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A Point of Pride 2024: An Interview with Nora B. Peevy



What inspired you to start writing?

I was a quiet child and came from a family of readers. I was also a child who had really bad asthma and allergies at a time when medicine hadn’t advanced enough to be enough of some help for five-year-old little me, which is when I started to entertain myself when I was in bed sick by writing my own stories and drawing illustrations for them. My third-grade creative writing teacher, who I have talked a lot about in my interviews because she will always be near and dear to my heart, also inspired me. It was the first time I realized I could author those books I saw in the library and make other people smile who might be stuck in bed like I was sometimes. And I did. And I have.

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

The raw grit and reality, the cathartic experience, the comradery. I grew up sheltered and wasn’t allowed to watch much television and certainly not anything that wasn’t “age-appropriate,” so of course, I was always explaining to my friends why I missed certain events and why I couldn’t watch certain shows at their houses. And I wondered what I was missing because to a kid “the forbidden” must be better, right? Well, my dad was left watching me when my mom wanted to run errands without juggling kids, so my brother and I were unsupervised a lot. Dad watched a lot of horror movies, especially all the Stephen King movies, etc. He didn’t notice I was in the room, and I didn’t really say much, or I thought he didn’t notice, but he did. [LOL] It became our thing, and we bonded over that, open heart surgery docs, household improvement shows, antiques, photography, and piano.

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

You know, I didn’t use to, and I think that was because I came from a place where I didn’t have the greatest coming out experience. My father loved me very much and we always had a good relationship, minus that one fact, which is sad because it’s a huge part of who I am and what makes me who he loved. I told my family, and he got mad that day and told me this was the only time we were ever going to speak about this and that was that.

I’m going to be 48 in two months, and I still don’t really talk about it much with my family. I shouldn’t have to because they don’t walk around talking about how they are heterosexual, but at the same time, it’s just something that we don’t talk about. My mom and brother accept me for who I am. I haven’t lost any family, but I feel like I lost a bit of my dad when he said that to me. So, since my dad died, yeah, I have been bringing up more characters like that in my work, but only if it happens naturally. I write for myself first and everyone else second. I think I just don’t feel as repressed, and I just don’t care who knows anymore who might know my dad because he’s gone and I’m still here. I’ve forgiven him, but it does make me sad, and I wish I could have shown him that part of myself. I write true characters, so it depends on the character. I just want them to be a well-rounded character and not just a comment on the page.

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

Writing horror has taught me on the page where I have unreconciled feelings because they shine so brightly there, and I don’t actively think about those things from day to day. It’s like a tattoo of my trauma and nightmares. I’ve become a more patient listener and more understanding of others because of what I put my characters through. I’ve also learned that there are likable characteristics in monsters too, which is what makes monsters even scarier. Especially, if they are people. It’s hard to admit you like parts of a person on the page when they do despicable acts later in the book. But that’s what good writing should do; I think. Make a person think a bit and confront themselves in the mirror. We are all monsters in our own way at times. We are all different monsters, and we can be pushed too far and break and do horrible things to each other.

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

When I was in high school, I thought it had less depth than it does now, but looking back, I realize my perspective has changed the older I have grown. I see different nuances in the same stories I didn’t. I think this is because of age and maturity. There will always be room for the monster in the closet and the monster living in your neighborhood. They live on the same shelf and always have. They’re not always the same monsters in one book, but sometimes they can be.

I think we are cyclical, not evolving, if that makes sense. Right now, we are in a law-and-order society. We feel unsafe and we all have reasons to with so many events in the world right now. And we’ve just gone through one of the biggest plagues since the Spanish Flu. My parents feared Polio and now we have Covid variants. So, I think we’re focusing on medical trauma and how fragile humanity is, but that’s always been there in horror. Human beings will always be fragile. That’s part of the beauty of it and the sadness, that we are for a finite amount of time and then we’re gone. What we choose to do with that time is up to us.

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?

It used to be in the 90s all I saw were stories with gay characters dying from AIDS, which I blame on the media, fear, and lack of knowledge, all of which are a terrible beast intertwined. Or it was all coming out stories. Or we were the character used for comedic relief in a dark story where everyone was dying and then we died. We were just a blip on the page and not a well- rounded character. Now we are heroes/ines and we are beautiful, badass people who aren’t the sidekick or the person sick and dying. I think we are finally seen as people. I’d like to move forward to just be a person where we don’t need to have months like this and we don’t do special interviews like this and everyone is writing LGBTQ characters, representing us realistically and well. That takes time, though. I just want to be a character like any other in a book. Not a novelty.

Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ characters in horror?

All of them. They’re all beautiful and wonderful. I feel seen. I feel this part of me I couldn’t talk about with everyone in the mid-90s when I was starting to come out was having a huge party every day.

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

This is a given, but if you aren’t a Clive Barker fan, you should be. You also might want to check out Paula Ashe and it might not be fair to mention Sumiko Saulson, since they are part of organizing the events, but I love listening to their readings. Since this is print here is an article. Meet the Next Generation of LGBTQ+ Horror Authors | Them

There are some good ones here.

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

Take off the bands on your wings and fly! Stretch yourself. Never say you can’t write something, or you don’t know if you can. Because you are the unimaginable imagined and you are amazing. You are millions and zillions of cells walking and talking on this planet with other cells and YOU have a story to tell. So, tell it!

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

Be yourself. Yes, it’s a big and scary place to be yourself, but if you sacrifice who you are you will regret it when you are older and look back on your youth and for a time, mourn. I won’t use the word “regret” because I’ve learned to love who I am and be happy with that and I know that wouldn’t be without the journey I took, but if I could tell the younger me that everyone thought was so daring and brave and vibrant in so many ways one thing, it would be to be daring and brave and vibrant in one other way. I am Nora B. Peevy, and I am pansexual. Hi, it’s nice to meet you.

Nora B. Peevy is a cat trapped in a human’s body. Please send help or tuna. She is an Olympic champion sleeper and toils away for JournalStone/Trepidatio Publishing as a submission reader, a reviewer for Hellnotes, and is reading scripts for The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival for the second year. Ms. Peevy recently took on a position for The Weird Wide Web writing nonfiction articles. Her quirky tales are published in Eighth Tower Press, Weird Fiction Quarterly, The Wicked Library Podcast, Sudden Fictions Podcast, and other places. For the Sake of Brigid, her first novelette just came out in May of 2024 and her first novel will debut later this year.

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