Updated: Mar 5
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became a Woman In Horror writer.
I am not sure that there is that much to tell. I have loved writing since the first grade when we were given these red creative writing folders. They were tri-fold so that you could set it up like a little barrier at your desk. I even remember what they smelled like. They were plastic and it was the 80’s. The fumes likely killed more than a few of my brain cells. I loved every spooky story I could get my hands on from Mercer Mayer’s, There’s a Nightmare in my Closet to James and Deborah Howe’s, Bunnicula series and eventually the Fear Street books by R.L. Stine. I enjoyed creating my own but there wasn’t a lot of love from my teachers for those types of stories. I think that is why I didn’t pursue it. That, and I was encouraged to follow a career path rather than a passion. My creativity never went away (funny how that happens). After marriage, kids and a career or two I was in need of an outlet. One day I just started taking my creepy ideas and forming them into stories. I found that the horror community was supportive, so I began to submit them.
What piece of writing are you most proud of and why?
I have a yet to be published short fiction piece entitled, Whispers. I originally wrote it for a call about the fear of the “other” in horror. I was really struggling with the theme and suddenly my own past experiences with depression, medication and suicide came tumbling out. It turned into a story that was more reflection than anything else. It was very cathartic and after I read it back to myself I cried. It was just really raw and is my favourite piece by far.
How do you feel about the past practice of women being advised to hide their first names when authoring books (J.K. Rowling, or a neutral name like Robin Hobb, for example) and do you feel we're past this in the writing world?
Angry. I have never been a woman to shy away from anything because of my gender. In fact, I think I have gone out of my way to enter arenas usually held by men. It seems absolutely foreign to me that anyone would not pick up a book simply because the name of the author sounded feminine. I am not shocked that this is the reality, it is just plain stupid. It isn’t as though men are the only ones buying books out there. I would like to think we are past this, but I am not sure that we are—yet. That is fairly evident when you look at the genres still associated with female writers. If I have learned anything, it is to push against the grain. I think that we are ready to move past this and I plan to throw my hat into the ring.
What’s your favourite trope in the horror genre? To read? To Write?
There are so many to love! I think my favourite to read about is possession, particularly when it occurs due to some sort of cursed object. When writing, I adore a good twist! Just when you think everything is resolved there is some little clue that tells you it isn’t really over. Sort of like when Jason kills Freddy via decapitation (I know you’ve all seen that super-fun horror mash-up) but then you get a wink from Freddy’s head as it is carried off by his killer.
Do you feel an obligation to speak for or represent women through your writing?
Yes. I think writers are given the gift of voice and we need to use it. It is important to be cognizant of how my female characters are portrayed as well as giving voice to under-represented or marginalized groups. Inclusion isn’t just about being invited to the party— it is about being asked to dance. How can we expect our characters to be believable if we aren’t modelling them after those reading our stories? I cannot claim to speak for every female author or reader but I can be true to myself and the experiences of others which have been so graciously shared with me.
Besides horror, what is your favourite genre to read?
I am usually drawn to dystopian books. In my top five favourite books are The Chrysalids by John Wyndham and The Giver by Lois Lowry (who is one of my favourite female authors). I will read most genres, although I must admit I have yet to get into westerns.
It’s the zombie apocalypse and somehow you find yourself locked in a room with two other people and a horde of zombies on the other side of the door. There is no food or water, you have to leave to survive. Real or Fiction, who would you want in that room with you?
Definitely Michonne from The Walking Dead. She is a no nonsense kinda gal and has real on-the-job experience. I mean, most of TWD cast would kick butt. But, for the sake of diversity (we can’t all be zombie killers) I will select a non-fiction character as well. I would say … Bruce Lee. Now, if it has to be someone currently alive, I would have to go with Jonathan Maberry. Not only is he a martial artist, he knows all about zombies and I think would be entertaining company.