A Point of Pride: Interview with Maxwell I. Gold
Maxwell I. Gold is a multiple award-nominated author who writes prose poetry and short stories in weird and cosmic fiction. His work has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines including Weirdbook Magazine, Space and Time Magazine, Startling Stories, Strange Horizons, Tales from OmniPArk Anthology, Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas and more. He’s the author of Oblivion in Flux: A Collection of Cyber Prose from Crystal Lake Publishing.
He’s a proud Columbus, Ohio native and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Horror Writers Association as the organization’s Treasurer.
What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
The horror genre, for me, allowed me a venue to uniquely express myself and the dark anxieties I carry like so many others, in a way that I believe non-speculative genres cannot accommodate. It is through the awful demons, nameless gods, and even technological unfathomability that we as authors create, we find a way to navigate our own personal trauma. At least, that has been my experience as a writer, and I couldn’t not have done this without the horror genre.
Do you make a conscious effort to include LGBTQ material in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray?
It’s a mixed bag in terms of what themes I try bringing to the surface versus what happens to unconsciously seep through the cracks. A lot comes from my own experiences as a man who identifies as gay. I cannot and do not try to speak for everyone, it is my hope to portray a sense of dread and warning, but cautious optimism, that the struggle for equal rights particularly in the age we find ourselves in is not one that will be over any time soon.
What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?
I grew up in an upper-class Jewish suburb, though that does not change the fact that outside the bubble there were knives waiting to pop it. I didn’t get a real taste of those knives until college when I was faced with homophobic slurs and antisemitic threats. Despite the hatred that boils in the world today, horror has given me a way to express the urgency, the need to advocate for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community, and the understanding that there’s more than demons and monsters in the shadows, but we can use them to illustrate the real monsters out there.
Who are some LGBTQ horror authors you recommend our audience check out?
These are just a few off the top of my head and they are all amazing writers / editors. There are so many more within the ever-growing spectrum of LGBTQ+ horror writers.
I’d also suggest writers to take a look at Baffling Magazine from Neon Hemlock Press. It’s a wonderful venue of queer horror flash fiction.
What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
Don’t stop writing. Always submit and never self-reject. Especially to the poets out there like myself, sometimes the road appears twice as hard (and it is), but the reward at the end is sweet and work along the way will make each acceptance that much greater.
And to the LGBTQ writers out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?
I would offer the same advice, but even more so I’d say to never change or alter your stories, poems, and or themes of your stories or poems because someone believe you need to ‘tone it down. Quite the opposite. Burn the closets, be who you are, unapologetically so, and let your writing show it.