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A Point of Pride 2024: An Interview with Lindsay King-Miller



What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve loved writing for so long I can’t remember starting! I was writing short stories at least as far back as second grade, maybe earlier. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and whenever I read something that I really love, I have to try to figure out how to do it myself.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?

Again, I can’t really tell you how I first discovered my love of horror, because I don’t remember ever not loving it. I fell for horror novels first, following the standard ‘90s kid progression: Goosebumps, then Fear Street, then Christopher Pike, then Stephen King. I couldn’t resist the lurid, neon-splattered covers, the breathlessly insane plot twists, the lavish descriptions of monsters. At sleepovers, I nourished my secret passion for scary movies my parents wouldn’t let me watch at home. Getting away with something was part of the appeal, but mostly I couldn’t get enough of the adrenaline spike, the jump scares that made me shriek and then dissolve into laughter at myself. In adulthood, I’ve become harder to scare, but I still love that feeling and seek it out. There’s catharsis in horror, as well as the opportunity to process extreme emotions with relatively low stakes.

Do you make a conscious effort to include LGBTQ material in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray?

Almost all of my story ideas are queer-centric from the start. It’s not something I make an effort to include; it’s already there. Queerness shapes how I see the world, so it also shapes my inspiration and the stories I want to tell. I’m not particularly interested in teaching straight people about queerness, or earning their empathy–if that happens, great, but it’s not my goal. I want to portray queer characters who are complicated, messy, and probably wouldn’t be considered “good representation” or “positive role models.” I don’t want to argue for our humanity. I want to write us as full human beings, with all the ugliness that can be included.

What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?

More than anything, I think writing horror has taught me how to process grief. I have this theory that fear and sorrow are intimately connected and that what’s truly terrifying is what breaks you heart. So to write something scary, you have to be really comfortable with grief. I’ve had to get up close to my worst, most painful losses and look at how they work, examine those terrible emotions until I could describe them in perfect anatomical detail. I’ve also had to learn when I can’t do that because I have more healing to do first. All of that has made me more in touch with my own emotions and, I think, more able to handle them in a healthy way.

How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?

Horror is growing, and I love that! There’s just so much horror these days, and tons of it comes from people who have historically been underrepresented in the genre and in literature as a whole–not just LGBTQ people but people of color, people with disabilities, people from the global south, and so on. This is amazing, not because it checks representation boxes, but because it offers so many more perspectives and ideas and stories, and makes the genre much richer and more interesting. I also love seeing middle-grade and YA horror grow as more publishers realize that kids adore horror and want as much of it as they can get.

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?

Horror has long been a genre in which LGBTQ people have found themselves when we couldn’t in the mainstream. We’ve always identified with the monsters, the others, the outcast and vilified, so horror has offered us representation even when its creators might not have meant to do that (and often when they did, but couldn’t say so out loud). I’m grateful that today it’s much safer to write and talk about queerness openly, but I don’t have much interest in trying to write aspirational queer characters. I don’t come to horror for moral instruction. I love this genre for giving us room to express ourselves at our worst.

Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ characters in horror?

Gilda from Jewelle Gomez’s The Gilda Stories is an all-time great lesbian vampire, and I can never recommend that book enough! The first gay character I ever remember encountering in a horror novel was Spencer in Christopher Pike’s The Midnight Club. I loved him as a kid, and I really enjoyed how William Chris Sumpter portrayed the character in the Netflix adaptation. Also, you’ll never convince me that Nancy from The Craft isn’t bisexual.

Who are some LGBTQ horror authors you recommend our audience check out?

I’m terrified of this question because there are SO MANY who are amazing and I don’t want to leave people out! I’m sure everyone’s reading Hailey Piper and Gretchen Felker-Martin already, but if you aren’t, you know, get on that. Paula D. Ashe’s collection We Are Here To Hurt Each Other contains some of the most terrifying short stories I’ve ever read. Rivers Solomon. Eric LaRocca. M. Lopes da Silva. Alison Rumfitt. Emmett Nahil. Thomas Olde Heuvelt. Matthew Lyons. Cynthia Gómez has a short story collection coming out this year, The Nightmare Box, that is very queer and absolutely brilliant. And what’s wonderful is that this is just off the top of my head. There are so many more! We’re everywhere! There could be a queer horror writer in your house right now!

What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?

I think the darkest fear lives very close to the deepest grief. You can write about what scares you, but I think to be truly frightening you also have to write about what makes you cry.

And to the LGBTQ writers out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?

Be brave; be resilient; stick with it. Getting published can take a long time, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get there. See other writers as your friends and colleagues, not as your competition. And when you get something published, let me know, because I’m always looking for new queer stuff to read!

Lindsay King-Miller is the author of Ask a Queer Chick: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life for Girls Who Dig Girls (Plume, 2016) and The Z Word (Quirk, 2024). Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Fireside Fiction, Baffling Magazine, The Deadlands, and numerous other publications. Her second novel This Is My Body is forthcoming from Quirk Books in 2025. She lives in Denver, CO with her partner and their two children.

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