Dangerous Dames: Women Who Write Horror
I started writing seriously in high school after reading several of Stephen King’s novels; I got hooked on horror at the tender age of twelve when an aunt gave me a copy of Cujo. I’ve been reading Stephen King’s books ever since. Growing up during the 1980s, I noticed there weren’t very may women writing scary stories. Inspired, I set out to change that. Why should men have all the fun, writing frightfully good fiction? After all, women are highly attuned to emotions — clearly capable of delivering subtle scares, as well as visceral visions that linger long after the reader turns the final page.
Horror is such a primal emotion. Humans have always endured dread — it’s enmeshed in our subconscious — the very essence of our being. Countless stories have been told about what scares us; an innumerable amount await.
When I first submitted my stories for publication, I encountered lots of rejection. Uncertain if this was because I was a woman, or due to the fact I was new to the genre, I eschewed self-doubt and quickly progressed from form rejection letters to the inclusion of personal comments, which proved quite useful. Fears unfounded. As the submission process evolved from via snail mail — don’t forget to include a SASE — to email, and ultimately Submittable, I grew bolder, grateful for Editors’ comments and fresh perspective, which enabled me to grow as a writer and submit my work to another market, where it was usually accepted.
After several stories found homes in various magazines, I challenged myself to send stories to anthologies and have been published in several. Such an honor when Editor Billie Sue Mosiman invited me to submit a story to Fright Mare, an all-female author anthology published in 2016, that featured stories by: Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Elizabeth Massie, Kathryn Ptacek, Loren Rhoads, Lucy Taylor, just to name a few. Twenty authors in all. It’s a fantastic compilation that demonstrates that women can write frightfully good fiction!
As a female horror author, several male authors have asked how I manage to write men so well. They’re curious about my process for capturing different nuances and mannerisms. My answer is shockingly simple: I write from experience — the men in my life, past and present provide ample inspiration for my characters. Over the years, I’ve based male characters in my…