Asian Heritage in Horror: Interview with Christine Sng
Christina Sng is the three-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A Collection of Nightmares, A Collection of Dreamscapes, and Tortured Willows. Her poetry, fiction, essays, and art appear in numerous venues worldwide, including Interstellar Flight Magazine, New Myths, Penumbric, Southwest Review, and The Washington Post.
FB, Instagram, Twitter: @christinasng
What inspired you to start writing?
When I played as a child, I was always telling a story. Writing allowed me to immortalize it on paper.
What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
I grew up with it. The 80s was the golden age of horror and I dived right in after my brother, a horror fan himself, introduced me to “The Amityville Horror” and “Poltergeist” on TV. Singapore had them on prime time! 🙂
Do you make a conscious effort to include Asian Diaspora characters and themes in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray?
I like to create characters anyone can relate to. Inspired by Lee Murray and Gene Flynn who encouraged me to write about characters from my culture for their award-winning anthology Black Cranes, I found myself creating a strong, stoic military leader who was brave, indomitable, resourceful, and ultimately human in my post-apocalyptic novelette “Fury”.
What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?
Horror allows me to write about what I observe and experience in this world. It has helped me process what I see, realizing that while there is an abundance of cruelty and evil in the world, there is also a lot of good.
How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?
The horror genre has become more diverse and inclusive over the years. It intrigues me, reading about other cultures and stories. Knowing them brings us closer as a people. I think horror will evolve with us over time as it always has, charting our fears in stories.
How do you feel the Asian community has been represented thus far in the genre and what hopes do you have for representation in the genre going forward?
It is wonderful to see it so well-embraced. Culture in Asia greatly varies by country, although we do share similarities. I believe representation will grow as more writers emerge with their own stories, waiting to be shared with the world.
Who are some of your favorite Asian characters in horror?
Glen in The Walking Dead. He was the best of us, Asian and human. Ashin from Ashin of the North—her quiet resolve was relentless. Sang-hwa in Train to Busan—the real hero of the story. Kate in my novelette “Fury”—in her, I infused all of our best qualities.
Who are some Asian Diaspora horror authors you recommend our audience check out?
Lee Murray, Gene Flynn, Angela Yuriko Smith, Yi Izzy Yu, and contributors from the anthologies Black Cranes and Unquiet Spirits.
What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
Find and immerse in something that brings you awe. Then go back and write. This is the hard part because the trauma writes itself.
And to the Asian writers out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?
Think of all the horror stories that terrified you as a child. Now go write them down.