Tag Archives: Sandra Wickham

Women in Horror: Sandra Wickham

Women in Horror Month is over but I’m still featuring Canadian writers. Today’s author is Sandra Wickham whose short stories have appeared in Evolve: Vampires of the New Undead, Evolve: Vampires of the Future Undead, Chronicles of the OrderCrossed Genres magazine and in the upcoming Urban Green Man anthology.  She blogs about writing with the Inkpunks, is the Fitness Nerd columnist for the Functional Nerds and reads slush for Lightspeed Magazine. Her friends call her a needle crafting aficionado, health guru and ninja-in-training.

vampires, dark fiction, dark fantasy, horror, Canadian authors, female writers

Sandra Wickham likes her dark fiction with bite.

SANDRA WICKHAM

1.     Why do you write dark fiction/horror? Some people consider it only a sensationalistic tableau. Why this genre over others or do you span the literary landscape?

I didn’t set out to write horror but for some reason the best things I write come out as dark and often horrible. Even with all of our knowledge and technology there are still many things we fear, including the darkness that resides within all of us and I can’t help wanting to explore those shadowy places. I also write fantasy and often go to the other end of the spectrum with light, humourous stories.

2.     What dark themes do you explore?

Fear of the unknown, including things we can’t explain, as well as the loss of loved ones. I tend to write the underdog, perhaps stemming from being a petite woman in a world that still favors aggression and strength.

3.    Do you feel horror/dark fiction is an important genre and why; what does it bring to the table or allow you to explore? Who inspired you?

It is an important genre for us as writers and readers to deal with the things that frighten us. We know a lot about our world these days, but there are still things that are unknown or unexplainable that we are afraid of and they’re worth exploring. (not to mention loads of fun)

Early on I was heavily inspired by Ray Bradbury’s short stories and of course, Stephen King. More recently, I’m inspired by the darker urban fantasy writers who manage to combine frightening gore with humor. There’s nothing like being scared out of our wits while laughing hysterically.

4.  Do you feel women are under-represented in any way in the speculative arena or do you think there is more focus on them than on men? (or examples of how there is a balance)human rights, womens rights, writing, horror,

Women are underrepresented across the genres of fantasy, science fiction and horror. The old school boys club still rules the roost.  I have to believe that with so many talented female writers currently producing amazing work, this will begin to shift.

5.     Abuse against women is worldwide: the gang rape of the Indian woman, women assaulted in various terrorist attacks or protests against regimes (Egypt, Syria, etc. throughout time), domestic violence and murder at the hands of boyfriends, fathers, families and husbands, sexist representation, being treated as second class citizens or possessions and made to dress in a particular way, etc. With all that’s going on, what do you want to say about where women are or what we can do to stem the tide?

rape, womens rights, abuse, sexual abuse, horrorI think the internet has been a useful tool in bringing these issues to light, in bringing awareness to the plight of women all over the world. We’re no longer in an era of hiding these awful things in the dark or turning a blind eye to it. It’s going to take more women and men standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves to make a significant change.

6.     Lastly, this is your space to add anything else you would want to say.

Thank you for highlighting Women in Horror and giving us a chance to spread the fear, I mean, love.  🙂

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Vampires in the New Year

Well, I hope you didn’t expect some retrospective of last year or the hopes and fears for this year. Predictions about and it would be easiest to say some politician will be accused of a scandal, another politician will again say we need so investigation into gas prices and nothing will be done, Vancouver will bubble with the hype of the Olympics and its citizens’ taxes will/have already gone up to cover the deficits that they said wouldn’t happen, Harper and Campbell will ignore all protests and implement the HST, charging us more for what we should not have to pay for, a rock/movie star will suffer from drug overdose, more record-breaking climactic disasters will happen with a small camp of naysayers telling us that climate change isn’t happening, corporations will continue to use bailout money to give themselves exorbitant salaries while they lay off workers, a movie/sports star will leave/love/cheat on each other, etc. It might all sound like fiction but it’s so much of the same that happens every year that it’s not really worth speculating about.

However, in the world of possibilities, there is the genre of speculative fiction. Speculative fiction includes horror, fantasy, science fiction; basically anything that you might speculate about, which then means almost any fiction. Confusing? Yes, just another way that people try to parcel stories into little packages.

