Payton McCarty-Simas is a gender fluid, freelance writer, editor, screenwriter, and artist based in New York City. They grew up in Massachusetts devouring Stephen King novels, Edgar Allan Poe stories, and Scooby Doo on VHS. She studies film, media, and sexuality at Columbia University, focusing their research on horror film, science fiction, psychedelia, and the occult in particular. Since graduation they have won awards for their directing, editing, and screenwriting work, written for the Brooklyn Rail and Film Inquiry, and been published in the Bowdoin Journal of Cinema. She lives with her partner and their cat, Shirley Jackson.