Horror Writers Association Blog

Women in Horror Month – Interview with Lisa Morton

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February is Women in Horror Month! The HWA is celebrating by posting interviews with award-winning authors. Following is an interview with Lisa Morton, who has won the Bram Stoker Award six times for works including her short story, “Tested” (2006); non-fiction, A Hallowe’en Anthology (2008); long fiction, The Lucid Dreaming (2009); first novel, Castle of Los Angeles (2010); graphic novel, Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times with Rocky Wood (2012); and non-fiction, Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween (2012).

Tell us a little about your Bram Stoker Award-winning work(s). Inspirations? Influences? Anecdotes about the writing or critical reaction?

LM: I’ve won six times now, in five different categories (twice in Non-fiction, once each in First Novel, Graphic Novel, Long Fiction, and Short Fiction). However, I’m actually proudest of one loss – for my novel Malediction. That novel held significant personal meaning for me, it was a jury selection, and it lost out to Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep – overall it felt like the biggest win!

I have to confess that I’m disappointed I couldn’t put my last non-fiction book Ghosts: A Haunted History in the running for the award, but when I took over as HWA’s President in 2014 I removed all my solo works from consideration as long as I’m in office.

Talk about winning the award – how surprised were you? Did winning pay off in any interesting ways?

LM: My first win was in Short Fiction (for “Tested”). I found out I’d been nominated when Del Howison from Dark Delicacies called to congratulate me. I immediately assumed he was mistaken, and in fact I even asked the vote counters to double-check. I did that again after I won. I just couldn’t get over it.

That first win did seem to open doors – the number of short fiction invites I received went nuts.

Do you think women in horror face more difficulties than their male peers?

LM: First off, I don’t want to diminish how hard it is for anyone to achieve success as a writer. However, having said that – I think it’s harder for women to achieve success in almost any field. One of the biggest obstacles we have to overcome is ourselves. As women, we spend our whole lives being conditioned to step back, to be quiet and gracious and let the men lead. I became aware of that in myself at an early age, and I still have to work to move past it.

What advice would you give to new female authors looking to break into horror?

LM: Two words: Be bold. That applies to both your writing and your business methods. Submit all the time. Talk to editors and ask if they’ll look at your work. Network with other writers of both sexes.

What new works from you can we look forward to in the future?

LM: I’m currently working on my first coffee table art book (something I always wanted to try, so it’s a wonderful assignment). Hallows’ Eve, the HWA anthology I co-edited with Ellen Datlow, will be out later this year (and I couldn’t be happier with how it came out). And of course there’s always the usual batch of new short stories lurking in the shadows biding their time.

Find out more: http://www.lisamorton.com

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