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 awesome author Sonora Taylor. Lets see what she said about being a “Woman in Horror”…
-PH: When did you first become a horror fan?
-Sonora: Continuing from last year’s Promote Horror interview, where I talked about my family’s interest in horror, I became more interested in horror as something unsettling in my teen years. I managed to find it in what can be better described as dark fiction. I read books by Stephen King, but otherwise, I didn’t read much genre fiction. My high school years were filled with Augusten Burroughs, Anita Shreve, and an assortment of general fiction that wouldn’t be classified as horror.
Still, the fiction I gravitated to was usually dark or looked at unsettling occurrences. Anita Shreve’s romance dripped with secrets, mystery, and melancholy. Burroughs’ life makes you not only constantly wonder how he’s survived, but marvel at how he’s so willing and able to tell his tales.
Dry by Augusten Burroughs is one of my favorite books. It dives deep into his alcoholism and his mental state during that time. He presents it as it was for him: just what his life was, which I find to be very effective in dark fiction. It’s similar to the narrative storytelling you see in memoirs like Educated by Tara Westover. It’s also prevalent in most of his memoirs. A Wolf at the Table is truly terrifying; and Running with Scissors is a classic for a reason. Burroughs is a big influence on my writing. I actually just finished Toil & Trouble, his memoir about being a witch; and I highly recommend it.
-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?
-Sonora: I’m very lucky to have the support of friends and family. My mom buys copies of my books to sell to her friends, and my dad tells his coworkers about my books. Lots of my family and friends share my links online. I feel very lucky as well to have the support and friendship of so many authors in the writing community. We recognize we’re all in this together and build each other up as opposed to competing. It’s been a joy meeting so many talented and wonderful people in the horror community, especially other women.
-PH: What does having a “Women in Horror” month mean to you?
-Sonora: It means amplifying our support for women in the genre. It’s an amplification we should do all year, of course; but it’s also nice to have a focused celebration. I love seeing so many people having women-only TBR (to be read) lists for February and actively seeking out new-to-them authors to check out.
-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?
-Sonora: I think more women are getting their stories out there, and that’s a welcome change! I also like that more women are taking advantage of non-traditional publishing routes to get their stories heard. Traditional publishing has its place, but with social media and online publishing sites, there are many ways to get your work out there for people to read and enjoy.
-PH: What do you think the future holds for women in horror?
-Sonora: Hopefully even more numbers, and on a larger scale. While I hold to my answer above, that we have many ways to share our stories outside of the traditional literary boundaries; it’d be nice to have more recognition beyond “Oh yeah, and let me add some women to this list.” It’s 2020, and I still see Best Of lists that only have men, or see friends of mine on Goodreads only reading men, or see horror book groups talking about King, Koontz, and Barker on repeat. Come on! Women are all over the place in horror. There’s no excuse to stick with the same old song and dance.
-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?
-Sonora: Hopefully we’ll keep celebrating it even when we’re getting the recognition we deserve! But in the meantime, I’m staying encouraged by how many more people I see taking part this year as opposed to last, which was when I first celebrated Women in Horror Month.
-PH: If you could serve a role in horror that you’ve never done, what would it be?
-Sonora: I’d like to collaborate on a screenplay. I think I may have said that last year, but it didn’t happen; so I’m saying it again! If you’re a screenplay writer and want to collaborate, hit me up. I’m really good at dialogue and setting a scene; and I tend to think (and write) cinematically. Also putting this out there, because hey, it can’t hurt to shoot my shot: if you’re a filmmaker and you’d like to work with me on adapting any of my work into a screenplay, I’m definitely game for that.
-PH: Being that this is PromoteHorror.com, please feel free to plug your current/next horror project.
-Sonora: My third novel, Seeing Things, is with my editor. It’s about a teenage girl named Abby who realizes she can see the dead. The trouble is, none of them want to talk to her. A summer visit with her uncle will give her some answers – but she may not like what she finds out. It’ll be available in ebook and paperback on June 23, 2020. In the meantime, you can shelve it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46140283-seeing-things
I currently have a collection of short stories out, called Little Paranoias: Stories. You can find it in ebook and paperback on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WQGDGSQ/
More About Sonora in Her Bio:
Sonora Taylor is the author of Without Condition, The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales, Please Give, and Wither and Other Stories. Her short story, “Hearts are Just ‘Likes,’” was published in Camden Park Press’s Quoth the Raven, an anthology of stories and poems that put a contemporary twist on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Taylor’s short stories frequently appear in The Sirens Call, a bi-monthly horror eZine. Her work has also appeared in Frozen Wavelets, a speculative flash fiction and poetry journal; Mercurial Stories, a weekly flash fiction literary journal; Tales to Terrify, a weekly horror podcast; and the Ladies of Horror fiction podcast. Her third short story collection, Little Paranoias, is now available on Amazon. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband. Visit her online at sonorawrites.com
We would like to thank Sonora Taylor for taking the time to answer our questions, but more importantly for her contribution to horror!