In the book “Profanos: Histórias de Terror e Mistério” written by Orlando Rodrigues, an author from Goiás specializing in suspense and horror, true terror does not reside in supernatural beings such as vampires, werewolves or demons. On the contrary, all disturbing and threatening situations are caused by ordinary human beings, people who could go unnoticed in society.
In this collection of eight short stories of psychological suspense, the author takes a penetrating look at the terror present in the darkest cases of everyday life, which often stamp the headlines of newspapers. Abusive relationships, femicide, serial murders and psychological problems are some of the topics addressed. “This book is not just a fantasy work. It dives into extremely real subjects of our day to day”, explains Orlando Rodrigues.
In “The House of Seven Mirrors”, a man and a woman decide to decorate their new apartment with mirrors inspired by the teachings of the Essenes, a Jewish sect that classified human relationships based on these objects. However, this decision calls into question the sanity of the protagonists, who gradually lose the boundaries between reality and madness.
Another intriguing tale is “O Gato”, which tells the story of a man obsessed with death. After lengthy research, he embarks on experiments to understand the process of dying in other living creatures. This story is continued in a separate book, which will be the author’s next release.
Through short narratives that explore human subjectivity in a raw way, Orlando Rodrigues captivates the public with harrowing plots and unpredictable outcomes. Inspired by horror masters such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King, and also influenced by successful series such as “American Horror Story” and “Supernatural”, the author exposes the monstrosity present in everyday life that many prefer to ignore.
Orlando Rodrigues is a writer from Goiás recognized for his works of terror and suspense, with “Profanos: Histórias de Terror e Mistério” being his most recent publication. In addition to this title, he has in his curriculum other notable works such as “Don’t Leave Me Here”, “Terror: When Leaving, Don’t Turn Off the Light” and “O Fio da Meada: A Frontier Between Good and Evil”. Parallel to his career in literature, Orlando Rodrigues works in the business sector as an administrator with a focus on human resources. He is a Master in Educational Sciences, professor and organizational consultant.
The book “Profanos: stories of terror and mystery” addresses the terror present in everyday and real situations. What was the inspiration behind this approach and why did you choose to explore the darker side of human nature?
The inspiration came exactly from everyday facts, mainly cases of femicide, child sexual abuse and a multitude of barbaric crimes that occur in the homes of ordinary people. Exploring this dark and obscure side is actually a denunciation, a cry of fear related to these increasingly commonplace crimes.
In “A Casa dos Sete Espelhos”, the protagonists lose the line between sanity and madness when they decorate their apartment with mirrors inspired by the Essenes. How did you build this narrative and how does it reflect the fragility of the human mind?
The narrative was based mainly on how people are influenced by media appeals, beliefs or beliefs, to the point of losing their own reason. The protagonists, even the most skeptical (the husband), let themselves be carried away by preconceived ideas about myths and beliefs, causing evil ideas to sprout in their subconscious that became internalized in their minds. It is possible to observe this in the daily lives of many real-life people.
“O Gato” presents a man obsessed with death, who performs procedures to understand the process of dying in other living beings. Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind this story and how it ties into the next book you have in the works?
Death is, in a way, something terrifying for all of us, even knowing that it is inevitable. Darwin has in his coming context a series of traumas since childhood and a repressed hatred. The inspiration is based on an episode of my life, when I was still a child, in the first years of my school life, reading a textbook, I had the first notion of death, and that somehow terrified me. The scene of the kitten being murdered is based on a true event, where, as a child, I sacrificed a newborn kitten that was sick and I didn’t want to see it suffer. I love cats, I have two beautiful kittens at home. Perhaps it was a way of redeeming myself for the cruel act I committed in my infant innocence. The short story “The cat” seemed to ask me for a continuation, I felt the need to narrate the version of the facts by Death, the ghost cat, and Alice,
His short stories explore human subjectivity in a raw way, leading the public to harrowing narratives with unpredictable endings. How do you work on building these stories to engage and surprise readers?
I think that writing about suspense, terror and mystery should stir people’s feelings in a disturbing and somewhat distressing way, so that the reader is interested in knowing what the end of the narrative will be. Writing horror stories is always a big challenge. Sometimes when I write I feel anxious myself. I hope readers feel the same way.
What were the main literary and cultural influences that shaped your writing style? How do these references manifest themselves in your tales of terror and mystery?
My references come from horror classics in cinema and literature, from Alfred Hitchcock in cinema, Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King in literature. I conduct myself in writing based on the styles of these great masters.
In addition to your career in literature, you are also active in business and have a background in human resources. How do you reconcile these two areas and how does your professional experience influence your writing?
I worked for many years as a banker, 27 years at Caixa Econômica Federal, and then I started to work in consulting, in addition to teaching. The pandemic was a great watershed in my life, where I stopped all professional activities to dedicate myself only to writing. Even so, I still occasionally act in entrepreneurial mode. Writing comes from my childhood days. Professional activity helped me in technical books I wrote on management and articles on coaching and leadership. But writing fiction is what makes my eyes shine.
How do you hope readers will react to reading “The Profane: Stories of Horror and Mystery”? What message would you like to convey through these stories?
My expectation is that readers feel uncomfortable with the banality of everyday real crimes, so trivialized in our society. Showing this through fictional texts is a not very explicit way (I think) of saying enough of violence, enough of femicide, enough of pedophilia. I always say that fictional horror is fantasy. It’s real-life terror that’s amazing.
Follow Orlando Rodrigues on Instagram