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A Point of Pride 2024: An Interview with Pixie Bruner



What inspired you to start writing?

It’s a cliché, but some of my first friends were books and book characters. It’s still true. I was always creating stories and narratives in my head. Plus, they kept giving me crayons and pencils as a little kid and wanted me to use them. I was inspired by the power of words to take me places, to evoke emotions, to escape reality. I wanted to share my inner worlds and stories.

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

I was still in elementary school when I started reading The King on my mom’s bookshelf. Every weekend were horror movie marathons on the VCR. A horror-fan family. As a little kid, we went to drive-ins in the late ’70s and I heard classic grindhouse films filling the car with screams as I looked out the back window at pretty princesses dancing on the screen showing the Disney movie and Motel Hell in the front screen. It scarred me for life to see Snow White but hear Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I joined the science fiction book club that sent a hardcover book club edition book to each other in 7th grade and always chose the horror book of the month in the 80s. I was 14 when I got a gorgeous copy of I Am Legend. Horror spoke to me and my alienation as an introvert, an adolescent freak, and a geek girl.

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

Yes, but if I do have an LGBTQ character or theme, their sexual orientation and gender identity is not the most important thing about them. I want to show the normalcy of being LQBTQ, even in horror. Many times people don’t even realize or know that my narrators are queer or the same gender as their romantic partner. I focus on the naturalness, the mundanity of the LGBTQ experience, not the shock value. We are not to be included for shock value. Compassion, empathy and humaneness are what differentiate us from the terrors and monsters we create, including those borne of fear and hate and othering, of all sorts, which we explore in horror. All of humanity must be welcome in horror as it reflects humanity and what unnerves, disturbs, unsettles, and scares us. Compassion, empathy, and humaneness are what differentiate us from the terrors and monsters we create, including those borne of fear, bigotry, hate, and othering, of all sorts, which we can safely explore in horror.

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

It’s taught me there’s room for everyone. I found my community. There’s a perfect book for everyone. Poetry exists in horror, horror can have fine literary merit. The real world is full of horrors and reading horror is a way to cope and process our fears, grow more resilient, and even heal.

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

Horror is more diverse than I’ve seen ever before. I hope this continues! We’re starting difficult dialogues in our books that carry over into the real world and I’m ecstatic about more poetry in horror genres being included in anthologies and more beautiful horror coming out (no pun intended!). Indie publishers are changing the scene and making it more specialized and accessible.

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?

We’re being seen and heard! To me, it started with Joel Lane. We’ve gone from being the monsters and slashers and things feared to become the last person, the survivors. AIDS has gone from a lethal diagnosis to a chronic health condition so the 80s disease horror hasn’t always aged well but is still a cautionary message for everyone. I hope to see LGBTQ characters shown more commonly and normally. Not in just anthologies of LGBTQ horror. I’m grateful to the Queer Saints series on Medusa Haus which takes us off the pedestal we’re often on. Queer characters need not be saints. Anyone and everything has the potential to be a monster, supernatural or human. While we no longer “kill the gays” thankfully, as I went to college and was friends with Matt Shepherd at Catawba, we’re starting to acknowledge the darkness possible in LGBTQ characters in such books. We are not all saints or monstrous reprobates. A welcome change, in my opinion.

Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ characters in horror?

Any Joel Lane character, especially Neil from The Blue Mask and many of Kiernan’s female characters. Lane’s queer or gay characters experienced horrible or strange things, sometimes even because of their sexual orientation, but the frisson and horror are universal and beyond identity, and their LGBTQA+ identity is only part of who his amazing, deep, complicated characters are. Love truly is love in his works, beyond mere anatomy or classifications, even in his most disconcerting, dark, and sometimes violent graphically homoerotic works, there’s poetry, humanity, genuine tenderness, beauty, and truth there in Lane that even a heterosexual person and who is in the gender they were born and raised as can relate to.

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

Joel Lane, Mae Murray, Sumiko Saulson, Paula D. Ashe, Sean Malia Thompson, Amabilis O’Hara, Hailey Piper, Maxwell Ian Gold, Mark Allan Gunnels, Caitlyn R. Kiernan, Clive Barker.

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

Find your authentic voice and use it. Be brave and be kind to yourself. Persist. Don’t stop writing and aspiring. Reward yourself with cake for every 100 Rejections, then submit again. You have an audience, you will eventually find it.

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

We’re looking forward to reading from you- and see the above answer. Your voice matters, your stories matter.

Pixie Bruner is a writer, editor, and cancer survivor. She lives in Atlanta, GA, with her doppelgänger and alien cats. Her collection The Body As Haunted was published in 2024 by Authortunities Press. Her poetry has been published/forthcoming in Space & Time Magazine, Whispers from Beyond (Crystal Lake Publishing) miniMAG, Star*Line, Angry Gables Press, Dreams & Nightmares, Punk Noir, and more. She wrote for White Wolf Gaming Studio. SFPA and HWA Member.

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