Posts Tagged ‘The Lottery’

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The second Woman in Horror that will grace(storm?) my blog today is Lisa L. Hannett.  Lisa is a Dr. of Old Norse Literature—that’s right, another ma’fkn Dr up in my blog—and a super talented and highly awarded author. I’m delighted to have her stop by and answer a few questions. Thanks Lisa.

Ladies and germs, meet Lisa L. Hannett.

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Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your background

LH: Born and raised in Canada, I now live in Adelaide, South Australia — city of churches, bizarre murders and pie floaters. I’ve got a PhD in Old Norse literature, an Honours degree in medieval lit and fantasy fiction, and a Fine Arts degree in painting and photography — all of which mashes together in my mind and spills out into some pretty weird stories. I spend half my time lecturing in English and Creative Writing, the other half writing strange (and often dark) tales, another half researching and writing about Viking Age Iceland and Norway, and another half indulging my addiction to the gym. The rest of the time, I’m thinking about or taking pictures of food. And when it comes to calculating time I am clearly a word person, not a mathematician.

Q. What draws you to horror generally, and was there a defining moment where you something made you think “Fuck it, I’m writing a horror story!”?

LH: I stumbled into writing horror, not really knowing that’s what I was doing until it was done — mostly because I initially had a pretty narrow concept of what “horror” was or could be. So if the definition of horror includes direct references to Stephen King or Clive Barker, for instance, then I suppose I’m not much of a horror writer. But if it is broad enough to encompass weird, unsettling, uncomfortable stories that put characters into bleak or horrific situations without promising to get them back out again (which, of course, it does) then I’m your gal. I have always appreciated stories that swerve away from what’s expected, that explore the hideous side of humanity, that don’t promise to leave readers feeling happy or hopeful at the end — so I keep coming back to this genre. More than scary or gory horror, though, I love reading and writing stories that punch you right in the gut.

Q. What is your favourite horror story and what about it specifically rustled your jimmies?

LH: In terms of classics, I can’t go past ‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson because I read it when I was about twelve, and it completely rewired my brain. (That is if we’re talking short fiction — if we’re talking longer works, I’ll still stick with Jackson: both We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House are incredible). In terms of newer short stories, ‘Ponies’ by Kij Johnson and ‘Apotropaics’ by Norman Partridge are two I return to repeatedly because they are just so brilliant and chilling.

Q. What have you written? And what is your personal favourite of your own work?

 

LH: I’ve had over 60 short stories published, and one novel. My first book, Bluegrass Symphony, won the 2011 Aurealis Award for ‘Best Collection’ and it was also nominated for a World Fantasy Award, so it continues to hold a pretty special place in my heart. Angela Slatter and I collaborated on two collections together: Midnight and Moonshine (2012) and The Female Factory (2014), the second of which also got a gong for ‘Best Collection’ at last year’s Aurealis Awards. Lament for the Afterlife is my first novel, which CZP published toward the end of 2015. Lament is a dark fantasy / horror / lit war story that follows the life and decline of one battle-scarred soldier as he tries to escape his past — while avoiding the omnipresent and unbeatable enemy. Think Pan’s Labyrinth meets Platoon, make those films even darker, and that’s where Lament is situated.

Q. Do you have a favourite form or media for story telling?  E.g Short story, Novel, Audio drama or podcast, audiobook

LH: As a writer, I prefer short stories to other forms because they are beautiful, concise, sharp little gems of fiction that don’t waste words. I get a buzz out of writing novel-length works for different reasons (having the space to expand on world-building, for example, and for including more elaborate details, more complicated plots, more characters, etc) but the precision of short fiction is something I’ll always favour. As a reader, I am a glutton for everything: sweeping multi-volume sagas, mosaic novels, long or tiny novels, short stories, poems, plays. Every genre, every style — I’ll gobble it all.

