Category: Interviews

WiHM 12: Quick Six Questions with Sarah Gribble

Welcome to The Horror Tree, and thank you for participating in Women In Horror Month. First, tell us a bit about yourself and your interest in horror.

Great to be here! I live in dreary Ohio. I think we’ve had two days of sun in the last month and it’s currently fifteen degrees outside, which is great for a horror-writing mindset, but not so great for going outdoors, which is another thing I love. I have a menagerie of pets and am currently fighting my cat for keyboard rights.

I’ve been into horror since I discovered my first Goosebumps book. It was a love affair from then on. As I got older and read more mature horror stories, I started to realize horror wasn’t all about jump scares and spooky things. Most horror has an underlying theme and points out some seedy underbelly of society that needs to be changed. I try to keep to that in my stories.

Why is Women In Horror Month important, and what do you say to someone who says ‘Oh, I don’t care if it’s by a man, a woman, etc., as long as it’s a good story’?”

To anyone who just looks at how good a story is, I say good for them! It’s refreshing. Though I also wonder if it’s quite true. There’s bias when you look at book covers, whether you know it or not. Female authors are less likely to be successful in the more “male” genres, like horror. I know quite a few women who use pseudonyms or their initials for their byline so as to not advertise they’re female. Luckily, I’ve seen some change in this in the past several years. More women are refusing to hide their real names and forcing people to get over the fact that a woman wrote a horror story. That’s one of the reasons it’s important to celebrate women in horror: to support these women and to acknowledge that gender plays absolutely zero role in producing a good story, no matter the genre.

The other reason I love Women in Horror Month? It showcases horror in an empowering light. Unfortunately, there’s a bias against horror writers in general. People tend to think we’re going to hex them or somehow associating with us is going to get them a one-way ticket to hell. Seriously. At least a dozen people have told me this. Some members of my husband’s family doesn’t acknowledge that I write at all because they don’t want to discuss the fact that I write horror. We’re “icky” and “weird’ and I’ve heard the line “why would a nice girl like you want to write that trash?” more times than I can count. I love what I do and the bad rap horror gets really bugs me. So this month is a time to say “hey, I write horror and I’m not a horrible person.”

Who are some Women In Horror (or other women) who have influenced your work, and why?

Mary Shelley, Ania Ahlborn, and Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire). I remember reading Frankenstein in 10th grade and getting so furious at how the monster was treated. I wrote an entire book report on it that was basically just four pages of ranting about how people are the worst. I don’t think a book has ever affected me that much. I don’t necessarily write my stories to make people jump up in a fury and march into the street, but I do try to add a bit of that injustice in there when I can. And Ania and Mira/Seanan are just amazing and their books scare the crap out of me. There aren’t many things that can get my heart racing, but these ladies’ books can.

2020 will probably be remembered as a TERRIBLE year for many of us; tell me something GOOD that happened in the past 12 months.

My dark fantasy book, Surviving Death, was published! Which was stressful and scary, but overall a great thing. It was a #1 New Release for over two weeks!

What have you got planned for Women in Horror Month, and the coming months of 2021?

I normally do giveaways and things like that, but I’m super busy at work this month, so I don’t have a ton planned for my readers. I am sharing any work I see from women in horror to my fans. I have very loose plans for the rest of 2021. I made a ton of plans for 2020 and that was a bust, so I’m toning it down a bit this year. Lower the bar, you know? What I do know is I’ll be finishing two books this year, and one’s a gothic horror novel.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers? Thanks for participating in Women in Horror Month!

I’ve been following Horror Tree for years now and I’ve become friends with a lot of you that lurk around here. I’m so happy to be part of this awesome community! Keep reading and writing horror and don’t let the naysayers get you down. Oh, and go buy a book by a female horror author you’ve never read. (And leave a review!)