But in that vein is the anthology coming out through Edge Press. Edited by Nancy Kilpatrick Evolve contains 23 stories and one poem. This is dark fiction, stories about vampires but ones that have evolved. How each author handles that theme will be different but there are no vampires of the past, only a present or a future. For my own story, I dealt with an alternate history where vampires are the dominant mammal (homo vampirii) and homo sapiens is something…less.

Nancy Kilpatrick is a veteran author and editor. She delivers good dark fiction. The collection is of authors from across Canada with a presumably regional balance. There are four authors from BC, Rhea Rose, Mary Choo, Sandra Wickham (new author) and me. Every province is represented and it will be interesting to see if there is any regional flavor in the stories. Sometimes there is a “Canadian” flavor,whether in movies or stories. These influences often involves the environment/climate in some ways. Of course, once you have a vampire you will most certainly have some battle/avoidance of the environment in the way of sun, but it depends if all the stories involve vampires sensitive to sunlight.

There will probably be not sparkling vampires, or angels masquerading as vampires. They’ll probably all be a bit darker than this. The books are being released at the end of this month, with collector editions and signed trade paperback editions.  For a list of authors, their bios and more information, you can go to www.vampires-evolve.com/ to find something to sink your teeth into. I’m quite curious so see how other authors handled this theme.

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Writing: VCon and Reviews

My story “The Boy Who Bled Rubies” came out in Don Juan and Men: Tales of Lust and Seduction   about a month ago. This is an anthology of homoerotic or gay fiction. I haven’t had a chance to read all the stories but mine is one of the few that is true fantasy. Nancy Kilpatrick’s falls into that category, but judging from the reviews, most of the stories are modern Don Juan’s. Editor Caro Soles had said my story was quite different from the rest and though I write erotica, I am more a speculative (fantasy/SF) author, especially in this story.

It’s not the only story that I’ve written that blends the two realms of fantasy and erotica. It’s interesting that one reviewer presumed all the writers were lesbian or gay. Interestingly, that’s not true but maybe he thought only gay people can write gay erotica. Overall, change the sex of the characters and many of the acts remain the same, as well as the emotions that fuel the human soul. The reviews follow.

http://www.rainbow-reviews.com/?p=1840

http://www.stageandpage.com/don%20juan%20&%20men.htm#don%20juan

VCon, the Vancouver Science Fiction convention, was this last weekend. I haven’t attended for several years because the con organizers seem to be game and media (TV/movie) oriented, forgetting that any con needs panelists for the panels.  As an author and editor I can pass on my knowledge or opinions on panels, but autograph signings don’t serve much of a  purpose…yet. Most local cons also invite their local writers, be they great names or small. VCon has not bothered in several years to do this.

I also have found the disorganization never sat well with me. I’m not a big enough pea in the pod to really have fans clamoring for me.   So I really only dropped by to sign some sheets for the Evolve anthology, edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and being launched in Brighton next year at the World Horror Convention. Evolve is a vampire anthology through Hades Publications, featuring Canadian authors from various regions. I Usually spend my pennies sparingly and tend to go to the larger cons for networking, with editors, publishers and authors. There were a few publishers atVCon.

Hades Publications  will be doing a special edition (hence the signed sheets) as well as a regular

Rhea Rose, Colleen Anderson, Brian Hades, Sandra Wickham

Rhea Rose, Colleen Anderson, Brian Hades, Sandra Wickham

print run. So I dropped by to say hi to Brian Hades and sign sheets alongside Rhea Rose, and Sandra Wickham, whose first professional sale this is. (Mary Choo is also in the anthology but had signed earlier).http://www.edgewebsite.com/future.php

I stopped by the dance with a couple of people and there were about ten people (which had increased a bit later on) but VCon dances tend to always be quite small.  Because I was only dropping by I didn’t attend any or sit on any panels so I can’t say of what caliber they were. The dealers’ room was small but had a good variety from publishers, bookstores, jewellery, clothing and other items to attract fan and pro alike.

I stuck around for the party of SF Canada and friends. We are a smallish group at best and at a local con we pretty much know each other. There were a few authors from other regions and the party was pretty informal. Then, like Cinderella, it was time to leave before my coach turned into a pumpkin.

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