Nzondi - Richly Colorful Prose

Nzondi - Richly Colorful Prose

Ace Antonio Hall (born July 4th, 1966) is an American urban fantasy and horror writer. His novel Oware Mosaic won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Young Adult fiction. Among his many short stories that were published in anthologies and print magazines, Hall’s short story, “Raising Mary: Frankenstein”, was nominated for 2016 horror story of the year for the 19th Annual Editors and Preditors Readers Poll. Additionally, three of his short stories were on the Horror Writers Association Reading list for the 2017 Bram Stoker Awards. A former Director of Education for NYC schools and the Sylvan Learning Center, the award-winning educator earned a BFA from Long Island University. Hall currently lives bi-coastal in New York and Los Angeles. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, Lipstick Asylum.

Please give us a short introduction to what the Lipstick Asylum is about.

First of all, thanks for having me. This is mad cool. I am extremely grateful, and to be honest, a bit stoked, to be an Author of the Day.

As for my YA horror novel, Lipstick Asylum, Cozy, Jess, and Squiggy are part of a team called the Scream Teens and they specialize in one thing; necromancy. The art of bringing the dead back to life. For them this is routine, but one fateful night on the Sea Queen, a zombie-themed cruise, things go horribly wrong. Suddenly they are surrounded by hundreds of real zombies and a mysterious creature hunting them down. With no way to escape, they need help from an unlikely source if they want to see the light of day again. The question isn’t when will they make it, it’s will they make it at all? Did something go wrong with the ritual? Will Cozy and her friends survive? A trip to the afterlife answers all of her questions but not as she wanted.

What inspired you to write this story?

Years of playing the Resident Evil video game.

Tell us more about Cozy Coleman. What makes her so special?

She struggles with what the world may perceive as mental health issues but actually, it’s nothing like that at all. What she can do, no other being in the world has the ability to do, but in order to reach her full potential, she must fight through heartbreak and her controlling mother.


Where does the concept of the Scream Teens come from?

I think the best way to answer that is to quote Cozy, herself, “Our parents wanted us to have a more business-like name like the Honolulu Aerial Ash Scattering Company or Resurrection, Inc., Jess, Squiggy, and I thought those were lame names. What’s the first thing you want to do when a corpse is reanimated? Scream, right? Point made, microphone dropped. Moving on, new deal.”

Why dark fantasy? What drew you to the genre?

When you grow up surrounded by a lot of pain and grieving, there’s a darkness inside that yearns to live out in a world of fantasy.

Your first novel, Oware Mosaic, won a Bram Stoker award. What has the experience been like?

I’d have to quote something I said in the 45 Black Men of Horror project: It gives me such an awe-inspiring humility to win but to be the first African-American to win a Bram Stoker in a novel category is unbelievable! When any person of color in our heritage breaks barriers or opens the door for others to walk in, it’s a monumental achievement and I don’t take that honor lightly! To the Horror Writers Association and the judges of StokerCon I am eternally grateful. It truly trips me out to see my children SEE ME given such an honor.

Interesting cover. Please tell us more about how it came about.

Publisher/author, Kate Jonez has an incredible eye for the macabre. That cover was from the genius of her imagination. I had nothing to do with it but best believed I was floored when I first saw it.

Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

I make a great plate of cheese eggs. You haven’t tasted eggs until you’ve had mine. I don’t know if everyone can do this but I can also see everything I write viscerally as if I’m peering through an Oculus lens and have entered the 3-D world of the metaverse.


Which of your characters was the most challenging to create and why?

Oh, Cozy, hands down. I had to take a disturbed, angry and confused teenager and make her likable. That may be easy for many writers but it was quite a challenge for me.

You are also a screenwriter. How has this influenced the way you approach stories?

It gives me a unique perspective of understanding when to cut the fat and keep it simple when I could just go on and on and on with in-depth info dumps. You can’t do that in screenwriting.

When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?

I don’t know what it’s like for other authors specifically but for me, each book is like raising a new child in the home. No matter how much a parent tries to teach with the same approach as the child before, no child responds the same as their siblings. They each have different personalities, and the same goes for my books. What may work for one novel, doesn’t work for another. I’m also always evolving and moving in a different space in regards to what I’ve been exposed to in art, literature, cinema, life, and moods.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

As vain as I know this sounds (And you know what? I’m okay with that!), simply Google author Nzondi or Ace Antonio Hall. I have a nice presence on the internet. What’s downright laughable is that someone once showed me that there are even dozens of sites that are dedicated to displaying my quotes in text or in picture quotes; stuff I’ve said in interviews, on podcasts, and in my novels. It just goes to say, words are powerful, they are eternal.