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 Sonora Taylor. Lets see what she said about being a “Woman in Horror”…
-PH: When did you first become a horror fan?
-Sonora: When I was a little kid, though it was mostly through fun, gentler stories like The Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands (the latter isn’t really horror, but it did introduce me to Vincent Price, so I consider it significant to my horror upbringing). I wasn’t allowed to watch a lot of scary or violent films as a kid, so I didn’t see a lot of the classics – Halloween, Carrie, The Exorcist, etc. – until I was in high school.
While most of my horror consumption was through film, I also enjoyed reading the genre. I read Goosebumps as much as I read The Babysitters Club. When I was 14, Mom recommended my first Stephen King book to me, Salem’s Lot. She told me she read it when she was 14, and thought that’d be a good place for me to start. Both of my parents are big horror fans, so it was only natural I’d follow in their footsteps.
-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?
-Sonora: It kind of happened naturally. I’ve been writing since I was little, and my stories were either slice-of-life or horror – and often a blend of the two. I wrote about skeletons and ghosts, vampire teachers and monster blobs of cheese. I don’t really write monster stories anymore (though I may revisit the blob of cheese), but as I kept writing, I’d find myself going back to dark stories. Those were the ideas that both stuck with me and that I found the most interesting to explore beyond one line or one idea. I especially like taking something mundane and adding a sinister twist. It’s fun (well, for me – not necessarily for my characters).
-PH: What does having a “Women in Horror” month mean to you?
-Sonora: It means having a collected effort to place women who produce horror stories in any medium at the forefront. I love seeing all the different ways people are celebrating, from making reading lists to hosting readathons to doing special features and interviews. It’s certainly expanded my knowledge of women in the genre!
-PH: Is there a woman in horror who you consider a role model?
-Sonora: Yes – my fellow author and friend, Sheri White. She was an early reader of my stuff, and has introduced me to many online horror writing communities, where I’ve met other authors and found things like submission opportunities. It was a huge help, and I try to be the same way with my peers in the writing community. I also love her stuff – her short story collection, Sacrificial Lambs and Others, is a real treat!
-PH: How do you think the role of women in horror has changed over the years?
-Sonora: I’m not sure if the role has changed so much as the attention, or the means by which women can make their voices heard. Women have been producing horror for years, but most of the attention went to male directors/writers/etc., and attention on women went to the characters in men’s stories. I think readers/viewers/etc. are finally making it a point to find horror produced by women (and not just featuring women) – and fortunately, they’ll find a treasure trove! There are classics in both literature and cinema, and there are also a lot of exciting new voices both in the mainstream and in the indie scene.
-PH: What do you think the future holds for women in horror?
-Sonora: More awareness, larger audiences, and more credit for our contributions to the genre that aren’t “She’s the female [male author].”
-PH: If you could serve a role in horror that you’ve never done, what would it be?
-Sonora: Screenwriting. I don’t know if I could do a whole horror screenplay, but I’d like to contribute a teleplay or two to an episode of a TV show.
-PH: Who is your favorite final girl, and favorite female villain?
-Sonora: My favorite final girl is Ellen Ripley from Alien. My favorite female villain is the Other Mother from Coraline – though I have lots!
-PH: Being that this is PromoteHorror.com, please feel free to plug your current/next horror project.
-Sonora: My most recent release is “Without Condition,” a blend of horror, romance, and coming-of-age that follows a serial killer navigating through her first relationship. It’s available in ebook and paperback on Amazon.
I’m also currently working on my next collection of short stories, titled “Little Paranoias: Stories.” It will feature flash fiction, longer short stories, and a little poetry.
Sonora Taylor is the author of The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales, Please Give, and Wither and Other Stories. Her short story, “Hearts are Just ‘Likes,’” was included in Camden Park Press’ Quoth the Raven, an anthology of stories and poems that put a contemporary twist on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Her work has also been published in The Sirens Call and Mercurial Stories. “The Crow’s Gift” will be featured on the horror podcast “Tales to Terrify” later in 2019. Her second novel, Without Condition, is now available on Amazon. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband.
Find Sonora Online:
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Sonora-Taylor/e/B075BR5Q7F/
We would like to thank Sonora Taylor for taking the time to answer our questions, but more importantly for her contribution to horror!