Women in Horror: Interview with V. Castro
V. Castro is a two-time Bram Stoker Award–nominated Mexican American writer from San Antonio, Texas now residing in the UK. As a full-time mother she dedicates her time to her family and writing Latinx narratives in horror, erotic horror, and science fiction. Her most recent releases include Aliens: Vasquez from Titan Books, Mestiza Blood and The Queen of the Cicadas from Flame Tree Press, and Goddess of Filth from Creature Publishing.
Her forthcoming novel is The Haunting of Alejandra from Del Rey.
What inspired you to start writing?
I hit a point in my life when I needed more than being a stay-at-home mother. There were also personal issues that pushed me to write down what I was thinking and feeling. Writing was an outlet and it took off.
What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
Since I was a child I have been a horror fan. My culture is full of folklore and urban legends that teeter on horror. It has been a natural fit most of my life!
Do you make a conscious effort to include female characters and themes in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray?
All my leads are female and Latina because there are so few of us writing and represented in the genre. I want to tell stories from my culture and show others the world through my perspective.
What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?
Writing is therapy! It allows me to share my experience as a Mexican American woman, but also come to terms with many of my own demons.
How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?
We are seeing much more inclusion which means fresh takes on the tried and tested horror tropes. I love this and see this continuing to expand.
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 think we have often been portrayed as victims in horror because we are just now getting a foothold in the genre. We are able to take old tropes and create new versions where we can be whoever we want to be.
I want to see more women of color getting the spotlight they deserve. We have mostly been ignored.
Who are some of your favorite female characters in horror?
I love Aaliyah in Queen of The Damned and Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
Who are some women who write horror you recommend our audience check out?
Laurel Hightower, Linda Addison, Silvia Moreno Garcia, Hailey Piper, Tananarive Due, Gemma Amor, Red Lagoe, Larissa Glasser, Nuzo Onoh, R.J. Joseph, Cina Pelayo… So many!
What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?
Horror means different things to different people. Don’t feel pressured to follow trends, however, we all feel fear. What you are writing might be perfect for someone.
And to the women who write horror out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?
Stay true to your voice and vision. Only you can tell your story. Perseverance is a must because there will be moments of rejection. If you want it, stay at it!