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 great author Tracy Fahey. Lets see what she said about being a “Woman in Horror”…
-PH: When did you first become a horror fan?
-Tracy: Ever since I can remember I’ve been fascinated by the darker side of storytelling. Growing up in rural Ireland, I was surrounded by tales of ghosts, banshees, fairy-forts and strange happenings. I’ve always been a voracious reader, since the age of four when I discovered that books opened up new, exciting worlds, so as a child I became enraptured by short stories by Ray Bradbury, Edgar Allan Poe, Charlotte Gilman Perkins, E. Nesbit and Roald Dahl. Those stories fascinated me—and terrified me—but mostly fascinated me.
-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: I guess it happened initially through a pure desire to replicate some of those short stories that captured my attention as a child. When I was still in school I had a job working on pirate radio; I would write short stories and read them aloud on Saturday mornings. If they survived they wouldn’t bear re-reading now, but at the time I loved writing them. And they featured a LOT of ghosts and supernatural happenings—at the time I was heavily influenced by the tales of terror in Misty the paranormal comic aimed at teenage girls.
But after that there was a long hiatus where I continued to consume horror, but it wasn’t till I started a PhD on Gothic domesticity in 2012 that I started to reflect my research interest in fiction writing. And so my first collection, The Unheimlich Manoevure was born (coming out in a third, deluxe edition in March 2020).
-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?
-Tracy: Dark folklore and supernatural stories are endemic in rural Ireland, so my interest in horror didn’t mark me out as vividly as it might have in other cultures. I’ve spent a lifetime in love with the Gothic—music, books, films—so the transition to writing horror made sense. Since I had work first published in 2013, I’ve been lucky enough to make a warm circle of writer friends who are in the horror business, so if anything I’ve found my tribe through writing.
-PH: What does having a “Women in Horror” month mean to you?
-Tracy: As most female horror writers will tell you, there are a lot of mixed feelings about “Women in Horror Month.” There’s definitely a sense of resignation that it’s still necessary to have a month to highlight women’s contribution to horror, but there’s also a lot of kindness, solidarity and championing online that makes the month special to female horror writers.
-PH: Is there a woman in horror who you consider a role model? How have they effected your life in and outside of horror?
-Tracy: Iconic writers like Shirley Jackson, Angela Carter, Tanith Lee, Octavia Butler and Daphne du Maurier broke ground, and inspired generations of writers. But today there are so many women whose work I profoundly respect—Priya Sharma, Georgina Bruce, Aliya Whitely, V.H. Leslie, Cate Gardner, Penny Jones, Maura McHugh, Lynda Rucker, Laura Mauro, Eden Royce, Hailey Piper, Livia Llewellyn…so many exciting and diverse voices out there who are changing the face of contemporary horror. I’m so lucky to have gotten to know many of these women, and corresponding and talking to them about horror has enriched not only my writing, but my life. They’re awe-inspiring.
-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?
-Tracy: I’m a relative newcomer, but I think there’s never been a better time to be a woman active in horror. Although the world of horror film presents greater challenges for visibility, a lot of the most exciting writing is coming from female horror writers. I’m delighted to see a lot of global love and for writers like Carmen Maria Muchado, Mariana Enriquez, Gwendolyn Kiste and Alma Katsu. And I’ll never stop singing the praises of Ladies of Horror Fiction and podcasts like Ladies of the Fright and Breaking the Glass Slipper—prime examples of women promoting women in the genre.
-PH: What do you think the future holds for women in horror?
-Tracy: I truly believe that women’s writing is in the ascendant. But I’d love to see this translate into bookstores; to see work by fabulous contemporary female horror writers become stellar bestsellers and mount a takeover of shelves usually occupied by Stephen King and Dean Koonst.
-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?
-Tracy: Not much longer I hope. Every month should be spent celebrating and promoting women in horror…
-PH: If you could serve a role in horror that you’ve never done, what would it be?
-Tracy: I pine to script a graphic novel. I love the endless possibilities of narrative conveyed when image and text melt together in a kind of alchemical magic.
-PH: Who is your favorite final girl, and favorite female villain?
-Tracy: I have a soft spot for Ginger Snaps and the awkward, tongue-tied, death-obsessed Brigitte as Final Girl –the Fitzgerald sisters are sublime; mouthy, rebellious Gothic girls who refuse to fit in.
Female villain? I do love Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca, and the titular Baby Jane in What Ever Happened To Baby Jane
-PH: Being that this is PromoteHorror.com, please feel free to plug your current/next horror project.
Thank you, PromoteHorror.com. In partnership with my wonderful publishers, the Sinister Horror Company, I’m thrilled to announce during this Women in Horror Month the launch of the third deluxe edition of The Unheimlich Manoeuvre which comes out on Friday 13th of March 2020. This handsome hardback and e-book edition will include a new essay, ‘Creative Evocations of Uncanny Domestic Space,’ five new stories, a print and piece entitled ‘Remembering Wildgoose Lodge,’ and complete story notes on all nineteen stories in this new edition. For those who already own a copy of the first or second edition, my editor at the Sinister Horror Company, the endlessly inventive Justin Park, has created a brand-new chapbook, Unheimlich Manoevures in the Dark, which contains all of this bonus material (and which is currently available on Kindle pre-order for 99c)
Thanks so much for having me, and a very happy #WiHM to you all.
More About Tracy in her Bio:
Tracy Fahey is an Irish writer of Gothic fiction. In 2017, her debut collection The Unheimlich Manoeuvre was shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award for Best Collection. In 2019, her short story, ‘That Thing I Did’ received an Honourable Mention by Ellen Datlow in her The Best Horror of the Year Volume 11, with five stories on Datlow’s Recommended Reading list for 2019. Her short fiction is published in over twenty-five Irish, US and UK anthologies. She holds a PhD on the Gothic in visual arts, and her non-fiction writing has been published in edited collections and journals. She has been awarded residencies in Ireland and Greece. Her first novel, The Girl in the Fort, was released in 2017. Her second collection, New Music For Old Rituals, collects together her folk horror stories and was released in 2018 by Black Shuck Books.
In 2020, the deluxe edition of The Unehimlich Manoevure will be released together with a companion chapbook of new material, Unheimlich Manoeuvres in the Dark, both published by the Sinister Horror Company.
More information at her website www.tracyfahey.com
We would like to thank Tracy Fahey for taking the time to answer our questions, but more importantly for her contribution to horror!