Posts Tagged ‘women in horror’


This year, for the 7th annual Women In Horror Month,  I’ve committed too doing a bunch of interviews with cool ladies from the horror community who either write or edit horror fiction.   For more news, interviews, and WiHM related shenanigans, check out

First up is my long time friend, South African author and editor, Nerine Dorman. I highly encourage you to check out her work, both her writing and her edited works.


nerine dorman

Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
In short, I’m a South African creative who dabbles in writing, design, music and art. Somewhere along the line I happen to make money from all these skills and a combination thereof. Oh, and I edit too. Actually, that’s probably the mad skill I’m best known for. I live in the far south peninsula of the Western Cape, which means if you look at a map of Africa, it’s that little dangly bit at the bottom that looks like a little willy. I’m right there at the point. [laughs]
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!”?
Basically my writing just happens. I *am* influenced by horror (especially my short fiction), but tend to mix and match as I see fit. I could say I write fantasy with horror elements for some stories, but then might end up writing SF the next or straight-up horror the next. It really depends on what mood I’m in and whether I’m writing for a specific editor or publication in mind. To be honest, I find this need to pigeonhole authors to be limiting. So far as genres go, I love dark fiction, especially when dished up with some sly, snarky humour too.
Q.  What is your favourite horror story and what about it specifically rustled your jimmies?
I was about 12 when I didn’t finish Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. That story scared the living bejebus out of me – specifically the part where the protagonist wakes up in the middle of the night to see the recently deceased jogger standing by his bed. When he wakes properly the following morning, he thinks it’s all been a bad dream – until he sees that his feet are dirty – and that’s when he realises that his nocturnal wanderings were all too real. So, that time when dreams and reality blend, and you can’t tell what’s real, or when you know something bad is going to happen, and you’re yelling at the protagonist “No! Don’t you dare bury the child there! You know it’s not going to end well!” Yup, that story scared me plenty.
Q. What have you written? And what is your personal favourite of your own work?
I’ve written a bunch of stuff, but if I’m put on a spot I’ll tell folks to go pick up a copy of Dawn’s Bright Talons, which is a fantasy novel involving vampires in a kinda pseudo-Victorian setting in the same (ahem) vein as Anne Rice. Otherwise, if short fiction is more their thing, my anthology, Lost Children, might tickle them – there’s a nice little cross section of my work there. I’m also particularly proud of having sold stories into Storm Constantine’s Wraeththu Mythos anthologies. Para Kindred is available, but the Para Animalia collection is due out soon. Then, I was also honoured to be part of the ToC for Clive Barker’s Midian Unmade anthology brought out by Tor recently.
 Q. Do you have a favourite form or media for story telling?  E.g Short story, Novel, Audio drama or podcast, audiobook
I love writing serial fiction, and have two stories running over at Archive of Our Own and (writing as OnyxDrake9 and OnyxDrake respectively). Yes, I love fanfiction. It’s lots of fun and it’s a good way to flex creative muscles without the pressure to succeed (and I totally encourage folks to practice their mad writing skills there). Novels require a great investment, and I try to have at least one novel-length work on the boil, but it’s short fiction that I’m focusing on because there’s a faster turnaround. It’s a whole different beast where you have to focus on telling a story in a limited amount of words.
 Q. What are you working on at the minute?
Currently, I’ve got a Wraeththu Mythos novel in the pipeline for Storm Constantine. This has been a bucket list item for years, which I’m taking advantage of now that I’ve got a novel on sub. Then there’s always a short story on the boil. I take my time with these, and plan them quite thoroughly so I can make sure my layering is effective and I’ve threaded in all the subtexts I want.
 Q. You’re an editor as well as a writer. Do you have a preference?
If I’m approached by a client, I’ll edit whatever’s thrown at me, though I prefer fantasy. I do the nearly annual South African HorrorFest Bloody Parchment anthologies, which are turning into a bit of an institution. But my preferences are for stories that are textured, lush and detailed, filled with nuance. I’m kinda old school that way. And it doesn’t matter the genre, so long as the author has grabbed me with his or her prose.
 Q. What attracts you to editing the work of others? And is there any quality or skill etc that makes a good horror editor, specifically?
A good editor has an eye for story – and personal heroines for me include Jaym Gates, Ellen Datlow and Storm Constantine. You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, so a good editor will know *when* to pick up a decent story. Then of course comes the pruning and polishing. There are some basic gremlins that an editor should catch, without interfering with an author’s voice. It’s a delicate game, knowing when to insist and when to hold back.
 Q. Who is your favourite woman writer?
Storm Constantine. No contest.
 Q. Are there any projects involving other women that you’re looking forward to or would like to get on board with?
At some point I’d like to edit a themed collection of novellas or novelettes bundling my favourite authors. We’ve talked about this but until I finish with a few other projects, this is but a pipe dream.
 Q. What book/s are you reading at present and what is in your TBR pile?
Too many! I’ve a history book by Sampie Terreblanche that’s quite … hefty. But then I’m busy with my reread of Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy, which is making things all kinds of better. I’ve a pile of review books too… Which I’m horribly behind on.
 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?

