Horror Writers Association Blog

Welcome to Women in Horror Month!

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Hello & welcome to Women in Horror Month 2014!

I’m proud to be acting as editor for this special month where we all get to celebrate our Femme Fatales of the genre. From the weavers of worlds filled with fear & dread to those of us who work hard at making it all come together, women have an instrumental part to play in the horror fiction genre at large.  Ever since the days of Gothic Literature, women have been an integral part of the horror genre. Our guides being Mary Shelley, Ann Radcliffe, Elizabeth Gaskell & Charlotte Bronte in the early ages of the genre, leading to the likes of Angela Carter, Anastasia Blackwell, Daphne Du Maurier & Shirley Jackson whose numerous works have helped shape & influence today’s abundance of female writers.

But there is something I feel is worth a mention here; we need more women writers submitting to publishers. Sources have shown the lack of committed contributions from females to the major publishing houses, Julie Crisp showed this by means of percentages of male/female submissions to Tor last year, see here for the original post. Even our very own Association has introduced a scholarship to help aid women in our genre; The Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship. Information on this can be found here.

From my own perspective, the realms of editing & publishing, I commend our female members who have been an inspiration to myself & countless others trying to further ourselves in this fantastic genre. Ellen Datlow has always been a source of awe for her editing & anthologist skills, Lisa Morton being another in a list I daren’t add in fear of filling the page! There’s my two-pence worth…now on with the subject at hand.

For each day of this month we’ll be bringing you a piece written by one of our fine members on the subject in hand. We hope you’ll keep coming back each day to check out our latest contribution!

So, without further ado, we present to you our first contributor…Amy Grech.

 

Scary Lady: Why I Write Horror

 

Growing up on Long Island with a twin brother a minute older than me, I remember one Christmas; my mother bought me a doll. She showed it to me and I pushed it aside, not a stereotypical girl, I preferred to play with my googlies instead: an assortment of rubber monsters that included a dragon, a glow-in the dark skeleton and other assorted creatures.

 

Don’t get me wrong, as a little girl I played hopscotch with the other girls. Jump rope, too, but I also loved digging in the dirt for earthworms and battles…A bit of a daredevil, I also reveled in the thrill of ridding bikes with the boys and flying off a crude plywood jump propped up precariously on two cinder blocks.

I started writing seriously in high school after reading several of Stephen King’s novels; I was hooked on Horror at the tender age of twelve when an Aunt gave me a copy of Cujo!  I’ve been reading Stephen King’s books ever since. I noticed there weren’t very many women writing scary stories, so I set out to change that. Why should men have all the fun, writing frightfully good fiction?

I was raised Catholic. The nuns at my Catholic elementary school could scare kids with just one look…plus, most of those Bible stories are downright scary! Funny, I’m not very religious now.

 

The Horror genre is definitely male dominated. The odds are stacked against female Authors, but creative, ambitious women will always run with the boys. Besides me, there are a handful of successful Horror Authors: Linda Addison, Louise Bohmer, Fran Friel, Sephera Giron, Nancy Kilpatrick, K.H. Koehler, Jan Kozlowski, Sarah Langan, Joyce Carol Oates, Kelli Owen, and Gina Ranalli to name a few…

 

I remember when I first started attending conventions back in the 1990s and male Horror Authors unfamiliar with my work asked me whose wife/girlfriend I was. I’d just shrug, mention some of my publishing credits and then tell these guys I’d be reading at the con. Some would attend my reading and even buy my books.

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Women tend to be more emotional than men, so being a woman allows me to covey my characters’ emotions, no matter how good or bad. My parents weren’t exactly pleased with my choice of Horror. To appease them, I wrote and sold several children’s stories, but that’s not where my heart was.  My mother reads my work, but my father flat out refuses to; maybe one day he’ll come around…

I think men feel threatened by women who write Horror and are successful because we aren’t afraid to get down and dirty! Society says women shouldn’t do certain things. Being attracted to the macabre and writing scary sometimes-graphic stories may be one of them, but I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drummer, so I’ll continue to focus on Horror! Skeptics be damned! Follow your muse, ladies! If it’s hell-bent on scaring the pants off your readers, then so be it!

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Amy Grech has sold over one hundred stories and three poems to various anthologies and magazines including: Apex Magazine, Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled, Fear on Demand, eFiction Magazine, Funeral Party 2, Inhuman Magazine, Needle Magazine, Space & Time, The Uninvited Magazine, Under the Bed, and many others. Damnation Books published her second collection, Blanket of White.

 

She has a story forthcoming in Expiration Date. Amy is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association who lives in Brooklyn. Visit her website: http://www.crimsonscreams.com.  Follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/amy_grech.

 

Tomorrow’s contributor is Lisa Morton…see you here same time, same place!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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