WiHM 12: Quick Six Questions With Loren Rhoads

Loren Rhoads is the author of a space opera trilogy, a duology about a succubus and her angel, and 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die, a cemetery travel guide. Her most recent book is a collection of short stories called Unsafe Words. Find out more at lorenrhoads.com. 

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 fell in love with Count Dracula as a kid, watching Sir Graves Ghastly on TV on Saturday afternoons. My mom, who was a librarian, pointed out that a lot of the movie monsters I liked had started out as characters in books. I started reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula and never looked 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’?”

I know that a woman started the horror genre in 1817, but representation continues to be crucial. When I started going to horror conventions in 2000, only a handful of women attended and we didn’t always feel welcome. Now there are so many more of us! I also remember when Women in Horror Month started 12 years ago. It felt huge to me to realize there were finally enough of us to celebrate for a whole month. I’ve just always wished that it wasn’t celebrated at the same time as Black History Month.

A number of years ago, I started mentoring women horror writers through the Horror Writers Association. I wanted to give new writers the support coming up that I didn’t have, because it feels like the same tired arguments keep returning. If it doesn’t matter if a story is by a man or woman, why, in 2021, we are still seeing anthologies that have only a token story by a woman in them?

Years ago, I took part in a reading hosted by the Persephone Writers Group. It was set up as a game show, where each member of Persephone read a bit of one of her favorite stories and the audience had to guess whether the author was male or female. In the end, unless the audience recognized the story, they absolutely could not guess the author’s gender. My point is: editors should work to include a variety of voices, because the quality is equal. Only the representation has fallen short.

 

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

I’ve been inspired by Angela Carter’s fairy tales, Gemma Files’s exquisite prose, and E. M. Markoff’s work decolonizing dark fantasy. One of the writers I think should be better known is Martha J. Allard, whose collection Psychic Surgery is full of heart-stabbing gems.

 

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 was inspired to pull together a collection of my short stories last year. I daydreamed about what I wanted the book to look like, then contacted Lynne Hansen to create a cover for it. She surpassed my imagination. I very hesitantly approached Lisa Morton for an introduction and she said yes! So then I was feeling cocky and asked Meg Elison to blurb it… Unsafe Words hasn’t gotten a ton of reviews yet, but those that it has gotten have been really great. Assembling the collection was definitely the highlight of 2020 for me.

 

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

I am trying to discover as many new women horror writers as I can. All the interviews and reviews this month is so helpful for that. My to-read just keeps growing.

In terms of my own work, I’m starting this year by putting together a collection of my morbid personal essays with another amazing Lynne Hansen cover. These are pieces that were written for Morbid Curiosity magazine about spending a couple of days in a cadaver lab, essays about coming to terms with my friends and family dying that I wrote for a number of zines, and even unpublished stories like hunting tarantulas with my daughter. The collection ought to be life-affirming and fun. I can’t decide if I should call it This Morbid Life or Morbid is as Morbid Does.

 

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

Thank you so much for interviewing me!

If anyone would like to learn more about my work, check out my monthly newsletter. It always includes one of my morbid adventures, along with free books and peeks behind the scenes of my new projects. Here’s the link: https://mailchi.mp/aa9545b2ccf4/lorenrhoads

 

My other social media:

Blog:  https://lorenrhoads.com/blog/

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/LorenRhoadsAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/morbidloren

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/morbidloren/

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Loren-Rhoads/e/B002P905PE/

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