Author Spotlight: Deb Hoag

Deb Hoag, for anyone who's read Polluto, is one of our favourite new authors. And with good reason.

Deb and I first met back on Orson Scott Card's wonderful Hatrack River Writer's Workshop, along with fellow contributor for Issue 4, Anne Pinckard. Deb was one of the most attentive workshoppers, who really read everything I'd sent her and gave invaluable comments regarding every letter. She also wasn't put off by some of the more . . . extreme stories I've written. Little did I know, back then, that this mother of many was just as much a deviant as I was.

When Polluto first formed in my manic, daydreaming mind, Deb was immediately interested. In the early call for submissions, I'd mentioned types of stories that might appear in the mag, including one about a battered wife werewolf. This was the seed for the first of Deb's anti-genre works: 'Wereworlf of Sappho'. Teaming up with Vince Locke, who illustrated the story, she received good reviews from the likes of The Fix and Whispers of Wickedness, and she's stuck along for the ride. With each issue, her stories get darker, funnier and more appropriate to the concoction of perversions Polluto has become.

Crashin' the Real is tamer than her 'Sex in the Time of VHS' story (Polluto 3), or the queer politics of Queer & Loathing on the Yellow-Brick Road (originally a short story in Polluto 4, but now a novel due out summer 2012), and this is perhaps her returning to the beginning and explaining who she is and why she writes what she does. Until I read Crashin' the Real, I knew a whole lot less about our Deb. This story of one ageing punk journalist's quest for Steven Tyler is partly biographical, and this infuses the text with a raw, confessional energy and an emotional impact her shorter, more kickass stories haven't had (or needed). But that aside, it's just as much rollicking fun as anything else she's written. In fact, it's fucking hilarious, and is guaranteed to make you love her journalist heroine, for better or for worse.

Other projects from Deb include the intriguing Dragula, which is an account of what happens when Dracula meets Dr Freud. But that, dear readers, is for another time.