Author Interview: Tamara Romero

Despite what you will no doubt see on world news in the coming weeks, Leaky Libido is not a breeding ground for sub-par boy bands. The allegations–that we take disenfranchised, disillusioned and angry young males into our training camps, where we train them to sing to a low standard, dress them like communists (ie. the same) and send them into the world to wreak havoc by becoming unattainable objects for a whole generation of women, turning them off less attractive men (ie. the entire male population), and thus, causing the inevitable collapse of western civilisation through a lack of workers–are spurious and facetious. It is an ad-hoc story concocted by a discontent author named Tamara Romero, who is upset at the outcome of a game of charades we played last spring. We won’t go into details, there’s no need to open that can of worms again. We will beat this!

As you can no doubt tell from this photo, Tamara is a whizz at charades. She even once beat the Queen.

As you can no doubt tell from her sly smile in this photo, Tamara Romero is a whizz at charades. She even once beat the Queen. With her eyes closed.

In the interest of full disclosure, however, we will admit to taking disenfranchised, disillusioned and angry young males into our training camps, where we train them to sing to a low standard, dress them like communists (ie. the same) and–this is important–give them spiffing new and unique haircuts to create a distinct personality for each member. What they do once we have established them as a band of boys is entirely up to them and we are in no way responsible or liable for any damage they cause to humanity. We merely do it for the love.

In lieu of financial reparations, Leaky Libido has decided to take matters into its own hands. Below you will find a detailed account of the time we caught up with Tamara and decided to fish for some juicy gossip that we can use to destroy her and all she stands for!

*Warning: We were amped up at having discovered Tamara in Japan (she claimed to be there “travelling”, but we suspect she had ulterior motives), and we may have gotten a little shouty during the interrogation interview.*

Leaky Libido: Aha! We found you! You thought you could escape to Japan to avoid our merciless clutch? You were wrong! Now, for our records, tell us who you are and a little about yourself.

Tamara Romero: I’m Tamara. I’m from Barcelona. I read all the time, I hang out with friends, I work, I go to the cinema and I write strange fiction. This is basically myself right now.

Leaky Libido: Ook! Let the record show that Tamara is a Spaniard! The evidence just keeps on piling up! You say you write strange fiction, eh? Tell us, young maiden, what have you written?

Tamara Romero: Her Fingers. Have you heard about it? It’s a bizarro novella published last November by Eraserhead Press. The protagonists are a witch and a scientist. He has a weird disease and lives in a cabin. One day, he finds the witch floating in the river and saves her life. Then he realizes that her fingers are actually steel replicas. They’ll spend a couple of days together in order to find out what’s going on, and why were they attracted to each other. Actually it’s a story about social control and the sequels of a dictatorship.

Her Fingers

Tamara had the audacity to whip a copy of her book out right then and there. The cover art is by Alfonso Casas.

Leaky Libido: Of course we’ve heard of it! It sounds fantastic by the way. And the cover art is really cool. I mean, yeah, just wow… you know, you’re not such a bad person. Maybe we’re wrong about the boy bands… Maybe we should– NO! We must soldier on! Answer us this: what was it that made you want to write?

Tamara Romero: I’ve always written, but I took it more seriously after reading Perdido Street Station, many years ago. I thought: ‘I want to do something like this’. I started doing it secretly. Actually, I wrote Her Fingers five years ago.

Leaky Libido: As we suspected! You’re digging yourself a hole here, Tamara. A deep and unforgiving hole! Now, tell us, how did you come to write bizarro?!

Tamara Romero: It’s been a happy coincidence. I found out about bizarro and Eraserhead Press only last year. I read about their New Bizarro Author Series, and I told them about my old drowned witch story. I thought it could fit in perfectly and they liked it. Last year was all about finding out about this amazing genre and its very talented authors. I like the network, the people, the Con, the books…and I’m having a fantastic time discovering bizarro and somewhat being part of it this year too!

Leaky Libido: So you admit to it being a coincidence? The world will not look kindly on this outrage! Though, truth be told, we’re glad you did discover it, as it has led to Her Fingers being published in English, which, in our ignorance, is the only language we have learned… for shame. See how you shame us even now, Tamara? Why won’t you just let us live in peace?!

On a side note, who are some of your favourite authors?

Tamara Romero:  I enjoy reading classic sci fi and fantasy, like Ursula K. Le Guin or Philip K. Dick short stories. I like Victorian lit, Russian masters, wises… Some of my favourite authors are China Miéville, Jeff Noon, Clive Barker, Dennis Cooper, Irvine Welsh, H.P. Lovecraft, Jeff Vandermeer, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Carlton Mellick, Poppy Z. Brite… I also think I have a bit of a trauma after reading too many Enid Blyton books as a child!