Bio:
Sarah Gribble is the author of dozens of short stories that explore uncomfortable situations, basic fears, and the general awe and fascination of the unknown. She released Surviving Death, her first novel, in 2020 and is currently working on her next book. Follow her on Instagram or join her email list for free scares.

Website: https://sarah-gribble.com.

WiHM 12: An Interview With Grace Kimball

As the month for Women In Horror comes to a close I was able to catch up with Grace Kimball. Her latest collection Twisted Anatomy, which she co-edited with Sam Brunke-Kervin, Tracy Robinson, Lilyn George, and Oliver Clarke, was released on February 19th. You might recognize her work from Sci-Fi and Scary where she does reviews on horror books, movies, and games.

JG: Hi Grace! Thank you so much for taking the time to do the interview! I was so pumped when I found out that not only were you a horror writer but you also had a collection coming out! Congrats on that!

GK: We have a great team of people in the Kali Krew, and several of them pulled together and pooled resources to make twisted anatomy happen. It has been an interesting experiment, considering the only thing we outsourced was the cover design.

Well, I’m not actually an author, lol. I write for Sci-Fi and Scary and have a reoccurring series called Focus on the Frightful where I talk about all things horror-related.

JG: How long have you been in horror?
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WiHM 12: Quick Six Questions With Scarlett R. Algee

Welcome to The Horror Tree, and thank you for participating in Women In Horror Month. First, tell us a bit about yourself and your interest in horror. 


Hi! I’m Scarlett R. Algee, and I’m the managing editor of JournalStone Publishing and Trepidatio Publishing—you may know us from our releases such as Gwendolyn Kiste’s The Rust Maidens and Sarah Read’s The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, both Bram Stoker Award® winners. I’m also an executive producer and writer for the podcast The Wicked Library, and I write the odd bit of fiction in my spare time.

 

My interest in horror goes back a way, though I was a college student when I first started seriously reading horror fiction (I had a fairly conservative upbringing, and horror wasn’t really a part of my childhood). I have a deep fascination with the visceral and the disturbing—I was that biology student who actually enjoyed dissection!—so it’s been really nice to discover first the genre of horror, and then the community.

Why is Women In Horror Month important, and what do you say to someone who says ‘Oh, I don’t care if it’s by a man, a woman, etc., as long as it’s a good story’?”
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WiHM 12: Quick Six Questions With Pippa Bailey

Welcome to The Horror Tree, and thank you for participating in Women In Horror Month. First, tell us a bit about yourself and your interest in horror. 

 

My name is Pippa Pilgrim, although I still write under my maiden name Bailey. I’m from England originally (born in Oxford), but I was a Royal Air Force brat, so we moved around a lot. I’ve been living in the Scottish Highlands for the last three years, with my fellow author and husband, Myk Pilgrim. 

I love the idea of inserting something weird into our daily lives, and tend to write a lot of speculative fiction, and supernatural horror. Whether that be origami that folds space and time in “The Un-making of Jennifer Hawkins” (Released in 13 Wicked Tales by the Wicked Library) or a book that allows you to make a wish, based on what you draw within it (yet to be titled but due for release in the next year)

Most my work has been released through my co-owned publishing company Pugnacious Press, or through the amazing Wicked Library podcast (which you should most definitely check out, with my latest story release, and the season 10 finally being, “Close your Mouths and Clench Eyes Tight” a Haitian bogey man story – here’s a free link to the audio adaptation by Guy Fortt.) https://thewickedlibrary.com/1020/

 
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WiHM 12: An Interview With Michelle River of Eerie River Publishing

Michelle River and Eerie River Publishing

By Angelique Fawns


Michelle River and her Canadian-based small independent publishing house are helping other indie authors achieve their goals. Things are busy for this mother of two; River has a toddler and a newborn, but she still somehow finds the time to run her company. Focusing on horror, Eerie River Publishing provides a wide range of services like editing, formatting, cover design, and social media marketing. They have an ongoing submission call for their monthly contest, and the theme for February is “Monsters”. Michelle River talked with me about how she finally brought her lifelong dreams to fruition. 

