As you may know, February is “Women in Horror” month. To celebrate, PromoteHorror.com asked women from different professions if they would like to answer some questions about being a “Woman in Horror,” and more. One of those women, who was kind enough to answer our questions, was author, lyricist, and singer Donna Lynch. Lets see what she said about being a “Woman in Horror”…
-PH: When did you first become a horror fan?
-Donna: I didn’t become someone who could actually enjoy horror until my late teens, but my obsession with it started at a very young age. I was convinced that everything was haunted and a potential threat, so I was both fascinated and horrified to the point of anxiety attacks. It was always “Don’t look/ have to look/ don’t look”, at least with films.
With books, however, it was always “look”. Especially Poe, and the books about monsters and folklore with those old woodcut images of werewolves carrying babies out of the severed limb-strewn villages. Also, Dante’s Inferno with the Gustave Doré illustrations. I think the library put a cap on the number of times a year I could check out those books.
-PH: Was there a specific moment when you realized that you wanted to go from being a fan of horror to a woman who contributes to the genre, or did it just kind of happen naturally?
-Donna: When I started writing as a teen, I looked to women who created things that upset and affected me more than ghost stories or paranormal romances did. Those genres are fine and always thriving, but I wanted to feel something in the pit of my stomach and the women who did that to me were few and far between. I would’ve written horror and dark fiction/ poetry no matter the gender breakdown, but it wasn’t lost on me that the femme writer list wasn’t as long as I’d hoped, especially in the psychological horror and body horror sub-genres. Of course, this was before the internet, so I can’t even imagine how many women I was unaware of at the time.
-PH: What does having a “Women in Horror” month mean to you?
-Donna: It means we still have a ways to go in the genre. Spotlights for femme writers and *especially* WOC are an absolute necessity right now. I’m hopeful for a level playing field someday, so let’s do whatever we have to do to be in and stay in the game.
-PH: Is there a woman in horror who you consider a role model?
-Donna: Currently, I’m completely in love with Kate Siegel’s work as a screenwriter and an actor. Going back 20 years, Nicole Blackman was the first poet and spoken word artist who really affected and influenced me. And I’m forever kidding myself that I can keep up with Stephanie Wytovich, haha!
-PH: How do you think the role of women in horror has changed over the years?
-Donna: I think the industry is finally understanding that women aren’t going to naturally be more restrained, delicate, or less brutal. And the mainstream success of femme directors and screenwriters is encouraging.
-PH: What do you think the future holds for women in horror?
-Donna: Hopefully that we won’t need that spotlight I mentioned above one day. There will just be horror writers, directors, actors, etc, without the qualifier. That isn’t to erase the kinds of stories we have to tell, because those differences are important, vital to keep the genre alive, but we won’t need to listen to unfortunate statements like, “What an intense book, I’d never know a woman wrote it” or “This is really good…for a woman.”
-PH: If you could serve a role in horror that you’ve never done, what would it be?
-PH: Who is your favorite final girl, and favorite female villain?
-Donna: “Favorite” questions are always so hard for me. Kirsty from Hellraiser.
And May is one of my favorite awkward villains.
I also love characters who are both: Helen from Candyman, Eli (if we count “her”) from Let the Right One In. Justine from Raw.
I really have to include “The Woman”, though I’m hesitant to say she’s one or the other, and also not exactly both. She’s a complicated one. I like complicated.
-PH: Being that this is PromoteHorror.com, please feel free to plug your current/next horror project.
-Donna: My partner Steven Archer and I have a collaborative book called Witches (Raw Dog Screaming Press) that has made it onto the Bram Stoker Award preliminary ballot for poetry. Hopefully we’ll make it onto the final ballot.
And I have a poetry collection for 2019 almost completed. I’ll wait on announcing the title until RDSP is ready.
I’m also the co-founder, lyricist, and singer for the dark electronic-rock band Ego Likeness.
We would like to thank Donna Lynch for taking the time to answer our questions, but more importantly for her contribution to horror!