For some it comes from their parents’ expectations, the need to please, some it takes years of trial and error to draw obvious conclusions, and others just never seem to “get it.” But there comes a time in every person’s life where they need to decide who they are and where they are going. For me, it came early, perhaps too early. I want to write horror. I want to immerse your senses, so you can feel engaged in this new world, scare the shit out of you and enjoy doing it. Horror isn’t so much about dying as it is to feeling alive, enjoying the thrill of the ride.
Looking back I can choose to believe that living in a haunted house, or dealing with bullying in school lead me to find solace in my writing, but those were occurring during my adolescence making it even more complicated than it already was. Even before that, when I was 6, I knew there was something different about me when my mother told me not to blow up blood suckers on the firepit at our summer cottage. The next year I wrote a story for class about a troll, I can’t quite remember the ending, but I’d like to think the troll blew up.
Over the years I’ve always received the same reaction to my being a horror writer. Girls don’t write horror. You should write a nice romance novel. Only sickos go there. I’m not sure where this stigma comes from. Why shouldn’t women write horror and be damn good at it?
Shirley Jackson’s, The Lottery (1948) was so controversial when it came out in The New Yorker some people cancelled their subscriptions. Today, along with The Haunting of Hill House, are considered classics. As well as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Modern day writers are making waves too such as Sarah Pinborough, Lisa Morton, Sarah Langan, Alexandra Sokoloff, Sara Gran, Nancy Kilpatrick, and Fran Friel all manage to make our hearts race, creating provocative, gritty, and well deserved award winning fiction.
The stigma with horror is more so based on old time politics the authors themselves are affilliated or involved with, some forms of religious or social heresy. We are in the mainstream. Award winning writers and artists, a distinct subculture. So, it’s not on the fringe like some would suggest. Women are increasingly being drawn to this genre because the thrill, the suspense, the catharsis, the human experience. Sometimes you have to stop being so serious. Just let go and enjoy the ride.
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