Interview with Horror Author Elaine Pascale [Women in Horror Month 2021]

Please introduce yourself.
I am Elaine Pascale. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. What I write has almost exclusively always been horror. In my “pay my bills life,” I work in academia and the focus is on academic writing, but I do find ways to sneak in some gothic/horror stuff when allowed. I have two grown children and have been happily married for over a hundred years.

What is it that attracts you the horror genre for your chosen field of creative work?
As I said, I have always been writing horror. When I write, that is what comes out. I am also a huge fan of the genre. I find it cathartic. Horror is a safe space to examine fears and anxieties. I have always been a bit of a control freak and horror is also a place to plan the unplannable. For example, how to survive a zombie apocalypse. What weapons need to be on hand for a sharknado? At what age do you stop allowing vampires to transform you and start fighting them?

Who inspires you in your work and in life?
Everyone and everything. In terms of stories, any thing heard or seen can turn into fodder. Social media can be great for inspiration as you see people “taking their swings” and continuing to create despite the obstacles that life throws in their way. That inspires me to keep going even when I feel too tired or uninspired. I belong to a flash fiction photo prompt group helmed by the wonderful Nina D’Arcangela where we respond to a photo each month and this is a wonderful exercise to keep me motivated and creating.

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?
It is funny to me as when you look at the history of gothic fiction, it was female dominated. I am not sure what caused the switch in our minds to associate horror writing with men. That said, the importance of Women in Horror Month is to remind us to applaud each other. I have not been as active this year as I have in past years, due to personal circumstances, and I have felt a bit of a loss in terms of championing other women. That is always the most fun part of it for me. It is something I try to incorporate year-round, especially in my role as a reviewer. I try to make sure that women’s books and films are being represented.

What would you tell an up-and-coming creative in the world of horror who sees that being a woman/identifying as a women as something that makes it so much more difficult at times?
The best way to battle against any type of discrimination is to just keep working. Prove that you deserve a place at the table. In this instance, prove that women horror writers/directors produce work that is just as scary as men. Keep competing.

What are your favorite bits of helpful advice that you have received about your work or your field?
A writing teacher once told our class to understand that we were not doing anything special. We write just as some people build houses or butcher meat or whatever. Basically, he was saying to not act like a diva, and this was very thoughtful advice. The horror community is pretty small, and you can develop a bad reputation quickly.

Another writing teacher recommended always having something submitted. If you receive a rejection, turn it right around and send it out again. I know that authors that do this have some luck with finding homes for their work. You can’t give up and you can’t let rejections get you down as it is subjective.

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 recommend checking out the monthly flash fiction on Spreading the Writer’s Word as you may find a snippet of some writing that you like and information on the authors is supplied so you could read something else by that woman. Kandisha Press has some really cool anthologies available that focus on women writers. Again, it is a nice way to be exposed to a variety of authors and see which ones you may be interested in. I was recently included in an anthology by the New England Horror Writers called Wicked Women and it features some fantastic authors who are doing very creative things.

What do you have coming soon that you can talk to us about?
I recently sold a book that will be available in 2022. Unfortunately, it is still untitled as both the publisher and I are trying to find a title we like. You can follow my social media and website for updates, and at some point it should have an actual name!

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Twitter: @doclaney