I sometimes just get the feeling that women authors in genre fiction are often ignored by media. I’ll argue that there are as many women writing and getting published as men. So seeing equal attention paid to us along with the usual culprits would be nice.

Q. Why is Women in Horror month important/important to you?
We have a month (yay!) But seriously, exposure is good. Even if it means getting a special month set aside.
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write what you like. Read widely, and often outside of your genre. Critique other writers and have them offer critique to you. Never stop learning. Never stop revising. Submit often. Write every day if you can. Rinse and repeat. Oh, and grow rhino skin. Very, very thick rhino skin.
Amazon Author Page:




I haven’t posted for a while.I’m lazy, I’ve got kids, and I’ve been trying to get some stories out on submission and drum up another editing gig. These are all good reasons to not be blog posting. A good reason to be log posting is Women in Horror Month! WiHM is actually February, but the added benefit of me being lazy, is that March can now be WiHM too! YAY!

So many amazing women are doing cool things in horror. I like to think that they’re not overlooked or treated differently from male writers although I know this isn’t true. Aside from general issues relating to sexism that women face within the publishing industry (It exists, I’ve seen it first hand), they have to put up with a bizarre niche of misogynistic writers who feel that women can’t or shouldn’t write horror. I wasn’t really surprised when we had a number of idiots come out during WiHM and say bizarre and offensive things. Not only did we have an emerging author bullied and insulted, we had women in horror in general referred to as “hags” (amongst other offensive comments), and one well-known and respected author was derided as “over-rated”, “awful” and only successful because women like her and she has a large female readership (as though that is a bad thing).

These events were quite frustrating but I was heartened by the supportive response of the guys in the horror fiction community who spoke out against the few douchecanoes. I was also heartened by the response of many publishers who spoke out against this disgusting behaviour. Good on them.  This raised the issue of publisher and editor blacklists, whether they exist, and how professional they are.  Different people have different views on the matter but I think it is healthy that people are having a conversation about how to deal with issues of sexism, misogyny and general asshattery.

Many of the writers I know and respect most are female horror writers.  Whether it is established authors such as talented and lovely Kaaron Warren, the amazing Angela Slatter, or emerging writers friends of mine such as Sarah Read or Karen Runge, there are some fantastically talented women writing in the horror genre who deserve the recognition they’re attracting and the awards that they’re receiving. I’ve learned a lot from them, both in the professional aspects of writing and in the art of storytelling. I aspire to be as capable and as successful as these women. I look forward to learning more from the women in our fiction writing community and collaborating with them. I look forward to reading their fantastic stories… many of which I find more confronting or terrifying than the work written by a lot of men, perhaps because the ladies are writing from a different place.

Below are a list of 10 writers, including publications where there work may be fonud. Most of the listed publications are horror although some of the authors write in multiple genres. Among their ranks are British Fantasy Award winners, Aurealis Award winners, World Fantasy Award winners and nominees, Shirley Jackson Award winners,— and others who, I’m sure, will be receiving similar accolades in the near future! I know some of these ladies personally and have had the pleasure of working with some of them. (The list is slightly biased towards Australian writers because I’m Australian and have gone out of my way to read some fiction by Australian authors.)

Kaaron Warren – Slights, Mistification, Walking the Tree, The Gate Theory (Collection), Through Splintered Walls (collection), Nightmare Magazine.

Margo Lanagan – Tender Morsels, Sea Hearts, Blood and Other Cravings, Exotic Gothic 4, Black Juice (Collection) , Cracklescape (Collection).

Karen Runge – Shock Totem magazine, Pseudopod (podcast), Suspended in Dusk (anthology), Death’s Realm (anthology)

Sarah Read – Black Static Magazine, Suspended in Dusk (anthology), Pantheon Magazine (editor), Vine Leaves Literary Journal.

Angela Slatter – Sourdough and other stories (collection), The Bitterwood Bible and other recountings (collection), A Book of Horrors (anthology), Nightmare Magazine, The Spectral Book of Horror Stories (anthology), Weirder Shadows over Innsmouth (anthology).

Icy Sedgwick – The Guns of Retribution, The Necromancer’s Apprentice, Bloody Parchment (anthology), Suspended in Dusk (anthology).

Wendy Hammer – Pantheon Magazine, Suspended in Dusk (anthology), Cross Cutting novella trilogy (forthcoming 2015)

Nerine Dorman — Inkarna, Raven Kin [The BlackFeather Chronicles], Bloody Parchment (editor), Dark Harvest (editor), War Stories (anthology), Midian Unmade (anthology).

Felicity Dowker – Scary Kisses (anthology) Aurealis Magazine, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Bread and Circuses (collection), Midnight Echo Magazine.

S.G Larner – Equilibrium Overturned (anthology), Suspended in Dusk (anthology), SQ magazine, Phantazein (anthology), Bloody Parchment (anthology).