She consistently provides honest commentary about horror films and television that is pleasantly impossible to ignore. But like all humans on this planet, there's so much more to this twenty-something that's worth highlighting.
I ask almost everyone who's a horror fan what was that one book, film, TV series, maybe even comic book that made you realize this genre was something you would enjoy for a lifetime?
I would say Carrie and Scream made me the horror fan I am today. As a kid, my cousin and I would watch horror movies with my aunt on Saturday nights. She’d let us pick what we wanted to watch and often times my cousin was too afraid (or too sleepy) to watch the entire movie but I was a night owl and stayed awake. Scream taught me horror could be sharp and funny and still scary. It’s one of my top ten favorite movies. Period.
Speaking of periods…I saw Carrie for the first time in fifth grade and was both terrified and awed by it. I immediately went to the bookstore and picked up a copy of the novel. That day I was officially introduced me to the works of Stephen King.
What was the first horror story you've ever written and what inspired you to write it?
My first attempt at writing horror was some time in middle school. I’d been a fan of horror for the longest and thought I’d give it a go. I believe it was inspired by Scream and the like. It wasn’t very good but it kept my friends entertained for a few class periods.
With your publishing company Big Moon Press and other endeavors, what has the creative industry taught you as an artist and a Black woman about business in this field?
I’ve learned that being an indie author is a lot of hard work. For anyone. I’m still learning tips and tricks and trying to improve on my craft every day.
One breakthrough horror film from last year, Starry Eyes, directly addresses what could be considered Hollywood's dark underbelly. It's what I think of as a horror story, "hiding in plain sight" in reality and when I was reading the description for you novel Dia Of The Dead, you describe one of Dia's encounters being with that underbelly. What was your vision for this rather small but very powerful and influential constituency while you were writing?
Starry Eyes is one of my favorite horror movies in the last couple of years. It posses the question of “what would you do for fame?” Though Dia of the Dead centers on a group of teen actors and though they are teenagers, they still are faced with some tough choices. Not as intense as Sarah’s choices in Starry Eyes however.
With all the zombie narratives flooding the market today, how does Dia Of The Dead inspire readers to think differently about the creatures and the characters around them?
Dia of the Dead varies from most zombie narratives by offering a different kind of hero. An Afro-Latina heroine in fact. As a woman of color, I thought it was important to feature a young woman of color who wasn’t just the wise-cracking sidekick who never makes it to the end of the story.
Has the horror genre ever felt empowering for you personally?
Yes! There’s something about the Final Girl whooping ass after being beat down for an hour or so. It may not be a favorite for all but the best example of this would have to be You’re Next.
What are some of the horror film trends and tropes throughout its history that you've never liked?
I despise the sassy, rapping Black friend that’s found in a lot of 80s horror movies. If it’s the 80s and a Black person appears, you better believe that they’re going to spit a few bars in the style of the Sugar Hill Gang. Along with that comes the sassy sidekick that’s like the rapping Black friend but doesn’t have bars. Both are extremely stereotypical and extremely grating and you’d be surprised how often they’re used. Even today.
Who's your favorite Black woman in horror?
Rachel True. When I first saw The Craft as a youngster, I wanted to be her --a witch with natural hair. I’m halfway there.