By Rebecca Fraser http://www.rebeccafraser.wordpress.com
Suzie Lockhart has an innate ability to appreciate, understand, and tell chilling tales. Together with her son, Bruce, she has published close to fifty short stories in various anthologies and eZines. After building a solid reputation for quality horror, the team were asked by a UK publisher to edit their acclaimed ‘Nightmare Stalkers & Dream Walkers’ anthology. Four more anthologies yielded another award for ‘Fractured Realms’, a charity anthology benefitting the Autism Trust. Suzie’s recent editorial projects have seen her at the helm of Digital Fiction Publishing’s highly praised anthology, ‘Killing it Softly,’ with ‘Killing it Softly 2’ scheduled for release later this year
Q. Last year, you edited the successful anthology Killing It Softly – The Best by Women in Horror (Book 1) which went on to become a Top 10 Finisher in the 2016 Predators and Editors Readers’ Poll in both the Best Anthology and Best Book Editor categories. Can you tell us what the motivation/inspiration was for Killing It Softly?
A. Thank you for inviting me to participate in this interview for the ‘Women in Horror Month’ blog, and for your kind words. I’d been dying to do an all-female horror anthology ever since a story of mine ‘Playing with Fire’ was selected for ‘Mistresses of the Macabre’. The stories in there were amazing, and I dreamed of being able to put together stories that were to my taste of horror. To my delight, the stories for ‘Killing It Softly’ were off the chart.
Q. And what about the story selection process? You must have been inundated with submissions. Was it hard to make a shortlist, and then narrow it down to a final table of contents? What particularly do you look for when selecting a story?
A. The selection process was extremely difficult! Since this was a reprint only anthology, almost every story was extremely well written, and I certainly had a lot of reading material. I really enjoy an ending with a great twist. I give every well-written story a chance, but I need to be left with a feeling of satisfaction at the end. That doesn’t mean, necessarily a happy ending, because these are horror stories, obviously. I do love when a particularly nasty villain meets a bad end.
Q. Do you think females bring different experiences or insights to horror literature, and how do you think this shapes or impacts on character, narrative, or reader experience?
A. Absolutely! The female experience is different from very early on. For example, I remember worrying about what would happen if I got my period during a class with a male teacher. I remember boys making comments when I developed a little early. Men don’t have to worry about getting pregnant when they become sexually active, and they certainly don’t get to ‘enjoy’ the experience of childbirth! I once heard it said that if men had to have babies, abortion would be a religion…I’ll leave that hanging with no comment of my own. We still don’t get paid the same. I think, too, if a man writes horror, no one really bats an eyelid. But for women…? I was actually told by someone close to me that writing horror ‘changed me’. And for women, there is no damn Viagra! I think these experiences shape a story in its entirety because we experience a type of horror during our lifetime that a man never will.
Q. Suzie, along with your editing background, you’re also an accomplished writer of the macabre. Do you find yourself drawn to any particular issues or themes within your own work? Where do you draw your inspiration or ideas from? Inspiration comes from many different sources. Having two children under the Autism spectrum certainly offers me insight I would not otherwise have. And my writing partner and son, Bruce, and I both have fibromyalgia, so pain is a constant companion. I think that is probably why I was drawn to writing horror. It allows me a release I would not necessarily find through other genres.
Q. Who is your favourite female writer/s (living or dead)?
A. Honestly, JK Rowling. Just read ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’. There are a lot of female authors I have the greatest respect for, that I also have worked with. Too many to name.
Q. Submissions for ‘Killing it Softly 2’ open this month. Any tips for those looking to sub?
A. Well, I recommend you purchase ‘KIS’ #1. Seriously, it is a best-selling Kindle book on Amazon, for only $2.99. When I am looking to submit a story somewhere, that is exactly what I do to see what an editor is looking for. And send your absolute best work, because the submissions I’ve read so far might be better than volume one!
Submission for ‘Killing it Softly 2’
Purchase ‘Killing it Softly 1’
Q. Women in Horror Month is entering its 8th year. As a writer, editor, and reader of the genre, do you feel that the underrepresentation of women in horror is changing, or do we still have a long way to go?
A. I definitely think the tide is changing. Social media has furthered our cause by making female horror more readily available. All we need to do is keep submitting our best quality horror.
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