Friday, June 07, 2024

20Q7A: An interview with Chris DiLeo

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of genre fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions, but they may only answer 7.

Our latest guest is Chris DiLeo.


What's your latest book, and how does it differ from your previous work?

My latest book is What Ever Happened to Jo Rose? It's about a young woman who looks after an aging actress, who may be part of a cabal of women hunting male sexual predators. It's different from my other work in a very distinct way: it's the first full length piece I've written from a woman's first person point of view. I'm very pleased with the results and I hope readers will be too.

Who or what is your favorite movie monster, and why?

Hannibal Lecter. I saw The Silence of the Lambs when I was eleven or twelve and I've never been the same. Lecter is such a wonderful monster because he's completely ruthless, intellectually brilliant, and totally civilized. I love that he has no qualms eating human flesh (and tearing off people's faces) and also finds discourtesy "unspeakably ugly." Society needs a Lecter or two.  

Are you most afraid of ghosts, aliens, or clowns, and why?

I'm tempted to say ghost aliens (or maybe ghost alien clowns!), but I'll go with ghosts. They're the most troubling. Can you imagine being a ghost? Don't you think it would drive you insane? And if you're the one encountering a ghost that's gone mad, how the hell are you supposed to deal with it?

Twilight Zone or Outer Limits?

Twilight Zone. When I was a kid, I frequently recited the opening monologue in my best Rod Serling voice. 

What happens when you die?

I love this question. You can't get it wrong! I find great comfort believing that when we die there's nothing else. No afterlife. No ghosts (insane or otherwise). Certainly no Heaven or Hell. We cease to exist and that's it. On the other hand, my imagination is always speaking up, Sure, okay, but what if . . . ? 

What's the most disgusting thing about the human body?

Well, if Jo Rose from my book is answering this question she might say, All the ways it can be debased and mutilated. She's got her reasons. 

What's your secret?

Not sure I have a secret, but when it comes to writing my guiding principle is keep going. The only person who can make me stop is me. I go to the page to have fun and learn something about human nature. Simply, I do it because I love it. Go forth and do it for love.


Chris DiLeo is the author of numerous novels, an AuthorCon Gross-Out Champion, and a high school English teacher in New York. His work is visceral and emotional, engaging and thought-provoking. He has gathered praise from bestselling authors, including Michael Marshall and Michael Koryta.

"DiLeo is a remarkable writer, with a clear ability to evoke character, conjure dread — and to do whatever it is that drives the reader to keep turning the pages, one by one, and faster and faster." —Michael Marshall

"[DiLeo's work] does what the best supernatural fiction must—ground the terror in the human heart. Chris DiLeo delivers . . . with a skilled, steady hand. Follow him into the dark!" —Michael Koryta

Born to highly educated parents, DiLeo grew up in a house filled with books. His father loved horror and Halloween so much he had a coffin bookcase built to house his horror collection and out of which he would emerge to frighten trick-or-treaters. When DiLeo's father died, eleven-year-old DiLeo dared to read the books in his father's collection. Stephen King. Richard Matheson. Ray Bradbury. Dennis Etchison. Shirley Jackson. DiLeo fell in love.

He wrote his first novel at 19 and never looked back. He loves stories that force characters into extreme situations, those scenarios where there's no choice but to confront the monster. Horror stories for DiLeo are about finding courage and hope in the throes of a nightmare. His novels have been published by Bloodshot Books, Bleeding Edge Press, Journal Stone, and Grindhouse Press. His work has also appeared in Pseudopod, The No Sleep Podcast, and Nightmare Magazine.

He is active on social media. Connect with him @authordileo.