On this last day of June, I’m joined by the wonderful Alex Segura. Alex makes all kinds of cool things–comics, podcasts, crime novels–and is a super nice human to boot. My son was so pleased to see that Alex shares his hatred of eggplant with him. You can check out the fifth and final book in his acclaimed Pete Fernandez series, Miami Midnight, which is a finalist for this year’s Anthony Award for Best Novel.
What is your greatest fear?
If you’d asked me this 10 years ago, I’d probably have said death. But now it’s anything happening to my kids.
What is your earliest childhood memory of fear? Or the scariest thing you remember from childhood?
I was a “scared of the dark” kid—and I remember that got exacerbated when I saw the horror movie Silver Bullet as a young child. It is cheesy now, but terrifying then. So I often kept a nightlight on. I just remember that sense of having no control, and of uncertainty—it’s chilling.
Do you have a recurring nightmare? OR What was your worst nightmare ever?
I have a recurring nightmare where I’m back at high school because I’d forgotten to do some kind of basic thing to graduate, so I’m back and I’m my current age, surrounded by teenagers and with all the same teachers there but much older. It’s a potent mix of nostalgia and terror.
How do you deal with fear?
I deal okay. I try, of course, to rationalize it first, but that doesn’t always work, because, well, fear isn’t always rational. But I meditate and talk to people and try to get out of my own head and that tends to help with fear and anxiety, especially during times like these.
Is there anything you are terrified of eating? Why?
I’m terrified of eating eggplant because it’s disgusting.
What scares you most about the writing process?
The blank page. The first plank page. Because it’s a sign of unlimited possibility but also potential failure. At least with a first draft or even a chunk of work, you have an idea of what it is, qualitatively. But a blank page is literally nothing, and it just means you have to start at absolute zero. Which can be fun and exciting, but again, also scary!
Do you have any horror movie dealbreakers?
I don’t watch anything that involves hurting children or intense, gratuitous gore.
What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read? Is there a particular scene that really haunts you still?
Stephen King’s IT lingers with me, years after rereading it. Especially the more grounded stuff, like Beverly’s abusive husband making his way toward her, driving through the night, or Pennywise speaking to Bill Denbrough’s brother through the storm drain.
What is your favorite monster/villain? Why?
I love the regal evil of vampires, a la Dracula or the Anne Rice world. The ability to go from mannered and refined to literally ripping someone’s throat out is fascinating to me.
What’s worse: being haunted by a demon or having a stalker?
A stalker. Demons can be ignored.
Alex Segura is an acclaimed writer of novels, comic books, and podcasts. He is the author of Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall, the Pete Fernandez Mystery series (including the the Anthony Award-nominated crime novels Dangerous Ends, Blackout, and Miami Midnight), and a number of comic books, most notably the superhero noir The Black Ghost, the YA music series The Archies, and the “Archie Meets” collection of crossovers, featuring real-life cameos from the Ramones, B-52s, and more. He is also the co-creator/co-writer of the Lethal Lit crime/YA podcast from iHeart Radio, which was named one of the best podcasts of 2018 by The New York Times. By day he is co-president of Archie Comics. A Miami native, he lives in New York with his wife and children.