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 writer, and publisher D. Lynn Smith. Lets see what she said about being a “Woman in Horror”…
-PH: When did you first become a horror fan?
-D. Lynn: My first real memory of loving horror is running home from school to watch Dark Shadows. I absolutely loved the show. My favorite character was Angelique, played by Lara Parker. Even though Angelique was the villain, I loved her for being a strong woman who didn’t play by the rules. I remember wondering why she was the villain when Barnabas treated her so terribly. Why wasn’t he the villain?
I wasn’t allowed to read horror as a child, which strikes me as funny now since there wasn’t any such censorship on my television watching. I remember the movie; The Screaming Skull scared the heck out of me. I was hooked on Vincent Price movies. But to me, the scariest movie of them all was Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte. Mom and Dad took my sister and I to the drive-in to see that. They tried to get us to sleep in the backseat, but I found a way to watch anyway. I’ve had a severed hand phobia ever since.
I didn’t start writing horror until I was a much older adult. I took a short story writing class with World Fantasy award winning horror writer, Dennis Etchison hone my skill. He brought in a few guest speakers you might know: Ray Bradbury, Clive Barker, Bill Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. Dennis and Bill became my mentors.
-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?
-D. Lynn: I signed up for a short story class at UCLA extension. It was being taught by Dennis Etchison, an award-winning horror writer, so I was encouraged to try my hand at a horror story. During the class, Dennis brought in some of his friends: Bill Nolan, George Clayton Johnson, Clive Barker and Ray Bradbury. It was an amazing class. Bill and Dennis really encouraged me. They even talked me into going to my first World Fantasy Convention.
-PH: What does having a “Women in Horror” month mean to you?
-D. Lynn: I think Women In Horror month is important because it sends a message to other women. “Hey, women horror writers really do get published. Send your work out.”
There is a bias against women writing horror. I was at a Ray Bradbury lecture where he said women can’t write horror. I’m not kidding. He really said that. And I adore Ray Bradbury. He was a great writer (One of my favorite short stories of all time is The Veldt) but, unfortunately, he had the mindset that many men have. And it’s up to women to change that mindset. We can’t do that if we don’t send out stories. We can’t be afraid of rejection.
I run a comic publishing company that supports women writers and artists. Our motto is, “We’re not asking for permission.” I think that should be the motto of all women writers. We’re not asking for permission to get our work published… we going to send you such good stories so you’ll have no choice. And if you won’t publish then, we’ll publishing them ourselves. It’s important that women know there are other women out there writing and publishing. And it’s important that women support each other rather than see themselves in competition with other women. I believe WIHM helps with both those things.
-PH: Is there a woman in horror who you consider a role model?
-D. Lynn: Nancy Holder. I’m working with Nancy on a comic called Mary Shelley Presents, which celebrates Victorian Women horror writers. I’ve learned so much about horror by just working with her. Nancy writes in all genres, and she wins awards. She has fun. She takes on projects she’s passionate about. That, to me, is a good role model.
-PH: What do you think the future holds for women in horror?
-D. Lynn: More and more women are getting published and the whole idea of “women can’t write horror” is starting to fade away. I think the future for women in horror is bright. The president of HWA is a woman. We’ve just go to get more women to submit. Submit, submit, submit. Don’t let any little voice inside or outside your head tell you won’t get published because you’re a woman. Nancy Holder has won 6 Bram Stoker Awards.
-PH: Who is your favorite final girl, and favorite female villain?
-D. Lynn: Final Girl: Sidney Prescott. Villian: Angelique
-PH: Being that this is PromoteHorror.com, please feel free to plug your current/next horror project.
-D. Lynn: Current Projects
I have two projects I’m current working on. Both are comic books/graphic novels. I’m writing Gates of Midnight about Raven, a combat medic who returns home to New York with PTSD, and discovers she has to fight monsters on the streets of New York. And the aforementioned Mary Shelley Presents, which has Mary Shelley and her monster introducing adaptions of horror stories written by Victorian women. Both are available at Kymerapress.com.
Kymerapress.com – my comic book publishing company where I write the dark fantasy comic, Gates of Midnight
Dlynnsmith.com – My personal website
We would like to thank D. Lynn Smith for taking the time to answer our questions, but more importantly for her contribution to horror!