Why it's still unusual for women to write and read horror/thriller

 "Why it's still unusual for women to write and read horror/thriller but the tide is turning." 
Rosie Shadow Book Tour

Gender in Horror Novels by Louise Worthington 

In Stephen King's novella, Misery, Annie Wilkes is the perfect antagonist in my view: female, first and foremost - the one to capture, maim and torture a good man with a motivation to do so which we understand.  When Annie takes an axe to Paul's ankles to make him bring back to life the character of Misery he had killed in his last book, Annie does it for the female characters who have come to a sudden and bloody end at the hands of men in horror books and films. 

In Gothic literature, women are typically presented as innocent virgins, weak and needy, ultimately sullied by stronger, clever men through sex or death.  Or, predators, cynical and shameless.  Then there's good old Annie Wilkes, who trained as a nurse, that selfless profession that gave her the training and experience to torture and heal.  Annie is in a position of power.  Neither an innocent, virtuous victim nor a femme fatale.  Well done to King for smashing the stereotype and cauterising it with a blowtorch.

Stories like Misery and fiction by Ania Ahlborn, Rebecca Lee, Anna Rice and Daisy Johnson are certainly doing plenty of good to even out the numbers of women who read and write horror in a male-dominated landscape.  It's fantastic that Susan Hill's novel, The Woman in Black, made it onto the GCSE curriculum, which will hopefully inspire female teenagers to read and write Gothic horror literature.  

Female writers can offer female readers much: it's a genre about survival that women know a thing or two about over the centuries.  They can take a disquieting peek behind the curtains of mundane domestic situations and put a twist on the familiar portrayal and end of females.  The subgenres of horror, such as psychological horror, and the blending of horror with other genres, such as fantasy and folk, are flooding the market thanks to female authors like Francine Toon and Kirsty Logan.  They encourage more female readers to appreciate a genre that is far more than zombies and swamp monsters (though they, of course, have their place). 

Rosie Shadow Book

The tide is turning: more female writers and readers are joining the horror community.  Women in Horror Month (WiHM) and Ladies of Horror Fiction play their role, along with many others, including this blog and, in my own small way, my novel Rosie Shadow, the first in The Black Tongue Series.

 'Whatcha crying for, sissy? Why don't you grow a pair?' Rosie says to her mother… 'Send me to school, and I'll rip off your arm! Beat you with the stump.' 

Abandoned by her terrorised mother at the age of six, Rosie Shadow will do anything to win the affection of her father Archie, an undead cannibal in charge of Her Majesty's Prison Shortbury, now operating as a visitor attraction. 

Clare is sent reeling into Archie's arms with the grief of losing her boyfriend in a mysterious car accident when he collides with an ancient yew tree. 

The secrets in the Medieval dungeon beneath the prison are under threat when Clare becomes suspicious of Archie's true identity and his progeny.

Rosie Shadow Book Tour

1 comment:

  1. Hay Rachael, thank you for having me over! Rosie looks great on someone's lap!


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