if they can be saved. This works with gross-out as well because there's a question of "will a shower fix it?" or "will it leave a permanent mark?" And while the permanent marks are interesting, not knowing can be more tense. During any part of this book did you think maybe you went too far or should have omitted anything? I have a rule when writing to get it all out in the draft and figure those questions out in editing. You can always pull it back when doing a revision, so getting the purest form of the thought on paper is the most important part.

With this book, I felt the horror went directly to the point I was aiming for. It may be too much or not enough from a reader's perspective, but that's always going to be subjective from their point of view. When it came to the level of sex and descriptiveness, I had some considerations, as this contains some of the most erotic content I've put in a book. In the end, I think it all found a good balance. Since Larval Seeds is already getting early reviews and will soon be in the hands of readers, do you see yourself writing more in this genre? Definitely! I like to switch things up, and I am a fan of so many genres. It's refreshing to change headspaces from one to another when writing. I love working on sci-fi, fantasy, and middle-grade books for my kids, but I always return to horror, as it has the biggest space in my heart—even my sci-fi and fantasy stuff leans dark and horrific—Gods are Born may be the most gore you find in a superhero deconstruction out there. And extreme is definitely a headspace I enjoy, both writing and reading, so I will be back, soon if my plans for this year go as I hope they will.

Despite my feelings on worms, this cover really is amazing! What was the process like coming up with the design? I have to thank Don Noble at Rooster Republic Press for the hard work there. I gave him my concept of a simple design with Sully and what he would be going through, and Don made all the magic happen. He does amazing work for so many in the indie horror community, and I highly encourage indie writers and presses to check out his site or Facebook: Last one. If you had to eat a worm or a maggot, which one are you going to pick? Maggot, for sure! I've heard too many (real-life) horror stories of worms getting into people's bodies, traveling to limbs, organs, and brains, all from just eating them. Maggots, on the other hand, may pop in your mouth and offer a nutty, creamy texture, sometimes a little grainy, but they should go right down and offer some good fatty protein.

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