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A Point of Pride: Interview with Brent Lambert


Brent Lambert is a Black, queer man who heavily believes in the transformative power of speculative fiction across media formats. As a founding member of FIYAH Literary Magazine, he turned that belief into action and became part of a Hugo Award-winning team. He resides in San Diego, but spent a lot of time moving around as a military brat. His family roots are in the Cajun country of Louisiana. Currently, he has a novella A Necessary Chaos upcoming from Neon Hemlock and is part of the upcoming cyberpunk/solarpunk anthology Fighting the Future and Black horror anthology All These Sunken Souls. Ask him his favorite members of the X-Men and you’ll get different answers every time.

What inspired you to start writing? 

For me, I think it was a convergence of multiple things that inspired me to write. I loved superheroes as a kid and those epic stories were planted firmly in my head early on. Then I moved on to books like the Chronicles of Narnia, Animorphs and just devouring myths from across the world and thinking I wanted to grasp some of what felt like raw creation. I was also a military kid and with all the moving around, there just wasn’t any way to build lasting relationships outside of my immediate family. A lot of loneliness and a need to control *something* came out of that. I naively thought (and still think, to some degree, despite knowing better) that writing could be a form of controlling the chaos of an ever changing world. 

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

I’m newer to writing horror but have always been a fan of it. I think what drew me to horror was that the lack of control so many characters experience in horror felt familiar and, in some ways, comforting. Like I said, I was a military kid and that involved a lot of moving around. Instability in many ways was my stability, and it could suck. But seeing characters running away from monsters in their dreams, their campgrounds, their homes, etc., made me think, “Well at least you ain’t I gotta deal with *that* kind of problem!”

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

100%, but that’s because I can only ever bring myself to the page. And I think dominant groups (men, white folks, cishets, etc.) absolutely bring themselves to their work consciously, too, but they just don’t ever have to worry about that consciousness being detrimental on a business level. As far as what I want to portray, I think I just want to always show a breadth of experience. We all contain multitudes. We’re all our own universes. And I hope I can portray that in my LGBTQ characters. 

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

That what we fear isn’t inherently a flaw. So much of our capitalist, toxicly positive, hustler world has imposed this idea that fear is to be avoided at all costs, but that’s such a wrong thought. The things we fear can motivate us to change our world for the better. What we fear can push us to love harder, fight for each other and speak up louder. That might sound contradictory to some, but I believe fear can wholeheartedly be a powerful force for righteous change if it moves us to humane action.

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

Simple answer is that I see more marginalized voices being given space to tell their stories. I’m not 100% sure how it will evolve, but I hope that evolution involves those same voices being paid more and given bigger platforms.

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?

My answer to this is a dual truth. The genre has not treated us great, and yet there are so many people doing the work of representing us well. I always wince a bit when folks will go, “Oh, well, [insert genre] doesn’t have any of this representation,” because it usually isn’t true, and it just means that the hypothetical person hasn’t done the work of really looking for people creating in the field. But I think going forward, I want to see more QPOC authors being given the space to tell their stories. I’m loving what I’m seeing in the young adult space in that regard. 

Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ characters in horror?]

The Cenobites are queer and I will die on this hill! But the truest queer horror icon for me is Lafayette Reynolds of True Blood. What an amazing character! I don’t think we’ve seen anything quite like him since. 

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

The authors that are going to be in All These Sunken Souls deserve your eyes. Circe Moskowitz put together a terrific anthology. I’m a bit biased obviously since I’m part of it, but I can tell you that the other writers in it are heavy hitters that love the genre. Any amount of digging you do into them, and you’ll know you’re going to get some certified bangers. Teri Zin is also one of my favorite writers period and has a grasp of horror like few others. 

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

Same advice I would give to writers of any stripe: just keep writing. Words to the page and continually finishing pieces, whether they see publication or not, is the not-so-secret sauce of becoming a stronger writer. Also, read, read, and read. Read wide and read deep! And if you love something, talk about it and let people know. We’re all out here doing our best and your words of praise may be what keeps someone from putting down the pen. 

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

Same as the above with the addition of telling them to heal. And when I say heal, I mean go through whatever process you need to in order to become your most authentic self. We are constantly beaten down by society and made to hide so much of who we are. Many of us start to think the defense mechanisms we’ve built are who we truly are. I’ve been there, and I can tell you that my best writing was not done from that place. So, heal your heart and find your true self. And that healing can come through the words too. These don’t have to be separate activities! 

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