Interview: Mo Moshaty, Horror Author and More

Monique ‘Mo’ Moshaty is an Afro-Latina screenwriter, author and producer. Raised within the clash of her mother’s Yaqui heritage and her father’s strict Southern Baptist upbringing, Mo’s work contains worlds in which characters of color strive for identity, sentiment, and belonging within the comedy, horror, and sci-fi genres.

As a genre screenwriter, author, and lecturer, with a concentration on psychological and possession horror in her writing, Mo’s background as a Trauma Specialist and Behavioral Therapist provided a sturdy foundation. She is the creator of the course, “Writing Trauma Respectfully for Screen ” and was a Guest Lecturer for Prairie View A&M University’s Film and TV Program and with Horror BAFSS in Sheffield, UK for No Return: A Yellowjackets Symposium.

Mo is also a journalist, and co-founder with Nyx Horror Collective and co-producer of the 13 Minutes of Horror Film Festival featured on The Shudder Channel. Nyx Horror Collective was founded by a group of diverse woman-identifying horror creators to develop, celebrate, and elevate original, women-led horror content.

As a core member of Nyx, she has recently partnered with Stowe Story Labs to provide a fellowship for women writers over 40 working in the genre. Mo also served as Associate Producer on Scottish Indie SciFi Horror web series, “Cops and Monsters”, and was ecstatic to shine more of a light on indie horror. Mo’s most recent literary work can be found in “A Quaint and Curious Volume of Gothic Tales”, published by Brigid’s Gate Press, and “206 Word Stories” by Bag O’ Bones Press.

B&P: Your background offers you much experience in understanding the psychological makeup of people, as well as your experiences as a therapist and journalist. Do you feel that understanding the mechanisms of the darker side of people helps you when creating characters or does knowing/understanding the workings spoil it for the reader part of the writer?  [A bit like would you rather know the world is dark and have to face that or not know and be able to live with happiness, even if unreal?]
MM: What an excellent question! I think having the underlying knowledge is a double-edged sword wherein the mechanisms we attach to, to fulfill dark needs, are pretty substantial. We all have the capacity to turn “bad”, it’s human nature to want to get what we want and passion can drive us in ugly directions. But knowing that capability is out there, and the mental and emotional reasons why is a shuddering thought. Using those traits really helped me shape the characters for “Love the Sinner” and beyond. Every character has a driving force, positive or negative. But I believe that my understanding has really led me to be so pleased with how others make those determinations for their own characters. It enhances it for me!
B&P: How did your writing start and what pushed you in that direction?
MM: My writing started very young, around 7 or 8. I would write stories as a continuation of movies I loved. I had no idea that what I was writing was what we call fan fiction these days. As a latchkey kid whose mother worked and then attended college at night, I was left with my own imagination once the toys wore off. And I’ve never stopped wanting to craft more worlds. 
B&P: What;’s your writing process like? Habits, Rituals, Weaknesses, Strengths?
MM: One ritual I have before even beginning a story could fall under each category of Habit, Strength, and Weakness and it comes firmly from my days of screenwriting: outlining and character bios. I absolutely have to outline where my story will end up and what needs to happen within each act of it. In addition, each character within the story has to have their own biography – a short backstory, likes/dislikes, motivators/fears, etc., it keeps me on track to not only the story but to be true to the character.
B&P: How do you market your work? What have you found that works and what do you consider a waste of your time? 
MM: I try to be as vocal on social media as I can. It’s quite difficult being a very tiny fish in a giant sea but I’ve found the most support there. Local markets and connecting with surrounding area shops/bookstores have been wonderful as well. I’m quite community-oriented. I’m just inching into BookTok on TikTok, so we’ll see if that bears fruit. 
B&P: What is the best compliment you received?
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MM: A recent review of “Love the Sinner” stated this: “This narrative by Mo Moshaty is nothing but masterful! There’s no other way to put it. We mean, when was the last time that you read a book that the author made you feel spooked by a conversation between two regular people? Yeah… that!”

So lovely to read that, and know that reader got EXACTLY what I was trying to achieve. There’s no greater compliment thus far. 

B&P:  Was there ever a point where you thought about quitting?  If so, what and how did you overcome that?
MM: Writing altogether? No. Screenwriting, yes. I was so frustrated about my lack of opportunity, as a woman of color, over 40, and working in the horror genre. That’s when I pivoted into the literary space, taking my IP and changing it to prose. What I found was surprising, I really, really grew to love writing solely prose. I found my passion for screenwriting again early this year as my mind has gotten flooded with new ideas, but knowing that prose is always there is wonderful. It’s a bit like coming home. 
B&P:  What would you like readers to know about you as a person, versus you as an author?
MM: I’m a HUGE nerd who hasn’t skipped watching The Golden Girls once, if not several episodes a day, since 2011. I’m a comic book fan, and a horror film fan. I’m a terrible painter, wall and otherwise. I like the ingredients of S’mores separately but not together. I love to travel and feel best when I’ve procrastinated by at least 40 minutes watching pet videos. 
Her books also include ‘The Dark Season,’ “The Encyclopocalypse of Legends and Lore Volume One,” “A Quaint and Curious Volume of Gothic Tales,” and “206 Word Stories
You can find Mo at:

Twitter: @MoMoshaty 


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