Horror Writers Association

Females of Fright: Lisa Morton


As part of our month-long celebration of Women in Horror Month, the HWA reached out to our members who have something special to share about a Woman in Horror from the organization who made a difference in their career or life. We also have conducted short interviews with some of the top women in the horror field. Please check back often, as these will be posted periodically.

When did you join the HWA? How did you serve the HWA and for how long?

I’m actually not 100% sure when I joined, but I think it must’ve been 1992, because Dennis Etchison was President then and he talked me into joining. I’ve served HWA in multiple positions, but I’m proudest of my time as President (2014-2019).

Who were/are your biggest influences?

I’ve already mentioned Dennis Etchison, who remains my favorite writer of short horror fiction (and I consider myself very lucky to have known him for nearly forty years). I’m also indebted to Stephen Jones, who is the editor I’ve worked with most often, and Roberta Lannes, who was probably the first person to encourage me to start submitting my short fiction work.

Was there ever a time you felt being a woman affected your career (for better or for worse)?

Yes, but as a screenwriter (and it was definitely for worse). As a writer of fiction and nonfiction prose, I can’t say that I’ve personally directly encountered sexism, although goodness knows I’ve heard the horror stories (no pun intended) from female friends and colleagues.

Do you feel women’s role in the horror genre could be improved? If so, how?

Yes, it certainly can be improved. One of the things I was proudest of during my time as HWA President was the creation of the Diverse Works Inclusion Committee, which produces the monthly “Seers’ Table” column to provide shout-outs of authors who are women, people of color, LGBTQ, and disabled. It’s also important to create the next generation of women writers by offering scholarships, participating in HWA’s Mentor Program, and doing what we can to make women authors feel as welcome in the genre as possible.

Lisa Morton is a screenwriter, author of non-fiction books, and award-winning prose writer whose work was described by the American Library Association’s Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror as “consistently dark, unsettling, and frightening”. She is the author of four novels and 150 short stories, a six-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award®, and a world-class Halloween expert. She co-edited (with Leslie S. Klinger) the anthology Ghost Stories: Classic Tales of Horror and Suspense; forthcoming in 2020 is Calling the Spirits: A History of Seances. Lisa lives in Los Angeles, and online at www.lisamorton.com.

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