The Ditch Drive-by: Lisa Tuttle

American-born, UK-based Lisa Tuttle is writer of science fiction, fantasy, and horror as well as an editor and reviewer. She was the 1974 winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, won the 1989 BSFA Award for Short Fiction for “In Translation”, and the 2007 International Horror Guild Award for “Closet Dreams”.

Her novels include the Locus Award-nominated Windhaven (with George R. R. Martin), Lost Futures (nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke and James Tiptree, Jr. Awards nominees in 1992), and The Silver Bough. Her short story collections include Memories of the Body: Tales of Desire and Transformation and Ghosts and Other Lovers. Her non-fiction works include Encyclopedia of Feminism and Heroines: Women Inspired by Women.

Her A Book of Horrors tale is “The Man in the Ditch” and she stands firmly on the side of the donut.

1. If I wasn’t a writer I would …
… still write. If my life had turned out differently, perhaps I would be a journalist, or a librarian (full-time and qualified, rather than the “relief library assistant” I have had as a job description for the past decade or so).  Or if I hadn’t been too terrified by the required course in statistics, I might have got my degree in anthropology or linguistics. When I was a kid, “spy”, “reporter” and “explorer” were my favoured professions.

2. The Man in the Ditch sprang from …
… a combination of the photograph of the ancient and well-preserved corpse (possibly a human sacrifice) on the cover of “The Bog People” by P. V. Glob with the flat, beautiful, eerie landscapes of Norfolk which I’ve been visiting at least a couple of times a year for the past two decades.

3. Did you set out to be a horror writer or simply a writer?
I was first a reader and then a writer. I read all kinds of things, and the same is true of what I write.   I used to be asked this question in regards to science fiction.  I don’t think of myself as a “horror writer” although I have written horror stories — I don’t really like the idea of horror as a genre, and hope most of my writing manages to escape easy classification. If it has to be classified, “horror” would be far from my first choice. How about you?

4. What makes a character irresistible? 
I don’t understand the question.

5. Donuts or danishes?
I find the plain glazed donuts sold in Dunkin’ Donuts so utterly irresistible that if I didn’t live more than 100 miles from the nearest outlet I would by now be the size of a house. Cake donuts I can resist; also the kind with jelly in the middle; but as for the beau ideal of donutness, I can only echo the great Homer Simpson:  dohhhhhhh nuts…..!


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