Horror Writers Association Blog

A Point of Pride: Interview with Daniel M. Lavery

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Daniel M. Lavery is the author of Something That May Shock and Discredit You. He also writes The Chatner, a weekly newsletter about literature, humor, and pop culture.

What inspired you to start writing?
I really do think it’s as simple as I’ve always wanted to, and I’ve always enjoyed it.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
I think it might have been mass-market covers, honestly – I remember being really struck by the often really lurid covers for everything from Christopher Pike to Shirley Jackson when I was a kid browsing the library or secondhand bookstore, and that’s a big part of what got my attention as an early reader. Those keyhole covers for V.C. Andrews books, too, although they’re almost a genre unto themselves. So purple! So strange! And the promise that things were going to get weird.

Do you make a conscious effort to include LGBTQ material in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray?
I think it comes fairly naturally to me, but of course that’s not at odds with the idea of conscious effort. It really depends on the type of writing, I know, but if we’re strictly talking horror then I want to portray something interestingly and uniquely upsetting.

What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?
It’s helped me to think about cruelty in more finely-detailed ways, and it’s been very pleasurable. That last part might not really count as teaching, I’m afraid.

How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?
I look forward to finding out! But I’m a lousy guesser.

How do you feel the LGBTQ community has been represented thus far in the genre and what hopes do you have for representation in the genre going forward?
I’m not entirely sure how to answer this one! It’s such a broad genre that I’m not really sure if I could begin to categorize LGBT+ characterization entirely. I’m not sure ‘representation’ is exactly the right word here. It makes sense to me to talk about “representation” in, say, film, because there are actual queer actors/cinematographers/make-up artists/key grips/etc to be hired and represented both in front of the camera and behind it, but not about fictional characters. I don’t hope for anything beyond interestingly-drawn queer characters, carefully and skillfully written, at least when it comes to fiction. I would enjoy seeing more queer authors getting paid and published; that does seem like a meaningful example of representation.

Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ characters in horror?
I do like the titular Eileen, and Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca is a classic for a reason.

Who are some LGBTQ horror authors you recommend our audience check out?
Michael McDowell (The Elementals was reissued in 2014 and The Amulet in 2015). I’m looking forward to Gretchen Felker-Martin’s Manhunt, having really enjoyed Ego Homini Lupus. I think some of Patricia Highsmith’s books shade into horror, and I’d particularly recommend A Dog’s Ransom and Edith’s Diary.

What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
Think terrible thoughts.

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