WiHM 12: Quick Six Questions With Meihan Boey

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’m an author from Singapore! I have a science fiction novella out, The Messiah Virus, and an upcoming horror-comedy-romance, The Formidable Miss Cassidy, for which I was honoured to win the Singapore’s Epigram Books Fiction Prize.

Singapore, and Southeast Asia in general, has very strong traditions with regard to the supernatural. I grew up with tales of some horrific monsters – the Pontianak, a vampiric female monster who lives in banana groves; the Orang Minyak, and oily man who snatches up girls wandering at night; the toyol, the spirt of an aborted fetus; and so many more. As a child we had school trips literally to the depths of hell – Haw Par Villa, which boasts some briliantly-depicted dioramas of the traditional Chinese idea of hell, with lovingly-depicted images of sinners being eviscerated, minced up, eaten, dismembered,and many other wonderful sights children from other countries would never be allowed to look at.

I have been an avid Stephen King and Neil Gaiman fan since my teenage years, and a dedicated Brontemaniac from the day I first picked up Jane Eyre. My love of horror comes from these traditions – the idea of the ‘monster’ living right alongside you, hidden but waiting and watching.

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’?”

Horror is also a genre in which many publishers, to this day, still advise female authors to publish under a gender-neutral pen-name. It’s strange that there is some idea that women’s writing can’t be as terrifying as men’s. It’s also a genre in which, if the person on the street were asked to ‘name five female authors’, they probably couldn’t, notwithstanding the amazing work done by writers like Shirley Jackson and Joyce Carol Oates, not to mention Asian writers like Mariko Koike. We do absolutely need a Women in Horror month, to showcase these and other fantastic writers.

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

Charlotte Bronte is by far my biggest influence; while her novels are not strictly ‘horror’, they are certainly gothic in spirit, and always unsettling. Daphne du Maurier is another great favourite. I also loved the comic book Gloom Cookie by Serena Valentino, and I went through an intense Anne Rice obsession as a teenager!

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

Singapore was on a partial lockdown for about 3 months, and I was furloughed. That gave me a LOT of time to get back to writing; apart from having published a number of short stories, I had a chance to join, and eventually win, a local fiction prize!

Related to that, the lockdown also gave me time to reach out and connect (online) to multiple writer’s groups all over the world, and I am now part of some fabulous, supportive, wonderful communities – ironically, mostly in horror, but all upbeat and encouraging in a bleak world.

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

I am working on a game design for a horror-themed role-playing game! Look for us at Bruce’s Blacksmith on Instagram!

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

Thank you for your support and kindness, and let’s make 2021 the best year yet!

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