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 Tracey Fahey. Lets see what she said about being a “Woman in Horror”…
-PH: When did you first become a horror fan?
-Tracy: I was raised on folklore, tales of banshees, fetches, ghosts and dark magic, themes I returned to in my novel The Girl in the Fort and my collection New Music For Old Rituals. As a child I started to read classic horror – Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination inflamed my desire for the Gothic. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and The October Country by Ray Bradbury were also very influential.
-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?
-Tracy: My academic field of study is the Gothic – I was working on a PhD on the uncanny, spending all my time thinking about the return of the repressed in visual culture when I realised I wanted to articulate my ideas in the form of fiction. And so my first collection, The Unheimlich Manoeuvre was born.
-PH: What does having a “Women in Horror” month mean to you?
-Tracy: I have mixed feelings about Women In Horror Month. It’s a shame we still need to have it in order to shine a spotlight on female creatives in the horror industry, but restorative measures and positive action are sometimes needed to redress a situation. It’s also a month of solidarity and sharing opportunities, of shining on the achievements of others and showcasing their work.
-PH: Is there a woman in horror who you consider a role model?
-Tracy: I have so many heroes in horror writing: Priya Sharma, Georgina Bruce, Laura Mauro. Lynda Rucker, Cate Gardner, Maura McHugh, Penny Jones, VH Leslie, Gemma Files, Lauren Beukes, Alma Katsu, Livia Llewellyn…Then there’s also editors like K.A. Laity and Hannah Kate (also great writers) and women who run small presses like Adele Wearing of Fox Spirit Press. So many role models.
I’m lucky enough to know some of these marvellous women, and they’re endlessly inspiring.
-PH: How do you think the role of women in horror has changed over the years?
-Tracy: Women in Horror – we’re definitely more visible, achieving more, and being recognised more. And we’re changing the forms of horror. In the last few years, there’s been a marked turn in horror writing towards a uniquely female type of body horror – the dystopian horror that comes from malign forces at work in the politics of power and gender. The adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale really caught this zeitgeist that’s also been explored by Aliya Whiteley (The Beauty) and Christina Dalcher (Vox). These are all raw texts that speak of a new kind of horror, saying something urgent and fresh about the relationship between the female body, autonomy, subjugation and resistance.
-PH: What do you think the future holds for women in horror?
-Tracy: The future is full of possibilities. As a writer, I’m very excited by projects like Ladies of Horror Fiction where the women who run it are creating an online directory of female writers, running a podcast and highlighting opportunities for female writers. That kind of support is so encouraging.
-PH: If you could serve a role in horror that you’ve never done, what would it be?
-Tracy: Although I’m a writer, one of my first loves is illustration. I’m playing around at the moment with inks, pencils, photography and prints to try and create images that will harmonise in some way with the stories I’m writing for my third collection.
-PH: Who is your favorite final girl, and favorite female villain?
-Tracy: Barbara Creed singled out Ripley in Alien as the canonical Final Girl, and who can argue with that? In terms of a female movie villain, it’s probably Baby Jane Hudson from Whatever Happened To Baby Jane. Or Annie Wilkes from Misery, every writer’s nightmare.
-PH: Being that this is PromoteHorror.com, please feel free to plug your current/next horror project.
-Tracy: My last publication was New Music For Old Rituals, released by Black Shuck Books in November 2018. It’s a collection of dark tales, inspired by Irish legends, but uniquely, they’re all set in contemporary Ireland. For me folklore is a living entity, it runs like a seam through the landscape, it shapes our customs, it informs our lived practice. So this collection of nineteen tales all explore the pervasive influence of the past on the present, and how warnings and rituals continue to be relevant.
My next project, which I’ve been slowly thinking through and working on, is my third collection, I Spit Myself Out. It’ll be an assemblage of stories and short pieces on terrors that come from within. I’m very fixated on mundane horror; I find horror most disturbing when it lies well within the boundary of possibility. This collection sees the body and mind as uncanny territories; known but unknown, sites of possibility and terror.
Connect with Tracy:
Tracy Fahey is an Irish writer of Gothic fiction. In 2017, her debut collection The Unheimlich Manoeuvre was shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award. Two of her short stories were long listed by Ellen Datlow for Honourable Mentions in The Best Horror of the Year Volume 8. She is published in over twenty Irish, US and UK anthologies and her work has been reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement. Her first novel, The Girl in the Fort, was released in 2017.
Her second collection, New Music For Old Rituals was released in 2018 by Black Shuck Books.
We would like to thank Tracy Fahey for taking the time to answer our questions, but more importantly for her contribution to horror!