Q. What are you working on at the minute?

LH: I’ve got two big projects on the go at the moment. I’m about halfway into my next collection of weird short stories, The Homesteaders, and aim to have that finished soon. I’m also revising my next novel — it’s the first in a two book series, called The Invisible Woman. Set in Viking Age Norway, this book tells the early story of Unn the Deep-Minded — wife of one king, mother to a second, and in time a famous Viking herself — as she struggles to find her own fame and fate in this warrior world, all while her shape-shifting time-travelling fylgja (a kind of spirit guide) keeps butting in to mess things up for her… The second book in the series will follow Unn out of Norway into medieval Ireland, Scotland, and finally Iceland. She was quite the world-traveller! But before I can get to that book, I’ve got a couple of short story commissions to finish up.

Q. Who is your favourite woman writer?

LH: If I have to narrow it down to only one (so mean!) then it’s Margaret Atwood. Her novels, her short stories, her poems, her essays and reviews — I won’t say I love them all equally or blindly, but the ones I love (most of them, really) I LOVE.

Q. Are there any projects involving other women that you’re looking forward to or would like to get on board with? 

LH: I loved the ‘Women Destroy’ series of anthologies / special issues and if there were reprises of any of them (SF, Fantasy, Horror) I’d be keen to get on board. I was delighted to have a piece in FableCroft’s Cranky Ladies of History anthology — helping to write books about women are as interesting to me as being on ToCs with other women, so it would be great to be involved in more of those, too.

Q. What book/s are you reading at present and what is in your TBR pile?

LH: I’m a polygamist when it comes to reading: I can never commit to just one. So I’ve got several on the go at the moment: I’m about a third of the way through Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick DeWitt; halfway through One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey; I’ve just started The Last English King by Julian Rathbone; just finished A Daughter of No Nation by A.M. Dellamonica; dipping in and out of Helen Marshall’s Gifts for the One Who Comes After; and I’m re-reading Sabriel by Garth Nix for the first time in years.

Next up on the TBR list: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders; Three Moments of an Explosion by China Miéville; The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood; H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald.

Q. What challenges have you encountered that are unique to being a woman in the horror genre, or why is Women in Horror month important/important to you? 

LH: Visibilty — or lack thereof — is a persistent problem. It’s so disappointing seeing list after list of “best” or “notable” or “up and coming” horror writers being published with so few women included on them. I realise this complaint is like pointing to a tall flower and saying the petals are wilting; the problem isn’t in the lists themselves — which are the ends of long-stemmed productions — but instead the issue originates down at ground level. If fewer women’s stories are being published, fewer are being reviewed, then of course fewer will appear on lists like these. But my gut feeling is that, in recent years, more and more women are having stories published in horror anthologies and magazines — and yet the go-to names when referring to or thinking of ‘horror writer’ lists are predominantly men. (Hell, I’ve even demonstrated this here, by rattling off Stephen King and Clive Barker’s names as examples of “H”orror.) So in terms of shining light on accomplished and emerging female writers, Women in Horror month is one great step in the right direction.

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

LH: Read. A lot. Read for fun and read critically. Then read more.

Lisa L  Hannett Links: 

Website: lisahannett.com

Facebook: Lisa L. Hannett

Twitter: @lisalhannett

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/lisalhannett

Goodreads: Lisa L. Hannett

 

 

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Hi everyone! One of today’s WiHM interviews will be with the super talented and super nice editor, Sharon Lawson.  Sharon is one half of the powerhouse Bram Stoker-Award-Nominated editing duo at Grey Matter Press, alongside Anthony Rivera. Grey Matter Press are quickly impressing writers and readers alike with their fantastic horror anthologies and fine quality books.

Everyone, meet Sharon Lawson!

Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

SL: Before I became an acquisitions editor for Grey Matter Press, I was first an accountant and then a stay-at-home mom. I have lived in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois most of my life, and I recently had to deal with the terrors of my only child going off to college.

Q. What draws you to horror generally, and was there a defining moment where you something mad you think “Fuck it, I’m writing a horror story!”?

SL: I have been drawn to dark literature from a very young age. Maybe it’s that I have always been a glass-half-empty kind of person. I will always be grateful to my friend Anthony Rivera, who asked me to join him in starting a publishing company. After having a career in accounting, I jumped at the chance to be able to express my creative side. It has been a fantastic experience.

