Continuing to highlight Canadian fiction writers for Women in Horror Month I have Canada’s grande dame of vampires and all things dark, Nancy Kilpatrick. Originally I was going to do two women a day but right now I have enough to spread the love. Women in Horror Month is sponsored by the Viscera organization. www.facebook.com/WomenInHorrorMonth
Without further ado, here is: NANCY KILPATRICK
Award-winning author with 18 novels, 1 non-fiction book, over 200 short stories and 6 collections of stories, and 13 edited anthologies to her credit. Currently working on short fiction, another anthology, and a 7-novel series. Updates at nancykilpatrick.com and on Facebook.
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’ve also written some fantasy, mystery and erotica and like to think I would write anything that appealed to me. I prefer horror and dark fantasy writing because it suits my nature. If there’s ever anything negative from anyone it’s this comment accompanied by a scowl: “Oh, like all those slasher movies.” I explain (briefly) what horror is about, from Stoker, Shelley, Stevenson and writers of other classic literature into the present. Education is everything.
2. 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?
This is THE most important genre because it’s the only one that looks at the dark side of life by confrontation: “We humans don’t know everything.” It’s rife with undercurrents and always controversial. The network of people who read and write in this realm are, like me, interested in the dark side, and that always flies in the face of the mainstream’s preference for happiness, as if happiness is a goal, rather than an occasional state of being. Reality is more than the sun. The moon is equally important and some of us prefer it.
Everything and everyone inspires me.
3. 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).
Women in this realm are both underrepresented and undervalued. I guess you could say that about a lot of areas. Women still have a difficult time getting into major anthologies and magazines in this field–check most of these types of publications in this genre and you’ll see few contributors are women. If a woman writes what’s deemed “women’s horror,” which is generally paranormal, supernatural and/or gothic romance, and/or YA, it’s much easier to get published.
4. 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 what we can do to stem the tide?
I have no answer for this.
5. Lastly, this is your space to add anything else you would want to say.
Most horror was, in the past, written by men, and that’s still the case today. Many women write with a unique voice; female concerns naturally filter into our work. We face more real-life horror–if we didn’t there wouldn’t be so many women’s shelters, or high statistics of rape and murder of women.
Horror is a difficult genre for women to move forward in (unlike, say, the mystery or romance genres, both of which feature large numbers of A-list women writers). In horror literature, women are not taken seriously because some of what we face is not faced by men, who do not menstruate, give birth, or go through menopause. Women have enough testosterone floating through their systems that it seems we can relate more to male situations than men can relate to female situations. I’d like to see that aspect of publishing change, but that involves readers changing and maybe society changing. In my years in this business, there have been several attempts at broadening the base of best-selling women writers in this genre and with each attempt women lurch forward a notch (mostly in paranormal and YA), but there’s still a very long way to go.
Tomorrow I bring you E.M. MacCallum.
Women in Horror Recognition Month (WiHM) assists underrepresented female genre artists in gaining opportunities, exposure, and education through altruistic events, printed material, articles, interviews, and online support. WiHM seeks to expose and break down social constructs and miscommunication between female professionals while simultaneously educating the public about discrimination and how they can assist the female gender in reaching equality.
A world wherein all individuals are equally given the opportunity to create, share, and exploit their concept of life, pain, and freedom of expression.