An interview with Molly Tanzer, author of Vermilion

Recently, intrepid interviewer Sean M. Thompson spoke with author Molly Tanzer about Vermilion, the role of genre in fiction, and more. Here it is…

Molly Tanzer

What made you want to release Vermilion with Ross and Word Horde?

I’ve worked with Ross on a number of short projects, and over the years I’ve also enjoyed many of the novels he acquired and edited for Night Shade, so I’ve known for a long time that he’s a great editor. And, given that we once discussed our mutual love for the Mr. Vampire series of films, which in part inspired the book, I figured having my agent send it his way wasn’t a bad idea.

What do you think the role of genre is in fiction?

People have to figure out where to shelve books in bookshops!

This is actually something that’s been on my mind for a while. Genre tropes are fascinating things, and playing with them can be really fun. For example, I deliberately inverted the tropes of the Western for Vermilion. But, I also think genre can be a crutch; it can keep both writers and readers searching for the same things over and over again, or at least keep them comfortable with one thing instead of exploring.

Do you prefer dogs, or cats?


Do you have any writing rituals?

Every day, I get up, give myself a coffee enema, then submerge myself in a bathtub full of ice water for thirty minutes. I shiver myself dry after climbing onto the roof. Only then am I ready to strap my ankles into my inversion desk and write exactly 2500 words. The muse is cruel, but I must follow where she takes me.

Are you someone that comes up with story titles first, or do you usually come up with them later into the process?

It really depends! Vermilion wasn’t the original title of the novel, and yes, I did come up with that title before writing the novel. That happens for me just as frequently as writing something and then struggling like hell to figure out what to call it.

What’s your favorite Western?

In terms of Western films, I’d have to say a tie between Red River and The Good, The Bad, and the Weird. Novels, definitely True Grit.

Would you say that we are in the midst of a new weird renaissance?

No, I usually don’t say things like that!

Do you have any plans to delve into another less explored genre to do a mash up, such as…


Vermilion by Molly Tanzer

Ask for Vermilion wherever better books are sold.