If anyone has anything to say about Women in Horror Month, it’s K.V. Taylor!
With dabblings in dark spec-fic, urban fantasy, fantastical fiction, Katey does it all with her own brand of grrl power.
Check out what Katey had to say when she sat down to share her thoughts on the state of the publishing world and what it’s like to explore the female experience through her fiction.
Can you start off by telling everyone about your background – when you first started writing and what you write.
I first started writing to entertain my best friend and myself when I was just a kid. I never seriously considered I could write fiction for anyone else until I was about twenty, at which point I kind of went overboard with it. But here I am!
I write dark stuff, mostly. I consider myself a specialist in sex and death. My interests are simple.
Er, if those two things could ever be called simple. Maybe predictable is a better word…
Speculative fiction – including Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror (and all their sub-genres) – are often seen as male-dominated genres. Do you think that stigma still exists?
I do think it still exists, and it’s in evidence at a lot of fan conventions, comic shops, and that sort of thing. That said, there are many people of all gender identities who are fighting the good fight, and I feel like we’re making progress. Anywhere you find intelligent folk in the spec fic communities, you find people examining, dissecting, and oftentimes mocking those expectations and the kinds of situations and fiction they produce. That’s pretty awesome.
Do you think publishers or readers still act as though women writing these genres are a novelty?
I’ve never had a publisher act that way, but I do know I’ve been lucky. My first story went to Morrigan Books, with whom I’ve since become deeply involved, and they’re very, very into women in dark fiction of all stamps. My current publisher, Belfire, is run by the excellent Jodi Lee, who apart from being a woman herself is well known for supporting women writers. The company’s list bears that out.
I don’t think readers mind who writes their books, to be honest, so long as they’re good. I’m sure there are some people who’d scoff at a woman writing horror — we all know those people, even if it’s sometimes amazing they still exist. But people who are bothered about that kind of thing aren’t really worth your time, right?
Have you ever felt any resistance from others stemming from the fact that you are a woman writing in a darker genre?
No, not resistance. I’ve been met by surprise on occasion. I’m kind of small and round-faced, and I look a lot younger than I am, so when people ask me what I write and I say, “dark fantasy, horror, that kind of thing,” I sometimes get a little, “Seriously?” I’ve gotten laughter too. It’s been good-natured, but it is pretty indicative of a certain ingrained attitude. It doesn’t offend me, though. I’m glad I met them; maybe next time they won’t assume anything.
I’ve had some really good experiences too. I was once at a conference and found myself at a bar table full of a bunch of really popular indie horror authors, all men. And I looked around and realized it, and that they weren’t treating me any different either for being an unknown or a woman, and it was totally brilliant.
Name some of the female spec-fic writers that you like.
Just going with authors I’ve read recently, since otherwise this list will never end:
Anyone who knows me knows I’m going for Cate Gardner here. The thing about Cate is that her stuff isn’t typical horror at all — it’s beautiful and creepy and clings to you, comes back to haunt you.
I also really, really love Kaaron Warren. I got to work with Kaaron on Ishtar for Morrigan/Gilgamesh, and she was not only awesome to work with, but her story really got to the dark heart of the goddess like you wouldn’t believe. But when I read Slights last year… man. I am seriously in love with her fiction.
Right now I’m neck deep in House of Fallen Trees by Gina Ranalli. She’s a master at building up that panic feeling in your belly, even in her short fiction, and this book is just… man. I can’t put it down.
What would you say to other female writers out there looking to explore the darker side of fiction?
I think we’ve all got darkness in us, all human beings, and there’s just something about the female experience that lends it a certain depth and breadth that’s desperate to be explored. Crack that shit open and go to town. Something beautiful always happens.
Let our readers know about your upcoming adventures, places to find you, and any parting words you are itching to share.
My first novel, Scripped, came out from Belfire at the end of last year, and it’s pretty fun. Assuming you think faerie-napping and torture and Stockholm Syndrome (hey, there’s a love story too… sorta) are fun. There’s a whole list of places you can nab it on the official site: http://youcannevergoho.me.
My next planned novel is coming from Belfire, too. It’s called Liam, named after its, um, hero (if you like your heroes murderous), and it’s the first in a vampire series I’ve been working on for a long, long time. There are updates about the project at http://fiorenzafamily.com.
I have some short fiction coming up this month at Niteblade, and there’s a bunch of stuff that’s gone before, all of which can be found and tracked at kvtaylor.com. I’m on twitter as @hawthornetaylor, and my tumblr is pretty active, if inane: http://hawthornetaylor.tumblr.com. Also, I use goodreads obsessively
Thanks a lot for having me, Mary, and happy Women in Horror Month to everyone. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.