We had the good fortune of connecting with Azzurra Nox and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Azzurra, can you tell us about a book that has had a meaningful impact on you?
My absolute favourite book is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I read it the first time when I was nine and loved it for the supernatural horror elements in it but rereading it again when I was eighteen and then several times afterwards made me recognize that the true message of the novel was less about the external horror (seeing the painting age instead of Dorian) but rather more about the internal horror, meaning that narcissism and obsession with beauty and youth can be really damaging. And I think that now more than ever, this novel is very relevant seeing the obsession with beauty and youth and how everyone is expected to be perpetually youthful, frozen in place, as though aging is seen as something to be ashamed of or something to fear and it’s very sad because we should be able to embrace all stages of our lives and want to evolve. We’re dynamic creatures and cannot expect or yearn to be static beings forever frozen in a perpetual loop of teenagehood, it’s ridiculous and very damaging to one’s mental health. I think we need to normalize aging and have a realistic approach to it. And I think Wilde wanted to show us just how horrendous perpetual youth could be because when you’re only fixated about yourself then you don’t care about others.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve been writing for a very long time, but there was a few years where I took a hiatus from writing as I questioned if I wanted to continue to pursue this as a career. Then I decided that I needed to stop trying to force myself to write literary fiction and instead return to the genre that I’ve always loved, and that is horror. Ever since I returned to writing horror fiction, my interest in writing returned as well. Slowly, I started to love writing again and began to be published again too. I’m now an active member of the Horror Writer’s Association, and this year I have the following works being released, “Tainted Love: Women in Horror Anthology,” “Boys of Summer,” in Little Demon Digest Volume 2, and “Some Kind of Monster,” in Unburied Anthology. I also recently penned a dark comedy screenplay about the Reign of Terror entitled Terror, which can be currently found on The Black List site. I think that the biggest lesson I learned is that you can’t try to be something you’re not. You can’t try to create art that doesn’t resonate with yourself first and foremost. Like Shakespeare said, “To thine ownself be true,” and you need to always be true to yourself as a person and artist. I know that pursuing a creative career can be both daunting and challenging but I also know that I need to follow my heart and my passions and that will always lead me to writing.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend were visiting Los Angeles for a week, I’d have to start the visit with breakfast at République. It’s known for its modern twist on French cuisine and I absolutely love it. Obviously, the more touristy parts would also be included like a visit to Griffth Park Observatory and the Walk of Fame. But I’m also a sucker for museums and one of the most innovative ones I’ve been to that even non-museum lovers could enjoy is World of Illusions. It’s an incredibly fun place to check out as they have an upside house and a lot of 3D illusions that are simply amazing. If you’re into something more classic then you can never go wrong with visiting The Getty, as it’s jam-packed with a ton of impressive art. I’m a big lover of tea so I’d definitely stop by Rose & Blanc Tea Room for a cup of Earl Grey and some of their tasty treats. And, if you’re like me, and love clubs that are more on the edgy gothy side, then Boardner’s is the place to go. I actually happened to find this place out whilst I was walking around Hollywood with friends looking for a club and it really didn’t disappoint. And I didn’t know this at the time, but apparently, it’s been a staple to LA since 1942, and for a city that usually sees a lot of clubs come and go, it’s very exciting to see it still exist. The inside of the place is simply gorgeous, basically, it’s the sort of locale you can see modern vampires hanging out at. The decor is lush and gothic. It also happens to host and kick off one of my favourite film festivals in LA, Shriekfest. There are many other cool places to check out in Los Angeles, but these are some of my personal faves.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Writing can be very lonely since you’re mostly dealing with yourself, your thoughts, and the dreaded white screen. But I’ve found that it’s been easier to tackle when you have a group of like=minded individuals surrounding you. A few years back I reconnected with a friend of mine from high school, Erica Ruhe and over the years we’ve been encouraging each other and reading each other’s work, and helping one another. We’ve also collaborated together resulting in our short story, “Fragile Fruit,” which was a Pushcart Prize nominee for 2020 and co-editing Tainted Love: Women in Horror Anthology. I think that having a friend that goes through the same trials and tribulations that you do as an artist is really helpful because we both know where we’re coming from and know the work and sacrifice that it takes to reach our goals that many of our non-writer friends may not readily comprehend. I really wish to shoutout her encouragement, advice, and friendship over the years as they’ve been invaluable and I appreciate it.