Q. What is your favourite horror story and what about it specifically rustled your jimmies?

SL: My favorite story is “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. Aside from the superb prose, the reader is pulled into this seemingly innocuous plot and then the true nature of the story hits you like a smack to the forehead. It is completely shocking.

Q. What is your personal favourite of your own work? Answering as an editor.

SL: As an editor for Grey Matter Press, I have co-edited seven anthologies with Anthony Rivera. It is hard to pick just one book, but I think our first, Dark Visions: A Collection of Modern Horror – Volume 1, will always be a sentimental favorite, and it received a Bram Stoker Award nomination for Superior Achievement in an Anthology.

Q. Would you ever write something? You’ve obviously got editing chops. You look at great fiction everyday and get to read fiction by the very best of the best. Ever wonder whether you’ve got a story of your own in there? 

I would love to have some writing talent, and I have had friends and family tell me I should write, but I honestly don’t think I have it in me. I can’t conceive of being able to fill pages and pages with something entertaining. I am much more comfortable with helping authors polish their work, although I do battle an affection for the comma. I hope to end that co-dependent relationship very soon.

Q. Do you have a favourite form or media for story telling?  E.g Short story, Novel, Audio drama or podcast, audiobook

SL: I like novels and short stories a lot, but I have become a big fan of the novella. It often feels like the ideal length for horror.

Q. What are you working on at the minute?

SL: This will be a rather busy year for Grey Matter Press. We are excited to be releasing our first full-length novel this spring, Mister White by John C. Foster, and an all-new anthology coming out this summer. We have a lot more in store for later this year.

Q. Who is your favourite woman writer?

SL: Shirley Jackson, of course, has been a favorite forever. Of more current female authors, I really like the work of Sarah Pinborough. I have enjoyed quite a few of her novels.

Q. Are there any projects involving other women that you’re looking forward to or would like to get on board with? 

SL: In our upcoming anthology, Peel Back the Skin, we are thrilled to be featuring stories by esteemed authors Nancy A. Collins, Yvonne Navarro and Lucy Taylor. And we will soon be making an announcement of a solo project with an up-and-coming female author.

Q. What book/s are you reading at present and what is in your TBR pile?

SL: My TBR pile is way too big to detail for you, but I am most looking forward to Stephen King’s short-fiction collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant.

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?

SL:I haven’t faced any challenges as a woman in this industry. I had a lot more problems back when I was an accountant. I don’t feel that anyone, least of all anyone I work with, has treated me differently because I am a woman. And I can honestly say that we at Grey Matter Press are blind to gender. We want stories that entertain, and we don’t care if the author is a man or a woman, young or old, American or from a foreign land. We are in the business of selling books, and I don’t understand why any publisher would turn down a great story based on any sort of physical criteria.

Q. Why is Women in Horror month important/important to you? 

SL: I think it works best if it inspires female authors to write the kind of horror they want to write, whether it be gothic horror or splatterpunk.

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

SL: To all authors, I would say be bold. Don’t hold back. Make sure your manuscripts are edited and/or proofread by someone other than yourself before submitting to an agent or publisher. But most of all, do a lot more showing and a lot less telling.

Sharon Lawson Links:

Website:  www.GreyMatterPress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sharon.lawson.9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lawsonsk

 

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She writes awesome short stories. She writes badass novels. She kills giant scorpions without even blinking. She basically just kicks ass. Everybody – meet Miss Murder herself: Mercedes Murdock Yardley.

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Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

MMY: I grew up in a small town out in the middle of the desert. I write whimsical horror, nonfiction, novels, short stories, and poetry. I always wrote as a child, and knew I wanted to be an author by the time I was in third grade. It only took me about 20 more years to finally do that.

What draws you to horror generally, and was there a defining moment where you something made you think “Fuck it, I’m writing a horror story!”?

MMY: I’ve always written scary stories. The first story I remember reading to my classroom was one about a sea serpent attacking a submarine, with an ear-piercing shriek at the end. Horror has always made my blood run. It’s exciting! I love that feeling of being scared. It’s the feeling of being alive.

