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A Point of Pride 2024: An Interview With Zachariah Jones



What inspired you to start writing?
As a child, I would love to go to the library and find new adventures to read. However, that interest grew even stronger when my mom began working as a librarian (which she still is to this day!), and later I started my first job at the local library shelving and repairing books at the age of 14. One of the reference librarians would tell me that I should write and that if I ever do that the nickname she had for me, Zachariah Jones, should be my pen name. Throughout the years I dabbled in creative writing, but I rarely wrote anything of significant length. I would write down ideas of stories though for possible books in the future. Finally, once the COVID pandemic hit, I had more time on my hands and decided that now was the perfect time to start writing. I wanted to bring my stories to life to help entertain and provide people with an escape from reality, and maybe get a few chills along the way.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
The horror genre has such a massive range, that’s why I love it! You can have one story focused on ghosts which can give you a few chills but also open the mind of what life after death could look like. Or, you can have a story that can bring out fear of the unknown because it revolves around life from another place in the universe. And you can have a truly gory story that makes you want to run for your life. One thing about these different examples though, is it shows that the horror genre really is about life. It gives us that rush of adrenaline or that determination to live.

Do you make a conscious effort to include LGBTQ material in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray?
Yes, in my writing I have made an effort to have characters that represent many facets. In my current published works of the Chasing Shadows Trilogy, I wanted to have a diverse cast of characters. Not just for the sake of diversity, but because I wanted the story to represent reality. I wanted these characters to portray some of the challenges of being queer in the 1920s, but without that being the main point of the story. Being who they are, whether it’s the young gay men, Samuel and Hamish, or the protagonist Jarek who really has no sexual preference at all. The people in my books are just that, people, and that’s what I want conveyed.

What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?
My first published works are paranormal horror mysteries that delve into the world of the occult and various other things. It has been wonderful to learn even more about our world’s history and, though I had already assumed, how many things within the horror genre are based
on old beliefs and myths that were once rooted in a true story. Every story has a root in some experience at one point in time. Though I am a factual person, it really forces me to keep an open mind and to always be willing to evolve my mindset. Writing horror has taught me that
there are so many things around that connect us and that there are so many more people into horror than I had assumed!

How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?
I have loved to see the genre continue to grow in “allowing” even more sub-genres and the large embrace of independent authors! I feel that the horror genre does a better job of inclusion than any other genre out there. I believe that it will continue to grow even more in these areas, and its interest in the general population will continue to expand for years to come.

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?
Overall, I believe the horror genre does a decent job of representation. I feel that in this genre, the population tends to be open and inclusive. Many of the horror books I have read either do a good job of representation, or the stories don’t remotely focus on the character’s
sexuality, and it is left out. I hope to continue to just see the growth we have already seen (not just in horror) when it comes to being more open. I am thankful for the horror community and anxious to see what new grounds it can break in the world of literature.

Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ characters in horror?
This might sound cliché, but one of my favorite horror books is “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson. Theodora “Theo” Crain is such an excellent example of introducing a queer character. Though it never explicitly states her sexuality in the novel, it is heavily implied and for a book published in 1959, I believe that is wonderful. Another top book in my mind is “Let the Right One In” by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I won’t spoil it, but if you have only seen the movie (Let Me In) then you are missing out by not reading the book!

Who are some LGBTQ horror authors you recommend our audience check out?
Poppy Z. Brite, Chad Helder, and though not officially confirmed, it is speculated that H.P. Lovecraft was gay.

What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
Continue to be inclusive in your work. Not just LGBTQ, but also different ethnicities or abilities. I personally feel most pulled into a story when the characters are a reflection of the real world surrounding us.

And to the LGBTQ writers out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?
Keep writing. No matter how many times you are told to give up or stop because your work isn’t good enough, just keep pushing. Sometimes that voice of harshness is from others, but sometimes it is from our own internal self. But screw that, just keep writing and bring your stories to life. You never know how your stories may impact someone at some point, and that alone makes it worth it.



Zachariah Jones grew up in a small town in Central Minnesota. He became fascinated with books at a young age. In fact, his first job at the age of 14 was working in the local library. He was responsible for shelving books and repairing books. Zachariah felt called to serve in the
armed forces, where he has been serving since age 17. He is also a graduate of Saint John’s University and holds a degree in Political Science, and a Masters in Public Administration from American Public University. He has toyed with writing for many years; however, he finally has
taken the time to start turning the short stories he had into novels. His debut novel, Chasing Shadows: Genesis was published in 2022 and received an award for Best Regional Fiction – Midwest from IPPY and was a finalist for Best Horror Novel from NIEA. The follow-up, Chasing Shadows: Convocation was published in the fall of 2023, with the final book in the trilogy, Chasing Shadows: Requiem releasing late 2024.
Zachariah currently lives in eastern Minnesota in a small river town with his husband and dog. When Zachariah is not on military duty or writing, he enjoys anything outdoors, gardening, cooking, and spending time relaxing at his home.

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