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A Point of Pride 2024: An Interview With Henry Corrigan



What inspired you to start writing?
I was inspired to write by the same thing that I think inspires a lot of people; great writing. I loved fairy tales when I was younger, King Arthur and his Knights, Goosebumps, Sherlock Holmes, Stephen King, and Anne Rice as I got older. I read those stories and immediately wanted to tell my own. I had a ton of fun immersing myself in these worlds and then seeing where I could take them. It gave me the understanding that I could be a storyteller someday.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
Horror is the place where I can be the dark, creepy kid without other people looking at me funny. When I was younger, I thought I was just this morbid little guy who always thought about the worst thing that could happen. It wasn’t until I got older (and went to therapy) that I understood I’d been living with depression and anxiety all my life. Once I understood that, horror took on a whole new dimension for me. It became the place where I could let my worst fears play out and gain catharsis. It’s both fun and therapeutic for me.

Do you make a conscious effort to include LGBTQ material in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray?
I always try to include LGBTQ characters because they weren’t something I found often when I was growing up, or at least ones who were written in a positive light. They were often twisted, dangerous creatures so when I set out to write my first novel, A Man In Pieces, I knew I wanted the antagonist to be a closeted gay man, but while I knew he’d be unlikeable, I needed to make sure he came across as a fully fleshed-out character. My intent was that you would feel for him by the end and I think I achieved that. A character can be both gay and dark, so long as you treat them like a person and not a stereotype. Coming up, I just signed a contract for a haunted house novella that features an out gay man as the protagonist and I’m currently revising a supernatural slasher featuring a quartet of LGBTQ characters, and I have a couple of projects planned that feature asexual secondary characters and bisexual MCs. My goal is to showcase these people as people. That they can be loving but also deeply flawed, the way all people tend to be.

What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?
Horror writing taught me that the world (and myself) can be bleak so it’s okay if I don’t concur whatever it is I set out to do. It’s perfectly fine if all I do is survive.

How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?
The horror genre has changed drastically over the years and that is specifically down to diversity and the acceptance of different types of stories. Way back in the day, queer characters, when they were included in fiction, were often twisted stereotypes and we’re still fighting against them to this day. But with the acceptance of queer creators and BIPOC authors, and with more full-fledged characters taking the stage, readers are finding themselves better reflected. And given all that we’ve been through in the last number of years, horror is perfectly positioned to offer new stories a platform. All the trans kids exiled from their homes, the immigrant children separated from their families, they’re gonna want to talk about what it was really like for them and those stories are gonna be horror through and through.

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?
LGBTQ characters, and the people they represent, haven’t gotten the best treatment when it comes to horror historically. But thankfully, that is changing. Despite bigotry and book-banning, people are continuing to reach out for more queer characters and creators. The LGBTQ community is constantly pushing for a better foothold and there are people in every community who are trying to help. Despite all the blood and gore, horror (and horror writers) are some of the most welcoming people you will ever come across. So my hope is that queer horror writers will continue to carve out a space for all the intersectionality that will come after us.

Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ characters in horror?
It definitely says something about me that one of my favorite queer horror characters is a villain. Hannibal Lecter is right at the top of the list, not simply because of the books, but because of the layered (and twistedly positive) relationship he had with Will Graham, in the Hannibal series. That was some of the best character development in fiction, regardless of medium. Beyond that, I really love Nothing from Drawing Blood. He is a very fluid character who holds a special place in my heart.

Who are some LGBTQ horror authors you recommend our audience check out?
I always recommend that people start with the classics. Oscar Wilde created one of the greatest psychological horror stories in The Picture of Dorian Gray. The gay subtext that is baked into Dorian’s relationships with the men of the book, their own self-hatred, and inability to admit their love, jealousy, and obsession for Dorian leads to terrible fates for the female characters. William J. Martin (formerly Poppy Z Brite) has written some of the best, most luscious stories I’ve ever read. Whether it is gothic horror or dark comedies, you are absolutely in for a treat when you read his work.

What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
Don’t be afraid to write about what you are afraid of. My first novel, A Man In Pieces, does not have any of the classic hallmarks of a horror story. But for me, it will forever be scary because it was where I could talk about what kept me up at night. Bills, mortgages, accidents, bad jobs with worse bosses. It was a story about being abused and broken down, and having something terrible happen to my family. Writing about what scared me not only made the story better, it helped me get a grip on my fears. It forced me to say, ‘Okay, this is the worst that could happen…now what?’ In my latest novella, for as much as it is a haunted house story, it’s more about growing up without a lot of money, and the
dangers of aspiration. My next novel is a supernatural slasher about whether the power of friendship can survive unfairness, cruelty, and toxic relationships. All of these things might be mundane to some, but the mundane is terrifying when you take a second to look at it. So, my best advice is, to write about what you’re really afraid of. I guarantee you’ll find monsters to fit the bill along the way.

And to the LGBTQ writers out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?
Put who you need in every story. For me, the characters are always what makes a great book, and the more I’ve grown as a writer, the more I’ve made it a point to put someone necessary in each story. Whether they are gay or straight-ish, very sexual or not at all, I think every story needs someone who jumps out to the reader and says, “Hey, we’ve got a lot in common! Why don’t you keep reading? We’ll get to know each other better.”

Henry Corrigan is a husband and father, bisexual creative, and emerging author who dreams of writing every kind of story. His debut horror novel, A Man in Pieces, won the Silver Medal from Literary Titan and was shortlisted for the Top 25 Indie Books of the Year. Always an avid horror fan, the first book Henry ever stole was a copy of Stephen King’s Night Shift. (His mother eventually stole it back.) He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and the admin for the Horror Writers Collaborative on Facebook.

As an obsessive, overly anxious person living with depression, he has dedicated himself to providing readers with the diverse, flawed characters that he desperately needed when he was growing up. But above all, he wants to be known for not staying where he’s been put. To always surprise people, especially himself. Because that’s what makes it fun. The feeling that even he doesn’t know what he’s going to do next.

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