 

AF: Tell me about the creation of Eerie River Publishing?
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An interview with Author Jo Kaplan

An Interview with Jo Kaplan, author of It Will Just Be Us

Describe your book cover; what are we seeing? How did it come about?

“In Wakefield Manor, a decaying ancestral mansion brooding on the edge of the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia, there is a locked room.” So starts the novel—and that mysterious locked room lies at the end of the third floor hallway. I like to think we’re getting a glimpse of that hallway in the book cover. We see a vine-covered wall, which also evokes the setting of the swamp, and on that wall a mirror reflecting the hallway back at us. Maybe my favorite part of the cover is the shadowy face of a boy—the ghost who becomes integral to the story.

I adore how the cover designer, Melanie Sun, brought all of this together, and with beautiful colors, too! The publisher had asked me some very detailed questions to help nail down the best cover for the book, and I think they all did a spectacular job.

 

Tell me about your novel’s genesis, and its inspiration.

It Will Just Be Us is, first and foremost, a haunted house story. I love a good haunted house story and knew I wanted to write one—but I also wanted to do something a little different with the haunting, and with the notion of ghosts. It was definitely inspired by great haunted house books like The Haunting of Hill House and House of Leaves, as well as by the dark psychology, moody atmosphere, and twisted history of the Gothic tradition.

But the idea of a house haunted by echoes of the past really coalesced from a concept into a story with the genesis of Julian, and the question of whether we can be haunted by the future as much as we are haunted by the past.

Tell me about Julian and his inspiration.

So, here’s a funny coincidence: I was writing this book around the time my sister was pregnant with her first child—my nephew. And the book is about Sam Wakefield, whose sister is also pregnant… with her son, who may or may not be the creepy faceless ghost Sam keeps seeing around the house. To top it off—and this really was a total coincidence—my nephew’s name sounds surprisingly similar to Julian.

But that’s where the similarity ends. My nephew is a sweet boy and couldn’t be further from the sadistic Julian.

The key question that really inspired the whole situation with Julian is that philosophical question: would you kill baby Hitler? In this case, if Sam is really being haunted by the ghostly presence of her sister’s unborn son, and he is as evil as this ghost seems to be, then what will she do to stop him?

I love creepy kids in horror, so it was also just a great opportunity to play with that trope!

Without giving away the novel’s ending, did you know where it was heading? In other words, were you headed toward that ending, or…?

Yes, I knew exactly where it was headed. I actually find it almost impossible to start writing a novel without some sense of its conclusion. I like to know where it’s all heading so that I can work out how to get there. I love when a story surprises me, though—there are often elements of the ending I haven’t quite worked out yet that crystallize once I’ve written my way there. But in terms of the main events and revelations, well, once I realize where a novel is going, it seems almost inevitable.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

It’s probably pretty clear from my previous answer that I’m a plotter. Often the middle section of a novel is less planned-out than the beginning and end, so there’s still plenty of room to see where the story takes me as I write it, but I like to have at least a basic sense of plot to guide me.

Where do you write?

Currently, I’m lucky enough to have a home office that provides a peaceful place to write, although one of my cats nearly always jumps up onto my desk and gets in my way when I sit down, and he’s just too adorable to push away. I love having a private, quiet place to write, but it’s only recently that I’ve gotten to enjoy that, since my husband and I lived in a one bedroom apartment with a small desk against the living room wall, so I had to learn how to tune out whatever was going on nearby when I wanted to get my writing groove on. Sit me down in my own space with a cup of coffee and I’m set!

What is the first horror novel you ever read, and what made it appealing?

You know, that’s a great question, and I truly cannot remember. I’ve been reading horror since I was a kid, starting with the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books and the Goosebumps series. My first horror novel was probably some forgettable children’s horror book from the library—I used to churn through as many of those as I could get my hands on. I was just drawn to everything about the horror genre: the delightful spookiness, the ghosts and monsters, the supernatural encroaching on the real. Once I started reading horror, I just never stopped.

Do you have a favorite female author?

There are so many amazing women horror writers; one of my favorites is Shirley Jackson. We Have Always Lived in the Castle was another big inspiration for It Will Just Be Us, and is a book I could just read over and over again. Her short fiction is deliciously unsettling, too.

Some other favorites are Joyce Carol Oates, Gemma Files, T. Kingfisher, Jennifer McMahon, and S.P. Miskowski.

Who’s your favorite female villain?

This is a hard one. I think I’m going to have to go with Annie Wilkes.

How do you watch horror? (In your pjs, alone, with popcorn?)

In the dark. I always have to turn out the lights to watch. It’s just so much better and more immersive that way! Not alone, though—my husband likes horror, too, so we usually watch things together.

What writing tools are a must?

I think the only 100% necessary tool is your brain. For me, personally, I need a computer, though. I’m way too impatient to write by hand, and my fingers move much faster on a keyboard. All I really need is a word processor and a cup of coffee, but it’s also helpful to have something on hand to jot down notes and ideas throughout the day, whether it’s a little notebook or my phone.

Best writing advice you’d like to share?

Be wary of all general advice.” – Richard Bausch

WiHM 12: Quick Six Questions With Trish Wilson

Welcome to The Horror Tree, and thank you for participating in Women In Horror Month. First, tell us a bit about yourself and your interest in horror. 

My name is E. A. Black and I have written numerous short horror stories for various publications. I’ve also conducted interviews for The Horror Zine with my real name, Trish Wilson. I’ve loved horror since I was a child. I snuck my grandmothers Alfred Hitchcock books like “Stories That Scared Even Me” and I devoured all of them. I grew up on Creature Feature and Ghost Host on late night TV, which introduced me to Hammer Films which I love to this day. I also grew up in Baltimore, where Edgar Allan Poe lived for a few years and then mysteriously died. You can’t grow up in Baltimore and not get exposed to Poe. It’s practically a rite of passage, LOL.

I also worked as a gaffer (lighting), scenic artist, and makeup artist including FX for TV, movies, stage, and concerts. I did FX makeup for a forgettable indie horror film about a vampire. The movie was supposed to highlight local bands in Chapel Hill, NC, where it was filmed. The one band that made the big time was Squirrel Nut Zippers, which caught on during the swing craze of the 1990s. I did lighting for the movies “12 Monkeys” and “Die Hard With A Vengeance”. I was a makeup artist for the critically acclaimed TV series “Homicide: Life on the Street”. I had always wanted to work in the movies, and my degree in art gave me that opportunity.

 
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WiHM 12: Quick Six Questions With Catherine Lundoff

Welcome to The Horror Tree, and thank you for participating in Women In Horror Month. First, tell us a bit about yourself and your interest in horror.
Hi there! Thanks for including me! I write a fair amount of horror and horror-adjacent work, including a lot of ghost stories and classic tale retellings, often seen through a queer lens. You can find my collected horror and dark fantasy in a collection called Unfinished Business: Tales of the Dark Fantastic (Queen of Swords Press, 2019). You can also find my work in publications like American Monsters Part 2 and Fireside Magazine and in media tie-in anthologies for World of Darkness games such as Vampire the Masquerade and Wraith. In addition, I write “horror-adjacent” work such as my Wolves of Wolf’s Point menopausal werewolf books and vampire erotica as Emily L. Byrne.

Apart from that, I’ve always loved certain kinds of horror – ghost stories, the kind of monster stories that hum along just below the surface of fairy tales and thoughtful smart horror like Ginger Snaps and Shirley Jackson and Angela Carter. I like the snark and diverse representation of new shows like The Dead Lands (2020) as well as Victorian-style horror books and films like Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black and Del Toro’s Crimson Peak. I like a good scare, but am not big on gore.

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