Q. What is your favourite horror story and what about it specifically rustled your jimmies?

MMY: There are several that come to mind. Of course I’m a big Poe fan. I was probably the only kid in elementary school who had the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe. Loved Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” That horrified me to the core. But I think my favorites were the ones we’d tell each other at sleepovers and we’re out camping. Like, this one. There was a girl home alone while her parents were out of town. She heard on the news that a murderer had escaped from an asylum. She was afraid all night, but was comforted by reaching down from her bed and feeling her dog lick her hand. In the morning she walked into the bathroom to find her dog dead and words scrawled on the mirror. “People can lick hands, too.”  That story gave me fits as a child!

What have you written? And what is your personal favourite of your own work?

MMY: My first book was a short story collection called Beautiful Sorrows. I wrote an urban fantasy novel called Nameless: The Darkness Comes. It’s the first book in THE BONE ANGEL trilogy. I also wrote a novella titled Little Dead Red that I’m proud of. This month is the re-release of my two favorite books, Pretty Little Dead Girls and Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love. I can’t wait for them to come back out! They’re my babies.

Q. Do you have a favourite form or media for story telling?  E.g Short story, Novel, Audio drama or podcast, audiobook.

MMY: I love all of the forms. I love novels, I love short stories. I love nonfiction articles and I love hearing them read by the author or acted out by a narrator. But I think my favorite form is flash fiction, which are stories under a thousand words. It’s such a disciplined and, at the same time, ethereal form.

Q. What are you working on at the minute?

MMY: I’m working on a few different things! One is a short story for a very cool anthology. I’m also hard at work writing the sequels to Nameless. It’s a busy year.

Q. Who is your favourite woman writer?

MMY: I’d have to say Aimee Bender. She writes creative, surreal stories with gorgeous prose. I had the chance to meet he in person and she’s everything I hoped she would be. It was such a pleasure!

Q. Are there any projects involving other women that you’re looking forward to or would like to get on board with? 

MMY: Joe Pulver just put out a women’s only anthology titled Cassilda’s Song that I’m involved in, and it’s really something special. It’s a pleasure to be part of it. I’ve heard rumblings of a tribute to Joyce Carol Oates perhaps being put together. If that was the case, I’d be all over that.

Q. What book/s are you reading at present and what is in your TBR pile?

MMY: Right now I’m catching up on reading so I can vote for the Bram Stoker Awards. I’m pretty much reading everything of the ballot. There’s some great stuff on there, I can tell you.

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?

MMY: There are a few challenges. Some people truly do believe that women aren’t capable of writing horror, or that it’s somehow unseemly. I find that I have difficulty networking because I’m home taking care of the kiddos and can’t attend as many conferences. I also feel women are looked at differently than men. If a man takes charge of his career, he’s a leader. If a woman does the same thing, she’s difficult to work with.

Why is Women in Horror month important/important to you? 

MMY: It’s important that women be recognized for our contributions. By shining a spotlight on female creatives, we’re making it easier for us to be more fully accepted. That’s the ultimate goal.

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

MMY: Don’t waste your time talking about your story. Write it. Finish it up, get it done. The best way to become a great writer is by writing.  It’s worth the effort.

Mercedes Murdock Yardley Links

Website: www.abrokenlaptop.com  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mercedes.murdockyardley

Twitter:@mercedesmy

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mercedesmy/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Mercedes-M.-Yardley/e/B006B9MFA2/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1454825104&sr=8-1

Book Links:  http://www.amazon.com/Nameless-Darkness-Comes-Angel-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B01920V548/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1454825104&sr=8-1&keywords=mercedes+yardley

http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Sorrows-Mercedes-M-Yardley-ebook/dp/B009S9VQKM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1454825104&sr=8-2&keywords=mercedes+yardley

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Dead-Red-Mercedes-Yardley-ebook/dp/B019PE2UAO/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1454825104&sr=8-4&keywords=mercedes+yardley

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3084816.Mercedes_M_Yardley