I write horror.
And paranormal romance but mostly I write dark—sometimes very dark.
When I tell people that, I may get the “Ewwwww. I can’t read that stuff.” “How can you write that stuff?” “I could NEVER read Stephen King.” (More on that remark later) And variations on that theme.
Yes, I’m a woman and I write horror.
Without being too obvious, do I have to say that the first “modern” horror (and probably scifi) writer was a woman? A woman of the 19th Century named Mary Shelley. Her creation has frightened millions for the last 200 years.
So, why do I write horror?
I don’t know—really. I think it’s the “what if—“question that leads me to it.
Or it could have been my parents.
I used to have night terrors. Sixty years ago children were not pampered and petted when they awoke in the middle of the night afraid. Many times I was spanked—as if that would calm me down and get me back to sleep.
Did I “see” things in my little room on the other side of the stairs away from every other member of my family? Maybe. Maybe it was just my imagination—creative even then. Or maybe I was jealous of my younger sister and wanted the attention.
Who knows what lingers in the mind of a six year old. And what stays there for the next sixty years.
Maybe we should blame Susie Spence—one of my childhood friends.
I grew up in the fifties and sixties when B Horror movies were the staple of Saturday afternoons. My parents wouldn’t let me go to the movies because of my night terrors. But Susie Spence went and every Monday she would explain the entire story to me.
You could say Susie Spence introduced me to Poe. I was so surprised when I found his stories didn’t quite match the movies.
I write horror.
I’m not ashamed of that fact. I’m in good company.
Stephen King is one of this generations great writers. I predict he will be studied in literature and writing classes (if he isn’t already) in the future, along with Hawthorne, Melville, Hemmingway. Writers should read him just to learn the craft.
I write horror.
I’m a woman who writes horror.
Looking at the number of women who’ve won the Stoker Award (Horror Writer Association’s honor) you wouldn’t think there were a lot of us female horror writers around. But there are. We are Legion—ahem.
February has been Women in Horror Month. Colleen Wanglund had a great article in Examiner.com last year (http://www.examiner.com/article/women-horror-the-writers) that listed many of the best of the best women in horror. I have no problem sharing her list:
Poppy Z. Brite—Exquisite Corpse (Touchstone 1997), Drawing Blood (Dell 1994)
Mary Sangiovanni—The Hollower (Leisure Books 2007), Found You (Leisure Books 2008)
Carol Weekes—The Color of Bone (Genius Publishing 2012), Dead Reflections (JournalStone 2013)
Lisa Morton—The Castle of Los Angeles (Gray Friar Press 2010), Night-Mantled: The Best of Wily Writers(Wily Writers 2011)
Chesya Burke—Dark Faith (Apex Publications 2010), Dark Dreams: A Collection of Horror and Suspense by Black Writers (Kensington 2004)
Yvonne Navarro—Music of the Spears: Aliens Series (Spectra 1996), Deep Cuts: Mayhem, Menace and Misery (Evil jester press 2013)
Melanie Tem—The Deceiver (Leisure Books 2003), Slain in the Spirit (Leisure Books 2002)
Billie Sue Mosiman—Widow (Berkley 1995), Red Moon Rising: A Vampire Novel (DAW 2003)
Caitlin R. Kiernan—The Drowning Girl (Roc Trade 2012), Tales of Pain and Wonder (Subterranean 2008)
Gemma Files—Kissing Carrion (Prime Books 2003), The Worm in Every Heart (Prime Books 2006)
Sheri Gambino—Vicious Verses and Reanimated Rhymes: Zany Zombie Poetry for the Undead Head(Coscom Entertainment 2009), Rellik (2011)
Damien Walters Grintalis—Ink (Samhain Publishing 2012), Arcane (CreateSpace 2011)
Fran Friel—Mama’s Boy and Other Dark Tales (Apex Publications 2008), “Wings With Hot Sauce” (The horror Library 2005)
Tananarive Due—The Between (Harper Perennial 1996), Domino Falls: A Novel (Atria Books 2013)
Lucy Snyder—Chimeric Machines (Creative Guy Publishing 2009), Shotgun Sorceress (Del Rey Books 2010)
Alexandra Sokoloff—The Unseen (St. Martin’s Press 2009), The Harrowing (St. Martin’s Press 2006)
Sarah Pinborough—The Taken (Dorchester Publishing 2007), Breeding Ground (Leisure Books 2006)
Sarah Langan—The Keeper (HarperTorch 2006), Audrey’s Door (Harper Publishing 2009)
Tonia Brown—Badass Zombie Road Trip (Books of the Dead press 2012), Skin Trade: An Historical Horror (CreateSpace 2012)
Jessy Marie Roberts—Bloody Carnival (Pill Hill press 2010), Kinberra Down (Pill Hill Press 2010; with Eric S. Brown)
Check out these ladies—most have more recent offerings.
Another website to check out: Nicole DeGennaro: http://nicoledegennaro.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/wihm-women-writing-horror/
Did you have night terrors as a kid? Do you still?
Do you read horror?
If not, why?
And if you do, who’s your favorite writer of the scary?