Women in Horror: Interview with Amy Grech
Amy Grech has sold over 100 stories to various anthologies and magazines including:
A New York State of Fright, Apex Magazine, Even in the Grave, Gorefest, Hell’s Heart, Hell’s Highway, Hell’s Mall, Microverses, Punk Noir Magazine, Roi Fainéant Press, Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, The Five-Two, The One That Got Away, Under Her Skin, Yellow Mama, and many others.
She is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers who lives in Forest Hills, Queens. You can connect with Amy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/amy_grech, or visit her website, https://www.crimsonscreams.com.
What inspired you to start writing?
When my family went to visit an aunt living in Kingston, NY, she gave me two of Stephen King’s novels, Cujo and Pet Sematary. I was 12 years old at the time. Despite the mature themes, I was immediately hooked on his work. Soon after, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at writing. The lack of female authors published in the genre during the 1980s motivated me to work toward seeing my name in print.
What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
Horror is an emotion with innumerable layers—sheer terror, abject fear, pervasive disquiet, shock and awe. I find Death morbidly fascinating. The French phrase for orgasm is la petite mort, which means the little death.
I’ve published stories and a novella in numerous horror sub-genres: erotic horror, paranormal horror, psychological horror, splatterpunk. I’ve even published a horror/sci-fi—my warped imagination knows no bounds.
Do you make a conscious effort to include female characters and themes in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray?
Yes, much of my work—short stories as well as novellas—feature strong female protagonists. I want to portray women as fierce individuals capable of exacting swift justice, putting unruly men in their place, often with lethal outcomes.
What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?
Writing horror has taught me that there’s no limit to the evil man is capable of inflicting on his fellow man. I’ve discovered that I have an extremely dark, twisted imagination. My muse feeds off my surroundings. Many of my short stories, as well as two of my crime novellas, are set in New York City, which makes perfect sense. I lived in Brooklyn for over 25 years, I’m in Manhattan frequently, spending time with friends, and I recently relocated to Forest Hills, Queens.
Take my story “Cold Comfort” in the anthology The One That Got Away from Kandisha Press, where a chance encounter at an NYC dive bar becomes an unlikely obsession. When I was in my 20s, I briefly lived on the Upper East Side. At the time, I was grieving the loss of my college boyfriend Keith, who delighted in being dominated in bed. We dated for almost two years and met each other’s parents, so it seemed like a natural progression to marriage. The feeling wasn’t mutual. Our breakup became the catalyst that inspired my story.
How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?
When I first started publishing during the mid-1990s, I could count the female horror authors attending conventions on one hand. Now, there’s a multitude of female horror authors speaking on panels. Publishers are more open to publishing women who write horror, as opposed to 20 years ago, when some female authors used their initials in lieu of their full name, afraid their work would be rejected based on their sex. As a matter of fact, the horror genre is teeming with, prolific female horror authors, and readers are eager for more…
How do you feel women have been represented thus far in the genre and what hopes do you have for representation in the genre going forward?
I’ve been a published horror author for over twenty-five years, and while I’ve had my fair share of successes, there have been a few daunting experiences, too. I despise the misconception that only men can write effective horror. During the mid-1990s, when I started to attend conventions, I was one of a scant few female horror authors there, part of a vast minority. We women banded together, seeking camaraderie.
Since then, the horror genre has grown by leaps and bounds in terms of inclusion. Now, there are lots of women speaking on panels and reading their work at various conventions; likewise, more publishers are open to working with female authors. I’ve had a poem published in Under Her Skin from Black Spot Books and a story in the anthology The One That Got Away from Kandisha Press.
Who are some of your favorite female characters in horror?
Carrie White, the protagonist in Stephen King’s first novel Carrie. I love her transformation from cowering victim to vicious villain, exacting lethal revenge on her classmates with her telekinetic abilities after being doused in pig’s blood at prom.
Ellen Ripley, aka Ripley from the novel Alien by Alan Dean Foster spawned the film franchise. She’s a no-holds-barred warrant officer who turns renegade when confronted by aliens aboard the Nostromo, a spaceship en route to Earth from Thedus.
Who are some women who write horror you recommend our audience check out?
Tracy Cross, Nicole Cushing, M. M. De Voe, Rhonda Jackson Joseph, and Samantha Kolesnik. These women writing horror are crafting provocative stories that resonate with readers.
What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
Write every day, even if you only have time to jot down ideas in a notebook. You can always review them later. It’s better than forgetting a flash of brilliance altogether. Bear in mind, some writers are more prolific than others—don’t feel intimidated by other authors who post daily word counts on social media. Slow and steady wins the race.
And to the women who write horror out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?
Don’t be afraid to seek out published women writing horror on social media, via our websites, Amazon author pages, or at a convention. Buy us a drink and we’re all ears. We’re happy to welcome new women who write horror into the fold and dispense our wisdom to help new women who write horror perfect their craft.