My forthcoming collection CONVULSIVE from Apocalypse Party Press has a new cover. It’s the same stunning art by Matthew Revert with a neat little update. My author name is now the name my friends have called me for about two years: Joe Koch.
Changing my author name is different from using a pseudonym. I’d like all my writing to be connected so readers who like one story can find the others. I’m egotistical about it, too! I worked hard to create books published as Joanna Koch like The Wingspan of Severed Hands and The Couvade, and I want credit for them.
I’ve changed my author name to correct the disparity between public and private interactions, and to make things easier for others who’ve been confused or apologetic about wrong pronouns or specific demographic inclusion. For the most part, it’s not quite fair for me to take up women’s spaces such as all-female anthology calls or Women In Horror Month features when I’m out as transmasculine and committed to growing facial hair. More than that, I’m interested in questions of who I am as a nonbinary or gender fluid person who’s been excluded from masculinity. What does masculine really mean? What does it mean to come out as not a woman after deliberately performing femininity for decades?
These are questions I explore in my fiction, as well as the intermediate states of being and gender and sexuality that cover a full range of how the individual body relates to the world. I’m very focused on the body as a person. Maybe it’s a holdover from figure drawing and art school. Regardless, CONVULSIVE contains stories that were written over the past four years reflecting my journey with exploring new ways of being and actualizing them in reality. It covers the time frame and the internal machinations of consciousness more than providing any sort of road map to identity. As always, I’m more interested in questions than in answers.
Eric Larocca, author of the brilliant hit novella Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke, kindly read CONVULSIVE and wrote a stunning introduction. I’m so grateful for their support. They sum up the theme of the book and my fiction so well when they call it transformative. It’s a perfect description. I’m obsessed with possibilities, change, and a sort of hyperselfactualization that defies false or constructed limitations.
CONVULSIVE will certainly horrify and disgust plenty of readers. Let’s be real: it’s Horror with a capital H. But I hope it will also tease out some delight with its bizarre possibilities, excite hidden parts of your brain, and maybe, just maybe, take you on an unexpected transformative journey.