There is no better way to close out our feature on female writers than with author, poet, journalist, and all around creative inspiration Liisa Ladouceur. With her interests spanning music, non-fiction, poetry & spoken word, it is a real treat to hear Liisa’s thoughts on the publishing world.
I’m a writer of non-fiction and poetry, and have been doing this for my entire adult life (plus the embarrassing teenage goth poet phase.) I decided early on that my passion was in documenting, of rooting around the dark sides of culture and bringing compelling stories to light, and have been fortunate enough to do it for a living for many years now.
I am perhaps best known as a long-time arts journalist in Canada and for several years as the “Blood Spattered Guide” to music and the resident vampire lover at Rue Morgue Magazine, although I am equally proud of my spoken word poetry performing and my increasing work in film/TV.
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?
Shirley Jackson. Mary Shelley. The Bronte Sisters. Anne Rice. Margaret Atwood. Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Caitlin R. Kiernan. There has never been a shortage of exceptional, influential women working in genre writing. If the scene is considered male-dominated it’s only because most disciplines are. I think the greater misconception is about readers of sci-fi, fantasy and horror, that they are all boys, and geek boys at that. Of course we know that girls and ladies of all ages and persuasions love this material too, as you can see at any horror convention.
Do you think publishers or readers still act as though women writing these genres are a novelty?
When I walk into my local chain bookstore these days I bump into tables piled high with vampire and supernatural novels written by women that are selling very well to all kinds of readers. Granted, that’s a trend, but anyone who thinks female authors are a “novelty” shouldn’t be in the publishing business.
Have you ever felt any resistance from others stemming from the fact that you are a woman writing in a darker genre?
Nope! There are some creepily misogynistic readers out there that sometimes send in disturbing love/hate mail, but that happens to women who put themselves out into the public eye in all walks of life. I am delighted to report I’ve never encountered anyone who suggested writing about the dark is a man’s job. If anyone would like to try I have some sharp stilettos I’d be happy to shove into their throat.
What are your thoughts on Women in Horror Month? Do you feel it is an empowering movement or something that continues to draw a divide between artists, authors and creators?
This may be unpopular to say but it doesn’t mean a thing to me. I want to be judged as a writer, not as a female writer. I don’t think we’re some kind of charity that requires a special day or month to get people’s attention.
What would you say to other female writers out there looking to explore darker subjects in their art?
My advice for any writer is to say what you really think. If your thoughts turn to the dark side, if you are consumed with dreams of monsters, real or imagined, if you fantasize about doing disturbing, terrifying things to your characters, embrace that and run with it. It’s certainly not “unladylike.” If, like me, you like to interview other people who do those things, and to comment upon their work, be brave in expressing your opinions. Above all, don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks about what you’re doing. Just get down to work until you are satisfied with it.
Tell Bloody Bookish readers about your upcoming adventures.
My first book, Encyclopedia Gothica (a guide to goth from Absinthe to Zombies, illustrated by Gary Pullin) was recently released by ECW Press and is available worldwide. I am also hard at work on a documentary about Satan with Banger Films. And I continue to contribute to Rue Morgue and other publications that allow me to cover things that go bump in the night.
The best way to keep up with my projects is my own website, liisaladouceur.com. I also quite enjoy tweeting, so find me there @liisaladouceur. And whenever possible I like to get in the van and go read poetry aloud for you, so if you want to invite me to your living room, your café, your bookstore, please do get in touch. Until then…..