Women in Horror: Interview with Lindy Ryan
Lindy Ryan is an award-winning author-editor of Into the Forest, Under Her Skin, and others. She is the founder of Black Spot Books, a small press that aims to amplify women’s voices in horror, and a contributor to Rue Morgue, Booktrib, and LitReactor. Lindy is an active member of HWA, ITW, the Brothers Grimm Society of North America, and one of Publishers Weekly’s 2020 Star Watch Honorees. She previously served on the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Board of Directors and is currently co-chair of the HWA Publishers Council. Her debut horror novel, Bless Your Heart, is forthcoming from Minotaur Books. www.LindyRyanWrites.com and on social media @LindyRyanWrites.
What inspired you to write?
I don’t remember a time when I ever wasn’t writing. I think that’s the way it sometimes goes—it’s in the blood.
What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
Kind of like always writing; I’ve always been a horror girl. There’s a rawness and authenticity to horror that always appealed to me, and whether it’s nature or nurture, I’ve always been a moth to the genre.
Do you consciously try to include female characters and themes in your writing, and if so, what do you want to portray?
Absolutely. Women live and breathe horror in our everyday lives. It only makes sense that we included and represented them in its stories, too.
What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?
That it’s okay to be scared and it’s okay to fight back. It’s okay—and necessary—to take a stance against your fears and monsters, whether figurative, literal or somewhere in between. Horror is as much about facing the unknown as it is about survival and hope.
How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?
The only constant is change, right? I like to think the genre has seen tremendous growth, change, and acceptance in recent years, and I hope—and will fight—to see horror continue to be more mainstream, inclusive, and diverse in the years ahead.
How do you feel horror has represented women in the genre, and what hopes do you have for representation in the genre in the future?
That’s a big question and not one with a simple answer. The unfortunate truth is that—no matter the progress or the influential voices in the genre throughout history and today—women’s contributions to horror (across media) continue to be ignored, usurped, or downplayed (or worse). In the future, I want to see women’s voices in horror continue to grow, become louder, demand attention and carve out the space that’s ours.
Who are some of your favorite female characters in horror?
I can’t pick a favorite. All of them?
Who are some women who write horror you recommend our audience check out?
I could never name all the incredible women in horror, but some of my favorites include Rachel Harrison, Catriona Ward, Kristi DeMeester, Sarah Gailey, Sara Tantlinger, Gwendolyn Kiste, Lucy A. Snyder, Hailey Piper, Zoje Stage, Zin E. Rocklyn, Darcy Coates, and T. Kingfisher. I recommend everyone read them, along with all the women who’ve contributed to this interview series. Read the women who appear on the Bram Stoker Awards® ballot and horror anthologies ToCs. There is no shortage of incredible female voices in horror.
What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
Don’t be afraid to bend the rules or push the boundaries. Horror is broad and elastic. Push it.
And to the women who write horror out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give?
Many people will tell you that women and horror don’t mix. They’re wrong. Make them remember why.