Women in Horror Interviews Part I

For the month of March, in order to celebrate Women in Horror, I’ll be highlighting interviews with some of the authors that appear in Hush, Don’t Wake the Monster – Stories Inspired by Stephen King Women in Horror Anthology.

L.E. Daniels author of “Silk”

Which Stephen King novel/short story inspired your short story?

First published in Cavalier magazine in 1972, “The Mangler” was later included in Stephen King’s 1978 Night Shift collection. An industrial laundry press is exposed to magical elements of nightshade, a bat, and virgin’s blood, summoning a demon that possesses the machine and attacks the workers. Also peering into the dark side of industrialization, my story “Silk” explores the conditions of the child workforce in the early twentieth-century New England mills. My grandmother, a child of Italian immigrants, survived polio and worked in such a mill. At five, her first job was pulling dead silk moth caterpillars from their boiled cocoons.

Who’s your favorite modern female author?

Lately, I’ve been reading short story anthologies like Sara Tantlinger’s Chromophobia, James Aquilone’s Classic Monsters Unleashed, and Other Terrors edited by Rena Mason and Vince A. Liaguno and the rising tide of female voices within from these pages is exquisite. If I had to pick a favorite, I’d go with Geneve Flynn. She fearlessly tackles edgy themes within narratives loaded with the residue of intergenerational trauma and deeply-informed cultural nuance. She’s a total badass.

Which song would be the soundtrack to your story?

Since the story spans the 1920s, recording of “America the Beautiful” performed by Louise Homer in 1924 would cast a shadow over images of children working the aisles of the New England mills.

For a sensation of being completely out of control for the big finish, the 1929 recording of “You Were Meant for Me” by Nat Shilkret with Dick Robertson on vocals might also leave us breathless.

What are some of your current writing projects?

This week, I’m currently braiding a few true ghost stories together into one narrative for Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s 34 Orchard literary journal.

Rebecca Rowland author of “The Clawset”

Which Stephen King novel/short story inspired your short story?

“The Clawset” is a feminist reimagining of King’s “The Boogeyman” from his Night Shift (1978) collection. My father was a huge King fan, so his paperbacks filled our bookcase when I was growing up, and I remember reading Night Shift when I was pretty young. I loved a number of the stories in that collection, but “The Boogeyman” flat out terrified me and the imagery stayed with me. Even as a freshman in college, I could not sleep with the closet door ajar.

For the culmination of my graduate degree in English literature, I analyzed King’s female characters in (what was at the time) his more recent releases: Dolores Claiborne, Gerald’s Game, Insomnia, Rose Madder, and Needful Things. So many of his twentieth-century stories portray women as either the victims of men or the monsters who destroy them. I reread “The Boogeyman” recently, and his portrayal of the one woman who appears (tangentially) in it is very telling of the time in which King penned it nearly fifty years ago. I wanted “The Clawset” to be a 2020s version of his tale with an all-female cast, and I named the characters very purposefully. It’s my love letter to Stephen King and the influence his stories had—and continue to have—on my writing.

Who’s your favorite modern female author?

There are so many to choose from, it’s difficult to name one as a favorite. I adore Gwendolyn Kiste’s writing: it’s feminist with a whip smart wit I adore, and I’ll read anything she puts her hand to. As a fan of short fiction in particular, I love seeing the names of women writers whose work I’m familiar with in thematic anthologies and reading their interpretations of those themes, women like KC Grifant, EV Knight, Kenzie Jennings, Ruthann Jagge, Candace Nola, Holly Rae Garcia, Bridgett Nelson, Stephanie Ellis, Hailey Piper, C.O. Davidson, Elin Olausson, and of course, three of the kick ass women I share space with in this anthology: Amy Grech, L.E. Daniels, and Kristi Petersen-Schoonover. The stuff all of these women are crafting is simply genius: it’s horrific and original and more than anything, smart as hell.

What are some of your current writing projects?

My seventh curated anthology, American Cannibal, drops just a few days after this anthology, and it’s a true juggernaut with twenty stories from some of the biggest names writing horror today: I can’t wait for readers to take a bite out of it. My own stories will be appearing in anthologies here and there throughout 2023, including in Sinister Smile Press’ Just a Girl women in horror collection later this month (March 2023). My next novelette, Rock of Ages, debuts in a horror anthology that benefits a Texas-area food bank in June, and my next short fiction collection, White Trash & Recycled Nightmares, drops from Stygian Sky Media in late summer. I maintain a (likely obnoxious) website, RowlandBooks.com, and a (definitely silly) Instagram, @Rebecca_Rowland_books. I hope readers will give them a look.

It’s certainly easier being a woman in horror today than it was thirty, twenty, or even ten years ago, but it still isn’t a piece of cake: there will always be INCELs and boys’ club naysayers lurking about, trolling social media and slapping blind, one-star reviews on anything they see is penned by a woman. I’m endlessly appreciative of small presses, reviewers, and influencers that take the time to spotlight the women who write horror. We may still be in the minority, but make no mistake: we are a force to be reckoned with.

Read L.E. Daniels & Rebecca Rowland’s stories in Hush, Don’t Wake the Monster along with other amazing authors!

Purchase book here!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s