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 Chris Chelser. Lets see what she said about being a “Woman in Horror”…
-PH: When did you first become a horror fan?
-Chris: At the tender age of 6. I already had a taste of the original (therefore rather gruesome) fairytales by Grimm and H.C. Andersen, when I stumbled on a graphic novel about a werewolf. After that, mainstream children’s tales seemed just too boring to hold any appeal.
-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?
-Chris: As naturally as breathing. Given I didn’t like the kind of books published for kids my age, I wrote my first crime ‘novel’ about a murdered dog when I was 9, and a story about a dragon on a killing spree when I was 10. That set a wheel in motion, and it’s still turning to this day.
-PH: What does having a “Women in Horror” month mean to you?
-Chris: A rallying cry. For the female storytellers to band together and see they aren’t alone. For female readers to find a treasure trove of stories to enjoy. For the genre’s audience in general to see there is so much more good horror to be found beyond the established names.
People see only what they are exposed to, so it’s wonderful when so many women working together to create more exposure for ourselves. I believe this is ultimately in everyone’s interest, creators and audience alike.
-PH: Is there a woman in horror who you consider a role model?
-Chris: There are several women in horror who I greatly admire, from Mary Shelley through Susan Hill to Laura Purcell, J.H. Moncrieff and R.H. Hale. Not role models in the classic sense of the word, maybe, but they inspire me each in their own way.
-PH: What do you think the future holds for women in horror?
-Chris: Much depends on ourselves, on our willingness to be vocal about our interpretation of the genre. We can lament how the public doesn’t see us or our work, but considering how many of us are out there – reading AND writing – we have the power to break through old stereotypes about what makes a good horror story, and the kind of people who create and enjoy such stories. I hope endeavors like WiHM help to gain traction and bring that change about.
-PH: Who is your favorite female villain?
-Chris: Tough choice! The selection is immense, but of all the deserving villainesses I can think of, the only one that truly got under my skin is the title character of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black.
-PH: Being that this is PromoteHorror.com, please feel free to plug your current/next horror project.
-Chris: With pleasure!
The Kalbrandt Institute Archives – Eva can see other people’s memories like they are her own. In the archives, Eva watches the Institute’s affairs through the eyes of her long-dead colleagues, and discovers the dark reality of what she believed to be her dream job: how long before she, too, becomes a memento in her boss’s collection?
The Devourer – Something is stalking the streets of 19th century Paris, and it has an appetite that scares even ghosts. When danger is closing in, how far will a childless mother go to protect her dead daughter?
I’m currently working on the next Kalbrandt book as well as a stand-alone novel, all paranormal horror of the insidious kind.
Getting to know my work is easy: all my titles are available for free download via www.chrischelser.com/books (files for Kindle and most e-readers).
We would like to thank Chris Chelser for taking the time to answer our questions, but more importantly for her contribution to horror!