WiHM 12: Quick Six Questions With Erin Shaw

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 came to horror early and late lol – I was 18 before my interest really cemented. I was into the romantic Anne Rice type vampire when I was a child but that was to escape from bullying into a place where I couldn’t be hurt. Though Rice is a type of horror, the first book to make me want to explore the genre was Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite. I followed up with their Exquisite Corpse and there was no going back. I felt alone in the world- I was female, bisexual, and very mentally ill. The world felt not built for me. Lost Souls gave me the character of Ghost – someone who is different in every tiny way possible but who has a special way about him that made him completely at ease with himself but also deeply compassionate and loving. I could work with that.

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’?”

I’d say that if their first priority is to read good stories then they will only achieve that goal by ensuring diversity in their reading habits. Every good writer has good stories but the richness of any particular author’s life experiences can never be replicated. If you don’t read books by women, POC, or LGBTQIA+ folks you will only hear the language of the straight white male. No matter how wonderful their stories are – and they are – you will never know the good stories that come out of women and minorities. So if you care about a good story, care about the stories of all people. And the fact that people make statements such as those are exactly why women in horror month is important.

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

First and foremost, Poppy Z. Brite (AKA Billy Martin) because their books opened the door for me. Sara Gran’s ‘Come Closer’ is arguably the most terrifying book I’ve ever read so that gave me a new standard. Christine Morgan is also one of the most fab and extreme authors I know and what I love about her is how sweet and low-key she is; modest even I daresay, so it’s all the more delightful to read her work and have your hair turn white. And a mention to Sherri Moon Zombie- I love her work with her husband. She is my personal scream queen.

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

Well, Joe Biden became President Elect with Kamala Harris as the first woman POC Vice President. I can’t hold onto much but I’ll gladly hold on to that.

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

I always forget that I’m a woman in horror too so I usually make a vague remark that somebody should buy a book that I have a story in and then move on. Sometimes I’ll tell people they should subscribe to Crimewatch Canada magazine where I am the feature writer – lots of great true crime stuff in there.

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

When I was nineteen, my then father-in-law asked me “What on earth does a nineteen year old have to write about?” When I told him what my life’s work would be. I was hurt for quite a long time. Don’t be me – if someone tells you something like that, the only appropriate response is to laugh heartily in their face.

BIO: Erin Shaw is a 39 year old Crime Journalist and horror fiction writer from Edmonton, Alberta Canada. She lives with her polyamorous family consisting of her three partners and their four cats who graciously allow humans to occupy their house. Her last fiction publication was in “Not Just a Pretty Face” from DeadLight Press and her non fiction appears every other month in Crimewatch Canada magazine (find us on Facebook!)

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