Women in Horror Interview: Jessica Housand-Weaver

Published March 15, 2014 by admin

Today, my interview guest is the awesome Jessica Housand Weaver! She’s been here before, but this time she’s talking all about horror!

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

Horror is intense. It’s an adrenalin rush that physically and psychologically impacts the human mind and body. If I want to write something that really affects someone, what better way to do it than through the horror/thriller genre?

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

Actually, my grandfather was a big influence, I think. I remember my siblings and cousins and I sitting around him listening to him tell stories when I was a young child. There was this one rather brutal folk story which had been passed down to him that we just loved to hear him tell. It was about these creepy man-eating creatures called the Hobyahs from the swamps. I just loved how he was able to make us jump, the power he had to manipulate our minds and get our hearts pounding with his words alone. As I started reading, I grew to love big names like Anne Rice.

  1. 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?

I think women as helpless (and often beautiful) horror victims is actually becoming cliché. It was more acceptable when culturally women were raised to be fearful and even consider themselves to be potential victims in need of protection. Although we still need to progress in making female-based horror more mainstream, I totally believe male readers today are more able today to identify with strong female horror character roles than ever before. In a media historically saturated with male-dominated genres, lead female roles are becoming more common—even in the horror genre. For example, think Alien, Resident Evil, Silence of the Lambs, even Halloween. Men and women alike are diehard fans of these movies. And for books, think What about The Little Girl Who Lived Down the Lane or the huge selection of fantastic Mocha Memoirs writers. Also, check out writers like those included in The Grotesquerie.

 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?

JHW: Female writers, artists, and film makers offer genre horror that is ‘outside of the box’ and appeals to males and females alike. We also have to work harder and produce better work to get noticed. If you want to be amazed, shocked, and have your mind-blown, then female creators in horror are your best bet. We don’t pull our punches. We don’t sugar-coat. As stereotypical victims of horror in the past, we understand the human psyche. We know horror, trauma, insanity, and fear intimately—and we know how to use it against you.

 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?

JHW: Actually, my grandfather was a big influence, I think. I remember my siblings and cousins and I sitting around him listening to him tell stories when I was a young child. There was this one rather brutal folk story which had been passed down to him that we just loved to hear him tell. It was about these creepy man-eating creatures called the Hobyahs from the swamps. I just loved how he was able to make us jump, the power he had to manipulate our minds and get our hearts pounding with his words alone. As I started reading, I grew to love big names like Anne Rice.

 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?

 JHW: I think women as helpless (and often beautiful) horror victims is actually becoming cliché. It was more acceptable when culturally women were raised to be fearful and even consider themselves to be potential victims in need of protection. Although we still need to progress in making female-based horror more mainstream, I totally believe male readers today are more able today to identify with strong female horror character roles than ever before. In a media historically saturated with male-dominated genres, lead female roles are becoming more common—even in the horror genre. For example, think Alien, Resident Evil, Silence of the Lambs, even Halloween. Men and women alike are diehard fans of these movies. And for books, think What about The Little Girl Who Lived Down the Lane or the huge selection of fantastic Mocha Memoirs writers. Also, check out writers like those included in The Grotesquerie.

 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?

 JHW:Female writers, artists, and film makers offer genre horror that is ‘outside of the box’ and appeals to males and females alike. We also have to work harder and produce better work to get noticed. If you want to be amazed, shocked, and have your mind-blown, then female creators in horror are your best bet. We don’t pull our punches. We don’t sugar-coat. As stereotypical victims of horror in the past, we understand the human psyche. We know horror, trauma, insanity, and fear intimately—and we know how to use it against you.

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

JHW: I think I answered this one above.

 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?

 JHW:In an industry where more men are published every year than women (see: http://www.vidaweb.org/the-count-2010 and http://www.newrepublic.com/article/books-and-arts/82930/VIDA-women-writers-magazines-book-reviews ) it is not surprising that men still outnumber women in a genre which has traditionally repelled women. Yet, many many readers are female, and they crave that adrenalin rush just the same. Future opportunities for women are fantastic because women are steadily moving into media and publishing roles that were closed off before, increasing the chances as well for women writers. Women are also creating more work stronger work, and breaking down all the stereotypes in the industry. We, as writers and readers, need to support each other in achieving equal status and representation in all genres, including horror. It is only a matter of time before this becomes a reality.

 Thanks for your insight, Jessica! You can check out her story, Fate’s Hornet, in The Grotesquerie!

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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