Lor Gislason: Writing Goopy Horror in a Neurotypical World


As writers, self-help motivation gurus often remind us to “just write,” but what if your sensory reservoir is filled to the brim and you completely burn out? The idea of ​​putting pen to paper might be more terrifying than the story you’re trying to tell. Of course, this is not the situation for everyone, but it is certainly the case for neurodivergent authors. These are people who are so quickly forgotten. People who I believe overcome great adversity to tell the stories they write. There is tremendous passion behind their words and it shows on the page in their storytelling. Lor Gislason is one such person. They are the author of some of the most vile and disturbing horrors I have ever read. It is absolutely divine! Lor is a very dedicated member of the horror community, and their first novel will be released on October 10, 2022. This gooey, grimy collection is not to be missed.

Welcome Lore! What can you tell us about yourself?

I’m Lor, a non-binary (they/them) autistic writer from Vancouver Island, Canada! I started writing in 2020, mostly non-fiction, expressing my love for horror. I gradually started writing fiction and now my performance is about 50/50. I post a lot of photos of my cat, Pierogi.

Where can readers find your nonfiction work?

You can find my writings on Horror Obsessive, Hear Us Scream, Neon Splatter and my personal blog, lorgislason.wordpress.com.

How did you get the nickname, Goop Maestro?

I think I used the word “Goop” to describe my writing and it stuck, haha. Now it’s kind of my mark. Plus, it’s fun to pick up the word of a certain wellness brand…

The Maestro part came from my friend Shelley, and I loved it right away. I am like a driver of carnage.

As a body horror connoisseur, are there any authors whose work in indie horror you recommend?

Oh my god, there have been so many great releases lately. Help meeting by Naben Ruthnum, The maggots scream! by Max Booth III, One hand to hold, one hand to carve by Mr. Shaw, Joe Koch’s Convulsive collection… I could be here all day.

Rumor has it that you have a delightfully goop-filled body horror book coming out very soon. What can you tell us about Upside down?

Upside down is part short story, part novel, in which each segment follows a different character, all in the same world. People start to melt and all hell breaks loose. It has an overarching story and multiple illustrations from artists in the horror community, like Enoch Duncan and Trevor Henderson!

I already had the chance to read the book and loved every gooey bit of it. The cover design also got a lot of attention. I feel like it’s a good representation of what readers can expect from the book. Who is the artist? What prompted you to choose them?

Isn’t it beautiful?! The artist is Eduardo Valdés-Hevia. He does photo manipulation, creating cryptids and found footage phenomena that each have a little story to go with them. I started chatting with him as a fellow horror weirdo and pitched the idea for what became the melting woman, and Ed had some great suggestions. He has done covers and fake postcards for his Patreon before, so I was sure he would pull it off. It was a very smooth process (haha) working with him!

I am legally blind and people are always surprised by the things I do on a daily basis. It’s weird to hear that because I was born with this disability, so I just did things differently. Things that people normally need to see to do. What I’m saying is that people have no idea. Neurotypical people do not know or understand what someone on the spectrum does in their daily life to deal with sensory issues. Is there anything you do in your writing routine that helps you put words on the page? Something you think neurotypical writers wouldn’t need to do to write?

I definitely need both the right headspace and the right noise level to be able to write. I know a lot of people write with background music, but I can’t do that. Most of my thoughts come up when I’m trying to fall asleep, so I keep my phone under my pillow. If I don’t notice it, it just disappears. Honestly, my memory is pretty bad.

I know everyone on the spectrum has different obstacles, but I’ve heard that one thing in particular is particularly difficult for writers. Is sensory overload or autistic burnout something that affects your writing? Do you do anything preventative?

Fortunately, I don’t get much sensory overload since I’m home most of the time, but when I go out I have a specific music playlist to get me through things.

Burnout is something I deal with a lot, which can be frustrating. I try to see it in a positive light. Even if I don’t write, I’m still creative; I watch movies, read books and interact with the horror community! It’s easy to be hard on yourself.

I believe in authors who write a diverse cast of characters. In my opinion, readers get a lot of value from linked characters. I know I would like to know more about people with disabilities like me. Have you ever tried to write autistic characters? Are they present in your work?

I think my writing is inherently autistic, although some characters more so than others. Aspects of myself or things that happened to me are sprinkled here and there. I describe actions and the physical world more than I use character dialogue, which I find (to me at least) can feel unnatural or forced. I’m like, “wait, do people talk like that?” and find a way around it.

Are there autistic authors or books that have helped you on your writing journey?

I confess that I haven’t read many books by autistic authors, which I should change. Especially in the world of horror. Temple Grandin is an extremely inspiring writer and scientist whom I recommend however!

Is there anything you are currently working on that readers should be excited about?

I have a few things in the works! I’m working on Bound In Flesh: An Anthology Of Trans Body Horror with Ghoulish Books, scheduled for next April. The stories are amazing!! We also had first-time submissions, which is such an honor.

Shelley Lavigne and I are writing The sea of ​​flesh, a gay and crude novel of Darwinian pirates of the Galapagos. It’s such a pleasure to write with them, we get along really well.

Then Shelley, Eric Raglin and I work on Sick! Goop Troop Stories. We’re sort of known for our penchant for the crude, and often get frustrated with submission calls that rule out more extreme horror… so it was perfect to work on something together.

It all sounds amazing! In fact, I read some of the stories. They even came with a warning. You said, “we mean it when we call these sick stories”. YOU DIDN’T PLEASE! Surely they were sick in the best possible way. I can’t wait to read the sequel. Who do you think will piss off readers the most? So far, is there a particular story that has made you…uncomfortable?

Eric has a story called “Baby Face” that somehow manages to be both absolutely disgusting and heartbreaking. I don’t know how he does it!!

What is one thing you want readers to know about your new book, Upside down?

It’s just amazing to be able to share my story with the world and I can’t wait for people to finally read it. I have a few tracks that didn’t make it, so maybe a sequel will come in the future!

I’m sure this is just the beginning for you, Lor. You are an incredibly talented writer and a real asset to the horror community.

Thanks for being such a supportive person, Andrew! I feel very lucky to be where I am, surrounded by weird comrades.

Obtain Upside down at Amazon


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