Women in Horror Month – Interview with Elizabeth Monteleone
February is Women in Horror Month! The HWA is celebrating by posting interviews with award-winning authors. Following is an interview with Elizabeth Monteleone, who won the Bram Stoker Award in 2003 for the anthology Borderlands 5.
Tell us a little about your Bram Stoker Award-winning work(s). Inspirations? Influences? Anecdotes about the writing or critical reaction?
EM: As with most things in my life, I tend to back into many of the successes that happen to me. If I decide to take on task (such as editing the Borderlands series with my husband and then taking over the small press –insert evil laugh here.) I do it 100%. Funny thing, when I started this venture, it never even crossed my mind that I would be honored with a cool haunted house sculpture. It was a great feather in my cap and it made me feel like I really belonged to this horror community!
Talk about winning the award – how surprised were you? Did winning pay off in any interesting ways?
EM: I feel like I cheated a little. I had as a co-editor the BRILLIANT Thomas F. Monteleone. Thank goodness he saw talent in me. Having been a life-long reader, and lover of books (I wish I could remember who said this but it applies to me “I’m a literary whore, I’ll read anyone.”) I started reading the slush pile and the stories I sent on to Tom seem to have impressed him because he told me I had an unerring instinct for what comprised a good story. High praise indeed!
Winning gave me a confidence I didn’t know I lacked when it came to validating my ability to recognize good writing.
Do you think women in horror face more difficulties than their male peers?
EM: I hope not. I think good work should not be defined by age, sex, religion or anything else. I think these are excuses and a crutch. It’s something people tell themselves to make them feel comfortable in their failure. When I read stories for Borderlands (or any fiction) I (and don’t tell anybody this) never pay attention to the author’s name. For me, story is everything.
What advice would you give to new female authors looking to break into horror?
EM: Don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t succeed because _____( fill in the blank). If you really want to, you can. And I really believe this! (especially if you participate in the Borderlands Press Writers Boot Camp held every January…I know, shameless plug.)
What new works from you can we look forward to in the future?
EM: I have passed my editor’s torch to my daughter, Olivia. Funny thing, her dad noted that see too seems to have a good eye for story telling. I am strictly behind the scenes now. With Olivia, Borderlands Press and the Borderlands anthology series continues with a woman at the helm!