Women in Horror Month – Interview with Marge Simon
February is Women in Horror Month! The HWA is celebrating by posting interviews with award-winning authors. Following is an interview with Marge Simon who won the Bram Stoker Award for poetry in 2013 for Four Elements, in 2012 for Vampires, Zombies & Wanton Souls, and in 2007 for VECTORS: A Week in the Death of a Planet.
Tell us a little about your Bram Stoker Award-winning work(s). Inspirations? Influences? Anecdotes about the writing or critical reaction?
MS: 2007: My first was collaboration with the legendary writer/poet Charlee Jacob, VECTORS: A Week in the Death of a Planet” and it was based on the premise that a deadly virus was systematically killing off each and every person in the world. Our poems went deep into the human spirit and ranged to all races and all walks of life.
2012: The second was solo, VAPMIRES ZOMBIES & WANTON SOULS with Sandy DeLuca’s extraordinary genius providing the inspiration for poems to go with her paintings, some dark, some whimsical and some – very odd!
2013: The third was a four way collaboration with (and inspired by) Linda Addison, Rain Graves and Charlee Jacob, THE FOUR ELEMENTS. We each took an element (earth, fire, water, air) and wrote a section of speculative poetry on that element.
Generally, I write (and read) speculative poetry that contains elements of wonder – dark fantasy and science fiction. But my solo collection (and others, inspired by DeLuca’s art) and is on the darker side, thus the title. All along the way to my achievements, I have my husband, multiple award winning Grand Master Poet Bruce Boston, to thank for advice, input and encouragement. I consider myself pretty lucky for that.
Talk about winning the award – how surprised were you? Did winning pay off in any interesting ways?
MS: I was and always will be surprised if I win the award. It is a hugely staggering, humbling experience to get such acknowledgement from the HWA membership –especially since poetry isn’t as popular to read as fiction.
Interesting ways? Did it enhance my career, double my sales? I can’t answer that. But I can say that I have met many kindred spirits and writer/poets like myself that are now among my favorite friends. You can’t put a price on that!
Do you think women in horror face more difficulties than their male peers?
MS: I think that women who write in the genre are doing better today in getting their works accepted into small and greater small press and anthologies than men –or at least the ratio is more equal. It does depend on your publisher, audience and other factors, of course.
What advice would you give to new female authors looking to break into horror?
MS: Read good stuff. Read a lot of old, a lot of new. Keep the ideas flowing. Join the HWA and volunteer. The Horror University offers courses to help you in whatever is your specific area of interest. As for “breaking into horror”, I’m not sure what difference it makes. You are “breaking in to getting your work published and read”. It would be the same for any field of literature (or entertainment).
What new works from you can we look forward to in the future?
MS: I have a new collection with Mary A. Turzillo coming out this year, SATAN’S SPAWN -poems about monstrous women throughout history, Weasel Press. If you think the fairer sex is above the most evil and heinous of deeds, our collection will set you back in your shoes, I guarantee! For 2018, I am working on a dark poetry collection, WAR, with Alessandro Manzetti. We started on it in October and we’re excited about what we’ve done to date! It is not just about wars over times in history. There are the hidden wars, and the forbidden ones as well. We’ll touch on all kinds and it’s not going to be pretty. (Hee hee!)
Marge Simon lives in Ocala, Florida and is married to Bruce Boston. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter, “Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side,” and serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees. She won the Strange Horizons Readers Choice Award, 2010, the SFPA’s Dwarf Stars Award, 2012, and the Elgin Award for best poetry collection, 2015. She has won the Bram Stoker Award ® for Poetry, the Rhysling Award and the Grand Master Award from the SF Poetry Association, 2015. Marge also has work in the anthology Scary Out There, a story and poems in YOU, HUMAN and fiction in Chiral Mad 4, 2017, Dark Regions Press.