Greetings from the smoking monkey! I’m absolutely chuffed to be a guest poster here on Diane’s blog. I’m heavily dosed on flu medicine and ganked by fever right now, but I promise to attempt to stay on topic!
So let’s get to it!
February is Women in Horror month. How cool is that? Quite cool actually. It’s exciting to see the genre expanding into the mainstream for female writers. And by mainstream I mean no longer kept in a spiral notebook in a school locker! Snerk. Horror will always be on the fringe, even though it’s an integral part of the human psyche. Culturally we seek out the things that go bump in the night, that scare the absolute bejayzus out of us to distract from the horror of real life. Take Mary Shelley for instance, and the mind that could conceive of reanimating the dead. Whoa. In the Victorian era when women were supposed to be shrinking violets, weak, fainting little wisps of no intellect, this amazing woman created a masterpiece.
In this modern age, it’s thrilling to see the variety available from women writers. No longer pigeon-holed into romance, poetry, or light fantasy, we as women can explore that dark side, dump our deepest fears and night terrors onto the page, exorcise the shadows that lurk inside of our June Cleaver façade. We’ve come a long way, baby!
Please don’t take my analogy to mean that I hate romance, mystery or poetry! I don’t. But it’s not what I write (or read for that matter). I write creepy things, and cackle madly while I do. Raised on pulp fiction like Weird Tales, Tales From the Crypt, Poe, Lovecraft, King, Saturday Night Creature Features, and even Monty Python, it was inevitable that I’d become a writer.
My husband jokes that I seem so normal on the outside, but that there’s something very wrong in the deep, cobwebby recesses of my mind. He can’t read my stuff because it gives him bad dreams. Poor boo!
Story inspiration comes to me in many forms : dreams, headlines, dreams… It’s a rich and fertile landscape in my grey matter. But you know what they say, BETTER OUT THAN IN!
“Writing is so much cheaper than therapy, and you can drink while you do it!”
That’s my motto. My veritas. But I’m cheeky that way.
As a smoking monkey disguised as a woman and a horror writer, I must admit that I delight in the shocked looks from soccer moms at my daughter’s school when they ask what I “Do”.
I smile sweetly and reply, “I’m a writer.”
“Really?” they say, suddenly fawning. “What do you write?” even as they ramble on that they adore a good romance or mystery…
“Horror.” That usually ends the conversation. They stop listening even as I prattle on about the craft of writing urban fantasy, dystopian, short stories, speculative fiction, blah, blah, blah… And I suppose it’s rather sad that there isn’t more support at the micro level for us scribblers of the dark and perverse. But I’m a lover of the macabre; I always have been. Throw in some gallows humor and I’m in my happy place.
Personally I don’t go for the splatter and gore, the visceral vicera of red matter. Horror should evoke feelings of dread, not nausea. Now having said that, sometimes you just have to get a little meaty. But if I can make the reader laugh while I’m grossing them out, then I have achieved my goal.
One of my favorite writers, Stephen King, is a master of the dark humor snatch-and-grab. He lures you, the reader, into his dark and twisted tales with such panache and style, and then you laugh hysterically as the character descends into madness. But the writer who influenced me the most and made me want to put words to paper is Robert R. McCammon. Both he and King make the characters live in the stories.
When I grow up I hope that in some small way my characters can spring to life in the same fashion.
Two short stories – Liam Malone and The Worm Lady, plus two short story collections — Depravity Cavity: An Omnibus of Horror, and Tales of Shadow are available at Amazon.com for Kindle.
Two of my novels, Marker of Faith and Mostly Dead Melvin are with agents right now… How exciting is that?!
To read novel excerpts and revel in my kitschy, shameless self-promotion, you can visit my author site.
I’m also on twitter : @FoinahJameson
For now I’ll keep plugging away, delighting in gallows humor and things that go bump in the night.
Thanks, Diane, for giving me chance to babble at your readers!
Rock on, Women in Horror!