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.” One of the women, who was kind enough to answer our questions, was the terrific author Sarah England. Lets see what she said about being a “Woman in Horror”…
-PH: When did you first become a horror fan?
-Sarah: I had a lot of unnerving experiences as a child, and that terror became fascination. I was drawn to the genre and was reading James Herbert by the age of 9 or 10. At the age of 17 my boyfriend took me to see The Exorcist (my dad went nuts) and that was it… I slept with the landing light on and had terrible nightmares. I suppose by the time I got to adulthood and began writing, my fascination with horror kept pulling me that way. I had years writing for magazines before I wrote my first occult horror novel, though.
-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?
-Sarah: It happened naturally. I began as a nurse and then worked in psychiatry for 20 years. I didn’t start doing courses and writing professionally until I was into my 40s, and I had hundreds of short stories and serials published in all sorts of genres. However, I did notice that thrillers and supernatural stories took prominence. At that time I was interested in tarot and the occult, and just happened to meet someone who totally turned my world upside down and pointed me in the right direction. She had suffered ritual satanic abuse as a child, and now presented with symptoms indicative of DID or what used to be called multiple personality disorder. I began to research my old psychiatry books and I also interviewed this lady at length. Suddenly everything came together – my own fascination, my medical background, and my writing to date. I wrote Father of Lies following some harrowing research .. and the rest has grown from there.
Here is the link to my first occult horror, Father of Lies: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015NCZYKU
My others are: Tanners Dell and Magda which complete the Father of Lies trilogy; and The Owlmen is an off-shoot from the series. The Soprano, Hidden Company and Monkspike are all stand alones. Book 8 is underway. All my work is set in the UK – spooky, remote northern villages are my speciality.
-PH: Since you’ve become a horror fan and woman in horror, have you always had the support of friends and family or did you have some explaining to do?
-Sarah: No support, no. I think I am a mystery to my family. Although both elderly parents will always buy a paperback and read them, they really don’t like the genre at all. I’m the weird one!
-PH: What does having a “Women in Horror” month mean to you?
-Sarah: I think it is brilliant. I think on the whole it is male authors who do well in horror and women haven’t been taken hugely seriously. That said, most of those who read my books say it scares them insane. So yes please – let’s get the word out there that women can be just as terrifying!
-PH: Is there a woman in horror who you consider a role model? How have they effected your life in and outside of horror?
-Sarah: My role models have really been from the real world, as in people who have inspired me – mediums, traditional witches, and sufferers of satanic abuse, as mentioned above. I have horror writers I admire… some men and some women. I really like Susan Hill (Woman in Black) because she is so subtle with the slow build up of creeping terror.
-PH: How do you think the role of women in horror has changed since you got involved in horror? Have you personally noticed a change from when you started?
-Sarah: I think there are more of us for sure. Thanks to sites like this, maybe we are getting noticed a little more.
-PH: What do you think the future holds for women in horror?
-Sarah: It is all there for us… we just have to get noticed.
-PH: This is Women in Horror Month 11…how long do you think we will continue to celebrate this month before women get the recognition they deserve?
-Sarah: I don’t know… I can only dream…
-PH: If you could serve a role in horror that you’ve never done, what would it be?
-Sarah: I’d love to have have the screenplay done for Father of Lies in particular. Of course I’d love to be an actress too, but it could be too late for me now at 57!
-PH: Who is your favorite final girl, and favorite female villain?
-Sarah: Well for me one of the best horrors is The Exorcism of Emily Rose, so the actress who played her – Jennifer Carpenter – wins hands down. She was seriously scary. I’ve seen that film about 5 times now and it still gets me. She’s not really a villain.. she’s a victim. However, for sheer terror she gets my vote.
-PH: Being that this is PromoteHorror.com, please feel free to plug your current/next horror project.
-Sarah: The most recent occult horror I have is Monkspike, which is set in the Forest of Dean and includes spirit attachments, possessing monks and the dark arts. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VJHPD63
I do write extemely dark material.
Currently I’m working on Book 8, which is due for release in June this year. This is easily the darkest occult horror I have ever written and it’s sometimes hard to ‘go back in there’… I am purposefully not talking about this one until it is nearly ready, and am nervous as it could be bit of a shocker… If anyone would like to subscribe to my newsletter it’s on the home page of my website… http://www.sarahenglandauthor.co.uk
THANK YOU for inviting me!
We would like to thank Sarah England for taking the time to answer our questions, but more importantly for her contribution to horror!