The sound of hard metal scraping against the iron walls rang in my ears. The hot, jetting steam bursting from rusty pipes fogged Nancy’s vision as she ran from the Springwood Slasher. With the traps set and the tension rising, the look of pure rage and unrelenting horror enraptured me. Sitting alone in my room on the soft carpet, at 7-years old, I gawked at Nancy Thompson as she destroyed Freddy Krueger, while my eyes locked onto my first slasher film: A Nightmare on Elm Street. Ever since that night, high-action, suspense, horror stories, and Hollywood monsters allured me, and I wanted more.
As a 25-year-old native New Orleans published author and illustrator, horror, thrillers, and action stand as a staple in my work. Whether in writing manuscripts or in art exhibitions, my work emits different forms of macabre. As a fan of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Silence of the Lambs, and both the cartoon and movie Beetlejuice, I grew up with iconic dark humor and classic monsters. As a child diagnosed with severe Chronic Plaque Psoriasis that stemmed from a broken home with domestic abuse, my skin disease, combined with my loner lifestyle, connected me with both the underdog heroes and the eldritch creatures of the movies I loved. At school, I was bullied, and, due to my prominent scars and bleeding scalp, I had no friends. So, to escape from my pain and loneliness, I started drawing on my mom’s walls, to pan out my storyboards. My mom, my angel in my life, dissuaded me from marking up her walls. However, she encouraged me never to stop drawing.
Later in childhood, I developed Sleep Paralysis. On top of everything else, this fresh hell tortured me for years. Through my words and sketches, I learned to channel my rage and angst onto sketchbooks. Everyone who hurt me was dealt with the strongest vengeance I mustered. The schoolyard bullies? Eaten alive. My Psoriasis? Cured. My Sleep Paralysis? I sent it screaming and burning into the sunlight. With my tools and stacks of paper, I had no restraints on my mind or rules to follow. I could create and do whatever I want, whenever I wanted.
With my love of horror still intact, I found new fascinations as I aged. Over time, I grew to love medicine, even though I was a lab rat for a chunk of my young life. I was also both awestruck and appalled by the marvels and malpractice of World War I and World War II, with their ever-changing perspectives on psychology and the occult. While trapped in my bleeding skin, a mass of empathy and sympathy washed over me as I read about different diseases, psychological ailments, and war. Topics that revolved around human perseverance through suffering connected with me.
Though I was only a kid, the night terrors and isolation pulled me in further to the dark and macabre. Though the agony seemed relentless, I know now that it molded my character and will into what it is today. I never stopped drawing or writing. I engaged in many activities during high school and stayed in the library whenever I had the chance. While devouring those books satiated my expanding curiosity, I read manuscript after manuscript, in all genres. I loved the feel of hard and paperback books in my hands. I enjoyed seeing the illustration lining the passages. I wanted to know more about the authors. When I researched the authors I admired, I learned that they were no strangers to pain. With a stack of books staring at me from the table, I said to myself, “I can do this, too!”
And I did. I gathered knowledge on everything that fascinated me. I borrowed medical books from my aunt. I visited the World War II Museum, checked out dystopian books from the library, and searched occult histories on the internet. With my idea locked in my head, I formulated a couplet poem after reading Hamlet and George Orwell’s 1984. From that poem, I wrote out the beginnings of my first manuscript and brought it to my English teacher and mentor, David Pierson, to beta read. I rewrote every chapter, designed infinite concept art sketches, and refined my storytelling. In college, I sought out help from my Psychology Department advisor, Dr. Charles Allen Gramlich. With his service to navigate the literary world and provide a fantastic proofread of my work, I completed my manuscript and found my publisher. At 22-years old, while earning both my BA and BS degrees from Xavier University of Louisiana, Night to Dawn Magazine & Books published the book that started it all: