WiHM 12: Quick Six Questions With Caitlin Marceau
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.
I’ve loved horror for a while now, but it wasn’t always my favourite genre. As a kid, I used to get these horrible nightmares, so I’d avoid anything that might scare me. But as I got older, I was tired of feeling helpless and decided that the best way to reclaim my agency was to immerse myself in genre. So I started writing it, then I started reading it, and eventually I fell in love with it. It’s been over ten years since I made my first foray into horror and I can’t imagine ever going back.
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’?”
When someone tells me that they don’t care who a story was written by, so long as it’s good, I normally say, “Great!” I also don’t think the author’s gender should matter when it comes to good horror. But the problem I have, and the issue that Women in Horror Month helps highlight, is the disparity between which voices are being heard and showcased in mainstream horror. So, sure, the author’s gender shouldn’t matter, but it often does. And that’s something I think we need to address at a systemic level.
When you go to a bookstore and look at the titles on the shelf, cisgendered heterosexual white men generally dominate the genre. And while there are popular women in horror, the diversity is also lacking. The genre needs more BIPOC authors, more nonbinary and gender-fluid authors, and more LGBTQ+ authors. Otherwise, we end up with the same stories over and over again. And I think this diversity needs to be reflected not just in horror authors, but the editors and publishers. When we have publishing houses and agencies that lack diversity, there’s a pretty serious risk that the voices they choose to promote and publish will be the same as their own.
Women in Horror Month is also a really great tool we have at our disposal to help highlight some of the challenges we face in the genre. It gives us a chance to talk about the ways in which we can make publishing, and the horror community, a safer and more inclusive space. And while we need to be having the conversations regularly, having a this dedicated month to women in the genre can help shine more light on problems that need addressing.
Who are some Women In Horror (or other women) who have influenced your work, and why?
Tamora Pierce (a YA fantasy writer) has been hugely influential in my life. I used to read her books as a teenager, and it was a revelatory experience getting to read about female protagonists in stories that normally featured men. I had the immense pleasure of meeting her twice in my youth; first at a book signing, and then again at a joint book reading and Q&A session. I don’t think I’d be writing if it wasn’t for her.
2020 will probably be remembered as a TERRIBLE year for many of us; tell me something GOOD that happened in the past 12 months.
I fell in love with writing again. I’d taken a two and a half year break from creating new pieces. I’d been dealing with depression and anxiety, and I found myself dreading the idea of sitting down and writing something new. So I decided I wasn’t going to write anymore and immersed myself in other projects. Unfortunately, but also fortunately, the pandemic put a halt to all my other plans and forced me to sit with my feelings and myself. It gave me the time to focus on my emotions, to work through the problems I was having, and it also gave me the chance to rediscover why I loved writing in the first place.
What have you got planned for Women in Horror Month, and the coming months of 2021?
Writing! I’m basically going to be using the next month to work on a collection of short fiction, to finish some projects I’d started earlier this year, and to experiment with the genre.(Mixed-media, horror-comedy chapbook, anyone?) I have some really exciting projects coming out in the next few months, which I sadly can’t share the details about! But just know you’ll be seeing (and hearing!) some new pieces from me in 2021!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers? Thanks for participating in Women in Horror Month!
Thanks so much for having me! I guess the only advice I’d say is to keep writing, keep reaching out to other women in the community, and keep doing what makes you happy. And don’t be afraid to try new things!
“Lazy Sundays,” Home, published by Ghost Orchid Press
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