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A Point of Pride 2024: An Interview with M. Kate Allen



What inspired you to start writing?

I began writing in a diary at age ten. Exploring my thoughts at length without the pressure of interacting with someone else appealed to me. Writing gave me a safe medium for exploring my thoughts and interests. In eighth grade, I wrote fiction in English class and found it intensely absorbing.

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

The stories of Alvin Schwartz, R.L. Stine, Betty Ren Wright, Christopher Pike, Pam Conrad, and others attended to atmosphere and fear in ways that other genres would not, and I couldn’t get enough. The Nickelodeon show, Are You Afraid of the Dark? did the same and gave me countless delicious nightmares. I fell in love with horror movies as a sneaky tween and later rented as many as I could from the local video store. Interview with the Vampire, Dracula, Gaslight, and Psycho were a few movies I watched on repeat. I was fortunate in college to study the often horrific history of 20th-century Berlin through the lens of architecture. I see considerable opportunity in Gothic horror, with its special attention to place, to explore the intersection of identity and history as well as the effects of hegemony on the emergence of each.

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

I regularly center LGBTQ+ and other marginalized identities in my writing. I want to write stories that allow a wide variety of readers to see themselves meaningfully represented.

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

Writing horror challenges me to face the worst in myself (rather than just thinking of myself as a really upstanding gal) and to see others as whole people with both virtues and flaws.

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

One encouraging change is that there are more than just white cis/het folks being featured as core characters these days, especially in the last few years. Horror will continue to evolve in tandem with shifting cultural taboos (both challenging and perpetuating them), but I anticipate that mainstream purveyors of stories will bring forward an increasing number of voices that historically have been silenced.

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?

I almost never saw the LGBTQ+ community represented in horror when I first learned to love the genre. When I did, they were presented either as flat, disempowered token characters or caricatured villains. My hope is that LGBTQ+ characters will be featured as core characters and that their sexual identity will show up clearly while being ancillary to the horrors they face and/or commit.

Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ characters in horror?

Geb from Kathryn Harlan’s Fruiting Bodies, Roza Vallo from Julia Bartz’s The Writing Retreat, Lestat de Lioncourt from Anne Rice’s works, Theodora from Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, and Dani from Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Bly Manor are a few of my favorites. Neil Gaiman has a marvelous cadre of LGBTQ+ characters among his works as well.

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

In addition to those already mentioned, a few LGBTQ+ horror authors I suggest are Clive Barker, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Hailey Piper, and Sumiko Saulson.

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

Write what you most want to read.

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

Make your writing scarier than the prospect of seeking out an agent or sending a manuscript to a publisher. Edit your work with the scrupulousness of Hannibal Lecter. Accept feedback with the grace of Dolores Claiborne. Be willing to grow as steadily as Jason Voorhees’s body count. When things get tough, take a cue from Jack Torrance and try a change of scene. Remember that all you need to access your Desire is to reach inside and rip your shiny red heart out.

Hailing from Canton, Ohio, award-winning author M. Kate Allen enjoys reading and writing about places as characters. An intersectional feminist and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she is the author of the Sticky Ones series (a spooky collection of standalone books for middle readers) as well as numerous other books, short stories, and poems across multiple genres and audiences. Her latest work-in-progress is a Gothic horror trilogy. You can read more about her work at mkateallen.com and find her on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.


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