Horror Writers Association

Black Heritage in Horror: Interview with KC Loesener

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Photo by Norma Velazquez of My Phototude

I’m KC Loesener, author of The Eve of Darkness and several horror short stories. Proud introvert, bird lover, and a huge horror fan.

On Youtube and Instagram, I am @kcfinalgirl, a horror content creator and writing coach, teaching new writers to focus and write their manuscripts in four months via kcloesener.com

Besides writing horror, I love a good ghost story. The paranormal, vampires, and werewolves exhilarate me. I love punk and grunge, and I desperately miss the 90s. Superhero movies and comics are a necessity.

I enjoy creating complex characters that rise to discover themselves.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

My Aunt Stephanie inspired me to write. When I was a kid (8 years old) and in my late teens, I would spend summers in Jamaica with her. She would listen to my wild imaginative stories and encourage me to write them down. We kept in touch with phone calls, but mostly we wrote letters. She encouraged me to keep writing, eagerly read my stories, and gave me feedback. With every correspondence, she always asked what I was working on. I felt special and heard.

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

My fascination with horror started when I was eight. I loved the thrill of being scared. I remember vividly sneaking downstairs to watch horror movies at night while my parents were asleep. But unfortunately, our household was strict, and those movies were not allowed at my young age. Because it was forbidden in my household, it became addictive. Eventually, my parents saw how much I loved it and gave in.

Do you make a conscious effort to include African diaspora characters and themes in your writing, and if so, what do you want to portray?

I’ve been creating more African characters that have a voice and are telling their stories. I did struggle with this concept because I was told, and I quote, “there is no market for that.” I want to portray something that unites us all, like culture, emotions, history, and ingenuity.

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

Writing horror has taught me that it’s normal to be in a genre like horror and be comfortable in this community. Although there are a few of us, it made me continue my journey and connect with like-minded individuals, and we aspire to be great.

In terms of society, writing horror taught me that everyone has the potential to become a monster, and what we decide to do with our anger, jealousy, greed, and pain matters.

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

The industry is making significant strides for the better. There has been a rise in black horror filmmakers, writers, production companies, and directors. It’s beautiful because representation matters, and our stories deserve to be told. It’s nice to see people who look like us on screen and are not one-dimensional and written with real emotions and experiences.

How do you feel the Black community has been represented thus far in the genre, and what hopes do you have for representation in the genre going forward?

The industry has improved due to the rise of more filmmakers and writers. However, there is still much work to be done, and we need more confident engaging dialogue and worthy story arcs rather than caricatures and stereotypes of black people. I still grow weary of seeing black folks killed in the first few minutes of a horror movie or being a lame sidekick with no depth–this is a false sense of representation. In the future, I would like to see more black horror films written by black writers with original stories that encapsulate different backgrounds and heritages.

Who are some of your favorite Black characters in horror?

My favorite black characters in horror are Candy Man (Tony Todd), Bonnie (Kat Graham), Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), Blade (Wesley Snipes), and Michonne (Danai Gurrira).

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

My favorite horror authors and recommended books in the African diaspora are The Fledgling by Octavia Butler, White Is for Witching, Dark Matter Anthology, and lastly, Zone One by Colson Whitehead.

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

I advise horror authors to join writing groups accepting their uniqueness and talents. And to always remember that their story deserves to be told.

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

Keep going. So often, we hear that our work differs from what will sell or has been done before. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Instead, continue to work on your craft and create stories that are true to who you are

 

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