Women in Horror Month: The Rose Blackthorn Interview

Women in Horror Month is an opportunity to raise the awareness of women creators working in the field of horror. Whether as writers, artists or filmmakers, it is a time to shine the spotlight on the women out there who give us the creeps. (In a good way. We love ’em for it!) Here, in the latter half of the month, I will be posting interviews with some of those horror creators right here on the blog. Today’s interview is with horror writer, Rose Blackthorn.

rose-blackthornTell us a little about yourself and what you are currently bringing to the field of horror.
I am Rose Blackthorn, and I’ve been writing since my teens. I was raised on horror and fantasy/sci fi by a mother who shared her love of books with me. I like to spend time doing crafty stuff – beading, wire work, candle making – as well as taking photos, mostly landscapes and wilderness shots. I also take a lot of pictures of my dogs (they’re cute, I can’t help it). In 2009, after years of writing bad novels, I decided to try writing short stories. Since then, I’ve published more than 40, most of them in the horror or dark fantasy vein. I’m starting to do a little more with fantasy now, and also working on longer pieces. My next goal is to finish a fantasy novel that I started in 2006, extending it into the trilogy that it wants to be – and hopefully get it published.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing women right now in this field of creative work?
Basically, just being considered equal in the horror lit scene. And not just that there might be some bias in what is accepted for publication, but also in what is being submitted by women. There are some women who feel uncomfortable about writing horror; or if they do, in admitting it. I’m proud of my horror leanings, and am actually surprised when someone questions me about it. Also, I’ve heard from people over the years that “women can’t write scary”, and obviously that isn’t true. I’ve read darkly emotional pieces from writers like Mercedes M. Yardley and Alice Edward, and I’ve read shocking, visceral stories from others like Monica O’Rourke and Jessica McHugh – and everything in between.

As a writer, do your works feature mostly female protagonists or male? Or a mix? Any particular reason?
I used to write exclusively female protagonists – simply because I felt that I understood their motives, and more easily identified with them. Over the last couple of years however, I’ve started doing more male main characters just to stretch myself… and honestly, some of these stories need to be told from a male’s perspective. So, while I still have more female than male protagonists, it’s more of a mix these days.

What type of character do you find it most difficult to write?
I guess I’d have to say – a character that I just don’t understand, who is required in the story to behave in a way that I could not. The best way (for me anyway) to get past that is to try and put myself in that character’s shoes. Just because he or she acts or reacts in a way that I would not, I still need to understand their motivations. A lot of times if I’m having problems writing a difficult character, and not just leaving them flat and two-dimensional, I’ll actually come up with a back story to explain to myself why they are the way they are. I may never use any of that information in the story I’m writing, but it helps me to understand how they would react – and many times that will add depth to a story arc.

Who is your favorite female character from classic horror literature? Why?
I don’t know if she’s my favorite, but when I hear “female character from classic horror” the first one who comes to mind is Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. The novel is dark, atmospheric, and almost claustrophobic. Really, Mrs. Danvers just gave me the creeps!
I’m going to add another, just because… I don’t know if this would be considered classic or contemporary. It has a definite gothic feel, but isn’t that old having been published in 1979. One of the best (worst?) female villians in my opinion is Olivia Foxworth, the Grandmother from Flowers in the Attic. She is cold, judgmental, jealous of her own daughter, and apparently has no qualms about killing her own hidden grandchildren.

Who is your favorite female character from contemporary horror literature? Why?
There are quite a few female characters from contemporary horror that I’ve enjoyed, but my favorite would probably be Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s Misery. She is an unsettling mix of sweet and sadistic, helpful and possessive. Her love and devotion to Paul Sheldon’s work is touching, and then terrifying. She’s the fan you don’t want to have! (and, as much as I loved her in the book, I absolutely adored her as portrayed by Kathy Bates in the movie!)

Tell us who you think the best villain is, hands down, in horror literature. Or if you already answered this in the previous questions, tell us something random. Anything. I won’t print this. I swear.
Really, to me the most frightening villains in horror literature are the nameless faceless organizations usually funded by the ‘government’ who never have to explain themselves or their actions – and sometimes can’t even be proved to exist. From Stephen King’s “the Shop” in Firestarter, The Stand and The Mist, to the shadowy groups doing research in Dean Koontz’s Watchers, Strangers, or even Fear Nothing. I find them scary because there isn’t any one person/monster or whatever that the protagonist can fight against.

Every horror writer has a boogeyman; something that keeps them awake at night. What’s yours?
I’m not fond of spiders, and I’m borderline phobic about wasps. But really, the only thing that keeps me up anymore is a more mundane fear – and that’s the loss of those I love, and the thought of being without them.

Is Women in Horror Month important to the field? Why?
I think it’s a good thing, to have one month out of the year where Women in Horror are on everyone’s mind. It’s a chance to find out about female authors you might not know about, to get to know more about those you do already know, and to find out what they’re doing and what projects they have in the works.

In what way would you improve the visibility of Women in Horror Month if you ruled the world? (You know, pretending for a moment that you don’t already.)blckthorn-sirenscall
I don’t know – maybe it’s just that I know of or are friends with so many female horror authors, but it seems like it’s become a pretty big thing on social media. I’ve read all kinds of articles and interviews, found out about more books to add to my TBR pile. It’s been great this year to see all the info about my many contemporaries.

Give us your details. Where can we find your work? What’s your website? Social media details, etc?
I’ll give you my links for my Amazon author page, Facebook author page, my blog where I update new publications, and my Twitter address:
https://www.amazon.com/author/roseblackthorn
http://facebook.com/RoseBlackthorn.Author
http://roseblackthorn.wordpress.com/
https://twitter.com/rose_blackthorn

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