Women in Horror Month – Interview with Yvonne Navarro
February is Women in Horror Month! The HWA is celebrating by posting interviews with award-winning authors. Following is an interview with Yvonne Navarro, who won the Bram Stoker Award in 2001 for her Young Readers novel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Willow Files Vol. 2.
Tell us a little about your Bram Stoker Award-winning work(s). Inspirations? Influences? Anecdotes about the writing or critical reaction?
YN: Gosh, I’m not nearly as complicated as that question sounds. My novelization, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Willow Files Vol. 2, won the 2001 Bram Stoker for Young Readers. I was one of the core Buffy novel authors, and the only one who wrote about Willow. I loved writing in the Buffy universe, plus I had a spectacular editor. Obviously at the time I was all happily percolating in everything Joss Whedon and Buffy. Good times and I miss them. I always thought the line of books could have continued for a lot longer, but it just was not to be.
Talk about winning the award – how surprised were you? Did winning pay off in any interesting ways?
YN: Lol — I couldn’t attend and I got the call that I’d won at nearly midnight. Maybe it was later– I was so groggy I went right back to bed. Alas, no payoff that I could discern. I think if I’d been newer to the field or if the book hadn’t been a novelization, there might have been. I don’t think anyone was more surprised than me to see a novelization– something based on television scripts– win the award.
Do you think women in horror face more difficulties than their male peers?
YN: That’s a tough question. I can say that I’ve never discerned any real difference, although frankly, maybe I didn’t notice. I just kept plowing ahead, determined to write and get my stuff out there. If I found out about an anthology I liked and I hadn’t been invited, I’d write the editor and ask if I could submit. Sometimes the answer was yes, sometimes no. I fought with fellow female authors about the statement “I have to write like a man to sell.” It was all I could do to scream “No. You don’t write like a man. You write like a writer!” (Which I actually did, on one convention panel.) Way back in the eighties I had an editor who shall remain unnamed (no sense fussing about those who’ve passed on) (a) forget he told me it was okay to submit to his anthology, and (b) tell me “A woman would never do this.” Except a woman would– the protagonist’s actions in the story were exactly what I had done– I was even still living in the same apartment the story was set in. On the flipside, I don’t see as many women published in the horror field, and I don’t see as many (or sometimes any at all) female names in anthologies. Is it became it’s more difficult for women to get published in horror? Or because there simply aren’t as many of us writing horror? I honestly can’t answer that.
What advice would you give to new female authors looking to break into horror?
YN: I said it up there. Write like a writer. Don’t write like a woman, don’t write like a man. Write like a writer, like you. Write the absolute best that you can. And what I tell every writer trying to break into any genre: Read your stuff aloud, like you were an actor on the stage. If you’re self-conscious, then do it when no one else is home or lock the door. That’s the way you’ll get around your brain telling your eyes everything is good. That’s how you’ll find the weird wording, bad punctuation, too-long sentences, misspellings. Reading aloud is golden.
What new works from you can we look forward to in the future?
YN: Right now I’m working on edits from the publisher for SUPERNATURAL: The Usual Sacrifices, an original novel set in the Sam and Dean Winchester SUPERNATURAL universe. Planned publication date is May of this year. (https://www.amazon.com//dp/1783298561?ie=UTF8&tag=duststacbook-20)