Interview with Horror Author Hailey Piper [Women in Horror Month 2021]

Please introduce yourself a little:
Hi, I’m Hailey Piper, and thanks for having me! I write horror, with a few novellas out such as The Worm and His Kings from Off Limits Press and Benny Rose, the Cannibal King from Unnerving. I’ve had 50+ short stories published in various places such as Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, The Arcanist, Flash Fiction Online, Tales to Terrify, and elsewhere. I live with my wife in Maryland, and I’m trying not to upend reality too much.

What is it that attracts you the horror genre for your chosen field of creative work?
I feel less like I choose it and more like I can’t escape it. There was a time when I tried to write more fantasy, but dark fiction always seeped in, and it feels right to give into it. I’ve always loved horror in its many forms.

Who inspires you in your work and in life?
I think inspiration finds us from all possible directions, building from experiences past and present, future hopes and fears. I’m always inspired by my wife though; she’s just an incredible person.

Women in horror have made great strides, but it’s clear that a lot of work is still needed to make it a most inclusive genre. To you, what is the importance of a movement like Women in Horror Month?
I think Women in Horror Month can mean several steps depending on awareness. For some, they may not even realize they don’t read many (or any) women, and this month is a good way to not only alert them to that, but give them names and titles to seek out. For others, it can be a good reminder to support women in horror as we try to balance things better. Women in horror is one aspect, hopefully to help bust open the doors for every demographic.

What would you tell an up-and-coming creative in the world of horror who sees being a woman as something that makes it so much more difficult at times?
Don’t write to try pleasing anyone. With the barriers already in place, there’s no sense trying to placate genre sensibilities. Write YOUR horror, what’s unique to you, all its pain and loneliness and terror, its wonder and empowerment and wicked delights. Let your monsters loose without worrying whether they’ll find some middle ground; it doesn’t exist.

What are your favorite bits of helpful advice that you have received about your work or your field?
Finding our own process is better than trying to mimic someone else’s. I couldn’t really put it into words until a chat with Lisa Quigley sometime last year, but seeing how much different her process was from mine really emphasized how we each need to move on our own steam. We’re each unique writers; we have to do what’s right for us, whatever habits and creative rivers we follow.

In honor of celebrating Women in Horror Month, who do you believe viewers should keep an eye on in terms of the creative ladies in horror?
I read mostly women, so I have an endless treasure trove of names. Sara Tantlinger, Nadia Bulkin, Laurel Hightower, V. Castro, Eden Royce, Lisa Quigley, Claire Holland, Samantha Kolesnik, Ali Seay, Jessica Guess, Gwendolyn Kiste, A.C. Wise. I really can keep going and going.

What do you have coming soon that you can talk to us about?
I’ll have short stories out this year in places like Stitched Lips and Dark Matter Magazine. My first short story collection, Unfortunate Elements of My Anatomy, will release on May 7 from The Seventh Terrace, eighteen stories exploring isolation, queer horror, and the monstrous feminine. Later this year, my first novel, Queen of Teeth, will release from Strangehouse Books, a body horror romance. And then I just announced a new title coming in 2022, Song of the Horned Hare, which will release from Death’s Head Press as part of their splatter western series.

Pop them links to follow your work here:
Twitter: @HaileyPiperSays