Women in Horror Interviews: Kierce Sevren

Published March 13, 2014 by admin

I’m back today with another interview exploring what it means to write in the horror genre as a woman. Hopefully you’re seeing that these ladies are highly intelligent and possess the same sort of love for the genre that guys do. They may come at it from different areas, but they’re sincere, and intent on not being pushed out of something that they love.

Today, my guest is Kierce Sevren!

SJ: Why horror? Out of all the things to write, why does this genre appeal to you?

KS: What I find most appealing about a story is when it forces the reader to confront the fact that the world is a frightening, unsure, and unsafe place. Stories that challenge our views of the world, that display conflicted characters who have to make tough choices – some of which are very wrong, and that prove consequences happen are some of my favorite stories to read and as a writer I strive to create scenes that resonate with what I like to read. To tap into the primal fear residing in all of us is the goal of every horror writer so if what I write gives my readers chills, and makes them pause before turning off the light, then I’m happy to be called a horror writer.

 SJ: Who or what were your horror genre inspirations growing up? What made you realize that you wanted to explore and participate in the genre?

 KS:Classics by Poe, King, Stoker, and Shelley were in my life growing up in one version or another. I guess looking back I always leaned toward darker stories though they more thrilled me than scared me. These days I like a lot of Samuel M. Key (Charles De Lint’s horror pen name), KJ Kabza who would be more dark fantasy and scifi than horror but what I’ve read of his is still pretty dark. My favorite collection of dark tales is The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories. I write what I like to read so I guess writing dark fantasy and horror was only natural.

 SJ: What are women’s roles as horror characters? Are we doomed to be portrayed as victims or numbers on the sexual richter scale? Is it possible for male readers to find female horror characters that resonate with them?

 KS: My number one pet peeve in criticisms or reviews of writing is the whole gender or racial issues that are brought up ad nauseam. For anyone to say, I don’t read or write [blank] because of their gender or race is some of the most idiotic things I’ve ever heard/read because all that person is doing is admitting that their ignorance is keeping them from the best parts of the existence. It’s a kin to saying, I don’t like reading because books are written by mammals. My second largest pet peeve is the use of cheap ploys like reducing women to sexbots with minimal extraneous character details. I doubt men would like it much if they were judged against the pool-boy model. Now before anyone says anything about how women aren’t judged against the sex bot model, turn on your tvs for two straight hours and count how many times you see women paraded in underwear.

 My stance is this, if a character is good enough, flawed enough, strong enough, bad enough, liked or hated enough they’ll be compelling and readers are drawn to compelling characters. Women’s roles in horror are the same as men’s: to scare the pants off of people. If you can do that then you have an equal chance at being successful as every other great writer. As far as readers are concerned if my female character is not resonating with a select few readers then I’m okay with that, if the majority of male readers don’t care for my female characters then I’m doing something wrong.

 SJ: Why do people need to know about women horror writers, film makers, etc. What makes us equal or special in this already-saturated genre?

 KS: Why do women need more visibility of their work? Because there are still people out there that think we’re inferior to men, because we have deep wells of creativity and deserve a chance to express it, and because our voice is equally important to men’s. We need to make sure that we represent the best of our gender so there are no more assumptions that our value begins and ends with a slight variation in our chromosomes.

 SJ: Who are some women horror writers/film makers/etc that people definitely should know about?

KS: Mary Shelley – the mother or science fiction who wrote Frankenstein as an answer to a challenge. Ann VanderMeer – author of The Lottery and an editor at Tor.com to highlight just two of her accomplishments. Funny enough, it’s not easy to name many because, as with many genres, women writers have adopted male sounding names to avoid discrimination. But, a good list is on sfsignal.com: http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2013/10/mind-meld-favorite-women-in-horror/

SJ:Where do we go from here? Is it a matter of authors reaching out to local stores and libraries during February to encourage displays or readings by women horror writers? Is this an issue that should be taken to publishers to make sure there is equal representation of female-written horror in their catalogues? Is it a marketing issue, something that just gets lost in a jam-packed market? Is it a matter of readers just not knowing or caring, of sticking with what they know?

KS: We’re on the right track, I think. Women just have to continue to work on writing great fiction, telling heart wrenching and significant stories and putting their work out there in the world as often as possible. Not just in February, but for all 12 months. We need to talk about the stories we’ve read from known female writers more and more each day and raise awareness as much as possible. If we do that readers will notice. If we do a good job, readers will become fans, and fans are not shy about beating the drum.

 Thanks so much, Kierce! Here’s an excerpt from her tale, Beyond the Torii to whet your appetite!

***

She saw. She knows. She knows what I did. I didn’t see her pass the door, but surely she saw me. Her posture says it all, she thought in rapid succession. Fear so thoroughly consumed Mayako that she barely stopped herself from tripping over Tomi as she pressed against him. His grunt of confusion at her behavior forced an automatic response from her. “Sorry, I um, lost my balance,” she said and looked up to his face again.

He furrowed his brows and looked to where she had been looking. When she followed his gaze back to the darkened corner of the building she found the girl had vanished.  A sharp edged lump materialized in Mayako’s throat. The girl had to have gone to get someone. They only had to cross the small plaza ahead of them to reach the stairs. So close to getting out of there. So close to getting on the bus and going home – to getting the help Ayame needed.

grotesquerie

 Mocha Memoirs Press Store                          Kindle                     Paperback

Twenty-two short horror stories written by women are here on display for your enjoyment or your perverse fascination. Within these pages, beauty becomes deadly, innocence kills, and karma is a harsh mistress.

 The Grotesquerie is now open…

And you can find out more about Kierce at the following places…

kiercesevren.com

https://www.facebook.com/KierceSevrenTellsTales

https://twitter.com/KierceSevren

 grotesquerie

 Mocha Memoirs Press Store                          Kindle                     Paperback

Twenty-two short horror stories written by women are here on display for your enjoyment or your perverse fascination. Within these pages, beauty becomes deadly, innocence kills, and karma is a harsh mistress.

 The Grotesquerie is now open…

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