Today I’ve got Lisamarie Lamb with me, talking horror, her influences, and her thoughts on writing in the genre as a woman. Let’s see what she has to say!
SJ: Why horror? Out of all the things to write, why does this genre appeal to you?
LL: It’s my favourite genre to read, and has been ever since I was a child – starting with the Point Horror books, and gradually moving on to more adult things! I’ve also always enjoyed horror films. So when I began to write, it was this genre that I fell into straight away. I’ve tried other things, but always come back to horror. You can get away with a lot more in the horror genre, and really allow your imagination to go wild!
SJ: Who or what were your horror genre inspirations growing up? What made you realize that you wanted to explore and participate in the genre?
LL: It all started with Christopher Pike and Chain Letter. I read it over and over, usually straight after I’d finished it I’d begin again! I read all of the point horrors, and R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike were my absolute heroes. Sati (not technically a horror, actually) still makes me sob.
SJ: What are women’s roles as horror characters? Are we doomed to be portrayed as victims or numbers on the sexual richter scale? Is it possible for male readers to find female horror characters that resonate with them?
LL: Times are changing, I think. More and more women are writing horror – hooray! – which means, statistically, that more and more of the main characters in these stories will be women. For me, it doesn’t matter whether the writer is a man or a woman (I used to think that R. L. Stine was a women) – it’s the story (and the characters that count). I just hope that the days of the 70s and 80s slasher horror films are giving way to something a little more interesting…
SJ: Why do people need to know about women horror writers, film makers, etc. What makes us equal or special in this already-saturated genre?
LL: Is it already saturated? I’m not sure. Lots of men and women write and produce horror, true, but in this genre there are no limits, that’s the beauty of it, so why not keep adding more? It’s when people stop making horror that the public will complain! I do agree that women need to be highlighted in the genre though – think of horror, and who springs to mind? Stephen King, Richard Laymon, Bentley Little, Dean Koontz… even back to my original loves of Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine – they’re all men. It would be wonderful for women to gain equal standing, so that girls growing up aren’t put off writing in the genre. My 3 year old daughter already loves making up scary stories – wonderful!
SJ: Who are some women horror writers/film makers/etc that people definitely should know about?
LL: Mary Harron is a fantastic director. She is the genius behind the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, and she manages to bring the book to life in a way that I’ve not seen before. Loved the book, love the movie. That doesn’t often happen to me! Writing wise, I’m privileged to know a number of wonderful female writers through my online connections, and through anthologies we’ve been in together. Billie Sue Mosiman, Lisa Hollar, Stacey Turner, and so many others…
SJ: Where do we go from here? Is it a matter of authors reaching out to local stores and libraries during February to encourage displays or readings by women horror writers? Is this an issue that should be taken to publishers to make sure there is equal representation of female-written horror in their catalogues? Is it a marketing issue, something that just gets lost in a jam-packed market? Is it a matter of readers just not knowing or caring, of sticking with what they know?
LL: I love Women in Horror month. I think it’s a great chance to show people that there is more out there than the Kings and Koontz stories that they’ve grown accustomed to. Marketing is definitely something that needs to be looked at – there is so much potential.
Twenty-two short horror stories written by women are here on display for your enjoyment or your perverse fascination. Within these pages, beauty becomes deadly, innocence kills, and karma is a harsh mistress.
The Grotesquerie is now open…