Welcome back folks. Today we have an interview with Rena Mason. Rena has been selling stories all around the place recently, including to cool anthologies like Blurring the Lines from Cohesion Press and the forth coming anthology from Independent Legions Publishing, The Beauty of Death. She is an active member of the HWA is one of the folks tha make sure things like the Bram Stoker Awards go ahead. I’m pleased to have Rena stop by and answer a few quick questions. Thanks Rena!
Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
RM: My ancestry is a mix of Thai, Chinese, and English. I was born in Thailand and lived there for two years before moving to Oahu. I’ve also lived in Homestead, Florida, Rancho Cordova, California, Plattsburgh, New York, Denver Colorado, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Olympia, Washington. Reno, Nevada is where I currently reside with my family. Even though my father is retired military, only one of the moves was a direct result of that. I’m a registered nurse, and have worked in oncology, home health care, and the operating room. I enjoy traveling, scuba diving, interior design, and cooking.
Q. What draws you to horror generally, and was there a defining moment where something made you think “Fuck it, I’m writing a horror story!”?
RM: I’ve always preferred reading stories with a dark edge/horror bent. In part, I think it’s because they reminded me that Hey, my life isn’t so bad, look at the hell these characters are going through. There was no defining moment for me wanting to write a horror story, but when I made the decision to write, I knew my favorite elements would come through in my work.
Q. What is your favourite horror story and what about it specifically rustled your jimmies?
RM: One of the first stories I remember reading was “The Old Nurse’s Story” by Elizabeth Gaskell. I was very young when I read it, and there were children in the story, one of them a ghost, so it really scared me and made a strong impression.
Q. What have you written? And what is your personal favourite of your own work?
RM: I’ve written a handful of short stories, a novella, East End Girls, and a novel The Evolutionist. My personal favorite is probably East End Girls. It was the most fun researching and writing.
Q. Do you have a favourite form or media for story telling? E.g Short story, Novel, Audio drama or podcast, audiobook.
RM: I prefer writing novels. There’s a lot more room for expression.
Q. What are you working on at the minute?
RM: I’m currently working on editing a novel, rewriting a novel, and writing three short stories. There’s also a screenplay on the backburner.
Q. Who is your favourite woman writer?
Shirley Jackson. We Have Always Lived in the Castle is another one of my favorite stories.
Q.Are there any projects involving other women that you’re looking forward to or would like to get on board with?
RM: Projects specific to women, no. But there are a couple of anthologies I’m writing short stories for that will have female authors in them whose work I admire.
Q.What book/s are you reading at present and what is in your TBR pile?
RM: I’m a very slow reader and am currently reading Alan M. Clark’s The Surgeon’s Mate: A Dismemoir, Shutter by Courtney Alameda, and nEvermore! Edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles. My crazy TBR pile is at least a 7’ x 4’ bookcase full of works that range from Nonfiction to Mysteries, Thrillers, and of course, Horror.
Q. What challenges have you encountered that are unique to being a woman in the horror genre, or can you describe some of the challenges have you faced that are complicated by your gender?
RM: I honestly can’t think of any specific challenges that I’ve encountered being a woman in the horror genre when it comes to publishing. I get asked to write about being a female author, and to do interviews for Women in Horror Month, which is great, but I can never think of any publishing occurrences that screamed bias against women. When submitting works that get rejected, I tend to think it was because the story just didn’t work for the editor and not because I’m a female author. However, I will say that when I first started attending conventions, I didn’t know many people in the industry and it was intimidating. In a couple instances my friendliness was mistaken for something else, but they weren’t situations I felt I couldn’t handle as a responsible adult.
Q. Why is Women in Horror month important to you?
RM: I think it showcases a lot of women in horror that many people don’t often hear about, and this includes women screenwriters, directors, poets, nonfiction authors, and artists.
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
RM: Focus on writing and improving your writing. Submit your work and keep submitting it. Try not to think about any stigmas you’ve heard or even experienced in the genre. They’ll only hold you back.
Rena Mason Links
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rena-Mason/e/B00C7YOVDY/