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Point of Pride 2024: An Interview With Jill Baguchinsky



What inspired you to start writing?
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing, or at least making up stories. To me, storytelling is a natural offshoot of the pretend play I did as a child. I get lost in writing the same way I used to get lost in those games. I grew up fairly isolated – I never really had neighbor kids to play with, so I suppose I made up fictional companions instead. Writing is basically the same thing.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
I’ve always been into spooky stuff; I blame it on going to the Haunted Mansion at Disney World when I was four and seeing Ghostbusters at the movie theater when I was five. In elementary school, I was obsessed with the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books. By middle school, I moved on to Stephen King. Horror has always seemed like a safe way to explore the darker aspects of existence. Also, I have an anxiety disorder, and lots of anxious folks are drawn to horror. For those of us who go through life dealing with fears and anxieties that aren’t always rational, horror can almost be calming. When I’m reading horror, it makes sense to be scared.

Do you make a conscious effort to include LGBTQ material in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray?
I tend to write about characters with whom I identify on some level. Since I’m bi, I end up writing a lot of bi characters. It’s less of a conscious effort and more just letting my characters be who they are.

What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?
About myself? I really like scaring people, heh. I’ve had a few people tell me my work gave them nightmares, and I’m probably prouder of that than I should be. About the world? The world is full of scary things, but it’s possible to get through those things, to process them, to move past them. Sometimes it takes a lot of creativity, and maybe a dark sense of humor, but it can be done.

How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?
One thing I really love is the emergence and evolution of young adult horror. We had authors like Christopher Pike and a pre-Goosebumps R.L. Stine when I was that age, but the genre is so much deeper and more profound these days. Today’s young readers face dark and uncertain times, and YA horror doesn’t hold back from tackling the scary stuff they often have to process.

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?
It’s come a long way and it has a long way to go. As the horror genre continues to become more diverse, varied, and creative, I’m optimistic that the genre’s LGBTQ rep will follow the same pattern.

Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ characters in horror?
Vivi Hollow from Krystal Sutherland’s House Of Hollow. Zoey, Celeste, Val, and Jasmine from Kayla Cottingham’s This Delicious Death. Connor Major from Adam Sass’s Surrender Your Sons.

Who are some LGBTQ horror authors you recommend our audience check out?
You really can’t go wrong with work from Adam Sass, Gwendolyn Kiste, Andrew Joseph White, or Ryan La Sala.

What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
Don’t feel like you have to shy away from horror tropes. Instead, find ways to twist them and make something new and surprising and shocking.

And to the LGBTQ writers out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?
Be stubborn. Your audience is out there waiting for your stories. They need your stories, and if you stick with it long enough, you’ll find ways to get those stories into their hands.

Jill Baguchinsky grew up fluent in darkness and Disney. She reluctantly spends most of her time in Florida, reading too much Stephen King and dodging more hurricanes than she can count. Jill’s LGBTQ young adult horror novel, So Witches We Became (July 2024 / Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) is the rage-fueled, hurricane-inspired story of a group of friends trapped on a barrier island by a reawakened curse. Jill’s work has also appeared in the women-in-horror anthologies Into the Forest and Mother Knows Best, both from Black Spot Books, as well as Uncharted Magazine and The NoSleep Podcast. Visit her at jillbaguchinsky.com.

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