Leaky Libido: Oh no, don’t try for pity points now! Everybody can see that you’re evil! Well, perhaps only 3% evil, or maybe even less… You must have some bad bones in your body! Perhaps if we try a different angle… We’ve got it! What are some of your influences outside of writing?

Tamara Romero: I’d say traveling and movies. Travels have always been a big source of stories and ideas for my writings. I try to travel abroad at least twice or three times in a year if I can. I don’t like spending a lot money on objects, you know, owning stuff, and I try to travel instead. My best trips so far have been to Mexico and the USA West Coast. Watching lots of movies of all kinds has also helped me to write, especially decent dialogues, which has always been quite difficult for me. The work of some specific directors has been very inspiring too: Polanski, Cronenberg, Dario Argento, Mike Leigh… ok. This list could be endless.

Leaky Libido: We would love to go travelling too, however, we’re so busy training to be hairdressers that we just don’t get the time… Oh well. We get to listen to great music when we cut the boys’ hair at least. Do you listen to music when you write?

Tamara Romero: When writing, I like quiet stuff like Band of Horses, Elliott Smith, Cat Power, or soundtracks. Nothing too intense, because I can get easily distracted.

Leaky Libido: We like to listen to bands of boys we’ve raised. It gives us an ego boost to hear our boys belting out notes. Though, at the same time, we hate it because they get all the girls, still that’ll all end soon… What do you hate?

Tamara Romero: Bad karma. Bad karma in places, people, and people with bad halos or an intense negativity. I don’t know if ‘hate’ is the exact word but I just try to stay away, and I notice bad karma very quickly.

Leaky Libido: Oh, no wonder you ran to Japan then! You must have been running from the bad karma that you’ve accumulated over the last year spreading nasty rumours about Leaky Libido! Now, to really drive in the screws, what’s one thing you love?

Tamara Romero: I don’t know what you’re talking about. “Nasty rumours.” You know I love Leaky Libido with all of my heart! Oh, and I love exotic shorthair cats.

Leaky Libido: Well, Tamara. We just happen to have an exotic short haired cat right here,

A short haired cat.

Don’t worry, the cat is a senseless creature with no organs. We assure you, we tested it thoroughly to be certain.

and if you don’t admit to your sins, this little kitty will go play in the road.

Tamara Romero: Your karma is gonna be soooo bad after this. I never said anything bad about Leaky Libido. Don’t harm the kitty!

Leaky Libido: If not you, then who? OH MY GOD! I know who… Andrew Wayne Adams! That (probably not) nazi! He’s had it in for us since that time we publicly called him out on being a nazi sympathiser. We are so sorry, Tamara, this was just one huge mistake. You’re free to go. I mean, you were never even a prisoner, right? Right?

Tamara Romero: Leaky Libido did nothing to harm me or the kitty during this “interview.” Happy? Can I go?

Leaky Libido: Extremely happy! To clarify: Tamara Romero is a wonderful human, and saved a kitten’s life during this interview. Oh, one last thing… Can you sum up your life philosophy in 5 words?

Tamara Romero: DO WHAT YOU REALLY LIKE. That’s 5, right? CAN I GO?

Leaky Libido: Do what we really like? WELL IN THAT CASE:

BEHOLD! Our mighty plan to turn every woman off “normal men” by producing super sexy pop stars and arranging them into bands of boys through our training camps!!

You look stunned, Tamara. Perhaps you didn’t envision your philosophy being used too such a despicable end? Perhaps you want a coffee to soften the blow? How do you take it?

Tamara Romero: In a very specific Spongebob mug.

Leaky Libido: Fantastic! While we sip our coffee and allow the ghastly shock to sink in proper, perhaps we could read some of your short stories online?

Tamara Romero: You know what? I’ve always written long pieces. I have a long novel on the works, and just now I’m discovering that I dig writing short stories too. You can’t read any of them yet, (hopefully soon!), meantime visit www.tamararomero.com for some updates. There you can also check the first chapter of Her Fingers there.

Leaky Libido: In light of this revelation, Leaky Libido has decided to destroy all its prototype bands of boys and cease its evil plan to annihilate humanity. It’s probably just the coffee kicking in, but regardless of reasons, everybody in the world should thank Tamara Romero each and every morning they wake up. Without her, you would be suffering interminably. Thank you, Tamara. And… you, know… sorry about the whole threatening the cat etc.

Tamara Romero: Thank you, Leaky Libido, for having the decency not to end humanity.

*

If you enjoyed this interview, you may like to check out some other ones:

The gorgeoustiful G. Arthur Brown

The grandtasmical Gabino Iglesias

The justincredible J. W. Wargo

The awesplendif Andrew Wayne Adams

Don’t forget to show your love for all things bizarre by spreading the word about Leaky Libido, buying (my!) bizarro books and visiting Bizarro Central!

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