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V. Castro Interview

The Haunting of Alejandra is a thrilling new novel by V. Castro, inspired by tales of La Llorona. Alejandra is a woman who is struggling with her identity as a daughter, a wife, a mother. There is darkness haunting her and visions of a ghostly woman she cannot ignore. As Alejandra delves into her own past, she comes to know and understand the women who came before her—and how she will need all they have given her to get rid of the ghostly woman in her visions: La Llorona.

Read the full interview below.

Sometimes we choose ideas and sometimes it feels like they choose us. Did you decide ahead of time you were writing a La Llorona story or did it happen as you were writing it?

It wasn’t something I planned at all. However, the emotions I was experiencing and the questions about life that cropped up at that time made it easy to write. I felt like the crying woman.

La Llorona is one of the more recognizable ghosts in folklore. Did you have any reservations about putting your own spin on the story?

Not at all. It was a tale I was raised with and knew I could tackle it from another angle. I also wanted a deeper explanation for this character to do something so heinous.

The Haunting of…” is such an iconic title phrase in the horror genre and I love your use of it here with The Haunting of Alejandra. Did you workshop the title at all or did you know from the start this was the title you wanted?

It was a different title! But we decided to make it simple for readers. You get more than the title lets on, but that’s a good thing.

You were born to Mexican American parents and have always been interested in Mexican folklore and urban legends. Do you remember the first folktale or urban legend that really grabbed your attention as a child?

La Llorona and La Lechuza. They scared me whenever the windows were open and it was dark outside. Back then I didn’t think it was possible for me to do what I am doing now. I loved horror and folklore then and still do.

What kind of impact do you think your interest in folklore has had on you as a writer?

There is such a rich history in my culture and I want to share it. There are so few books exploring our history and stories. Doing this is important to me.

One of the things I love about your 2021 novella, Goddess of Filth, is the strong bonds between the young women in the story. The Haunting of Alejandra is about a woman’s relationship with her female ancestors. Can you talk a little about the importance of depicting strong female connections in fiction, especially in horror?

Women are usually the victims. Brown women are rarely depicted as the hero. It is important for me to show what I am made of, what I feel. Again, the themes I explore are ones I feel are important at this time. Horror has been dominated by white men for far too long.

The Haunting of Alejandra features multiple POV characters. Were there any that stuck out to you as being much easier or much more difficult to write than the others?

Francis was difficult because that is my grandmother who left my mother and her siblings when they were very small. That part of the story is very true. All the emotion flowed out of me for the other characters because that is what I was feeling.

The cover is beautiful. Who did the artwork and how did you feel when you first saw it?

The art is by Alex Eckman-Lawn. I loved it from the start! It perfectly suits the story.

Do you have any other work coming out this year you’d like to tell people about?

Rebel Moon is out in December! Dia de Los Slashers is a fun short read out now. Immortal Pleasure, a very steamy vampire novel, is available for preorder.

What’s your favorite recent read? Any genre or category. It doesn’t have to be horror.

I just read a book about Santa Muerte by Arnold Bustillo.

Thank you so much for talking to Frightful!

The Haunting of Alejandra is available now.

You can find V. Castro on...

Instagram @vlatinalondon

Blue Sky @vlatinalondon

TikTok @vcastrobooks

Twitter @vlatinalondon

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