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A Point of Pride 2024: An Interview With J.P. Jackson



What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always been a big reader. When I was in my teens, in the 80s, and figuring out who I was and my orientation, there weren’t any books that reflected me or guys like me. If there were gay characters they were side stories, often made out to be broken individuals, or mentally unstable, the first to die, or worse, the villain or antagonist of the story – because their sexual orientation made them that way. I didn’t like that. In my 40s, I started to review my accomplished bucket list of items and realized that writing had always been on there, but I hadn’t done anything about it. I started writing. But more importantly, I created worlds where the main characters were part of the LGBTQ+ world. I wanted people within my community to see that we could be the heroes. More importantly, I wanted the rest of the world to see that queer folk could be the heroes.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
There is something dangerous, erotic, and sinister about the dark side. For me, it’s an equal amount of aphrodisiac and repellant. I want to be scared, but not too much. I want to dance with the demons, but not get eaten by them. Horror allows me to indulge in a whole bunch of “what if” situations, without the cops getting involved. Horror lets me play with my dark side, explore the demons within, and without. I can poke a stick into the inky blackness and see what grabs hold.

Do you make a conscious effort to include LGBTQ material in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray?
As I mentioned above – everything I write is from an LGBTQ+ perspective. Every story I write will have one of my rainbow siblings as the main character – because we deserve that. We get to see ourselves in these stories. We get to be the star, the hero, the final girl, or the gurl, as the case may be. I won’t write non-queer fiction. I just can’t. This is too important. We need diversity in our publishing and as much as the industry screams at us that they want it – what they are comfortable with is very bland, straight-washed versions of queer culture. Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy to see that more and more of my people are being portrayed, but I’m not convinced that they are showing every aspect of what it means to be us. Admittedly, we can be outlandish, strange, and often over-the-top. But I would never apologize for that, in fact, I celebrate our uniqueness.

What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?
The world is a brutal, messy, monstrous place, even though its beauty runs in parallel. Take a look at nature – there are so many stunningly beautiful aspects to it – from wide sweeping landscapes, stunningly different biodiversity, and complex ecosystems. But nature is also brutal, gory, and cruel. Horror is nothing more than recognizing both sides. The beauty, and the beast have equal parts to play. We are both light and dark. I know I have that in myself – I can be an absolute gentleman. I can also be an incredibly barbaric and vicious monster if I choose.

How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?
Keep in mind I’m in my 50s – so my first exposure to the horror genre started out with 1970s movies and books. Back then, what I was exposed to was more psychological and paranormal. Books like The Exorcist, The Amityville Horror, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Omen… they weren’t graphic in their depictions on screen. But they made your brain think the absolute worst. I find horror movies and books now splatter everything out before you, entrails and all. Slasher and torture porn are big. We want more scare, more realism, more death. And I’ll be honest, that’s not my cup of tea. I want to be scared, but I want it to play on my own inner fears. I want the stimulus to linger, fester, and allow my brain to come up with something even worse. I think the industry will continue to try and find new ways of taking the fear to the next level – when really, I’d like to see it return to its roots and wheedle its way into my brain, like a deadly parasite.

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?
In the past – like when I was growing up? I honestly can’t think of a horror film or popular book with queer people in it – that had positive representation – not negative – and there were loads of examples to choose from on that front: think The Silence of the Lambs – more than problematic. Iconic, but what a horrid representation. Looking back into the recent past, I’m more than encouraged when I see roles like Layfayette in True Blood, the myriad of queer characters in Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story, and most recently, the amazing portrayal of Bill and Frank (A love story in the midst of a zombie apocalypse) in The Last of Us. So, we’re getting there. In recent years the amount of queer horror fiction has increased. Slasher Crasher by David Nora was brilliant (very much a 1980s take on Slasher films like Friday the 13th and Scream). Similarly, David Eric Roman’s book Long Night at Lake Never had this similar feel, but with more paranormal twists to it as a serial killer reanimates from the dead at a conversion camp. Rick R. Reed has some wonderfully horrific novels. In particular, IM (Instant Message) is situated in the world of online dating and hookup apps. But I think we can do more. I want to see more. I’d like to have queer people as the final guy/girl/trans/non-binary person left alive. I want the haunted house to be filled with poltergeists because of the troubled emotions of someone who’s discovering their sexuality. I think there’s room for us to be centered in those stories without us being the psychopath causing the deaths, or the horror. We are not the horror.

Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ characters in horror?
Hands down Layfayette from True Blood. “Tip your waitress.” The AIDS Burger scene was hands down the best. Charlie, from Supernatural, Sam and Dean’s “witchy lesbian sister” was another fabulous portrayal. But I struggle to conjure up more characters. This is why we need representation, and more importantly, memorable roles.

Who are some LGBTQ horror authors you recommend our audience check out?
I listed three above. David Nora, David Eric Roman, Rick R Reed, but also check out Christian Baines, and maybe me … LOL.

What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
Spin it. Take the tales we know and love and breathe some fresh air into them. Create your own cannon. Rebuild and re-envision the monsters. Get brutal. Don’t hold back. You can always edit. Don’t constrain yourself. Take the bridle out of your mouth and run free, be wild, summon all the dark things. Don’t be afraid and let it all loose. Step outside the salt circle and see what happens.

And to the LGBTQ writers out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?
Write the book. Don’t just wish you had done it. Set aside the time and do it. You can always edit and rewrite and correct something that has been created. But you can’t do much with a blank page. Don’t worry about what others have done – or if it might be too similar to something else – I guarantee you, if you write something, it will become someone’s favorite story.


J.P. Jackson is an award-winning author of dark urban fantasy, paranormal, and even paranormal romance stories, but regardless of the genre, they always feature LGBTQ main characters.
J.P. works as an IT analyst in healthcare during the day, where if cornered he’d confess to casting spells to ensure clinicians actually use the electronic medical charting system he configures and implements.
At night, the writing happens, where demons, witches, and shapeshifters congregate around the kitchen table and general chaos ensues. His husband of 25 years has very firmly put his foot down on any further wraith summonings and regularly lines the doorway with iron shavings and salt crystals. Imps are most definitely not house-trainable. Ghosts appear at the most inopportune times, and the Fae are known for regular visits where a glass of wine is exchanged for a good ole story or two. Although the husband doesn’t know it, Canela and Jalisco, the two Chihuahuas, are in cahoots with the spell-casting.
J.P.’s other hobbies include hybridizing African Violets (thanks to grandma), extensive traveling, and, believe it or not, knitting.

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