C.W. Blackwell was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California where he still lives today with his wife and two children. His passion is to blend poetic narratives with pulp dialogue to create strange and rhythmic genre fiction. He writes mostly crime fiction, dark fiction, and weird westerns. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
The Asterisk Anthology: Volume 2
1. What’s your favorite color and why?
I have unique relationship with color. By unique, I mean that I am severely “color blind.” It’s like taking the saturation setting down on a photograph so that it starts to wash out and the colors look the same. That said, I describe colors vividly in my writing. It’s as if I’m creating a fantasy world for myself where I have normal vision. Some of my scenes can be dripping with color, since that’s how I’d imagine it would look without the deficiency. All of this aside, I do see blue fairly well. My favorite shade is that inky blue-black that you see an hour after sunset, where it might take some deliberation to say whether there is any color left in the sky at all.
2. What Southern state and/or city do you like best, and why?
I’d like to pick something obscure, but it just wouldn’t be true. My favorite Southern city by far is New Orleans. I love the music, the way jazz simmers in the allies like a dark roux. I love seeing the steamboats on the Mississippi and the high balcony gardens. The cafes. The way people look you in the eye and say “good morning.” Did I mention the music? Bob Dylan said that New Orleans is one long poem, but I think every square inch of the city could be its own poem. I come from a tourist town, so I identify with the challenge of maintaining an identity despite the throngs of seasonal visitors. I admire the city’s struggle to hold on to what makes it so great.
3. What do you like most about Southern Gothic?
It’s tough to pick one thing. But I think the juxtaposition of beauty and depravity is what fascinates me the most. There’s a tradition of taking great care to describe the flora, the movements of insects, the colors of the sky. At the same time, you have violence and squalor. Depraved characters up to no good. I would almost give up a good plot just read about strange people moving through a beautiful landscape. Where I live on the Central Coast of California, we have these same contradictions. It’s not unusual to sift through the warm sand only to find a hypodermic needle buried just under the surface. I think my own experiences living in a beautiful area amid an epidemic of drug-fueled crime is why I identify with the genre.