Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Women in Horror Month #3: Jennifer Loring, author of "All in the Family"

I first met today's guest when we crossed paths at one of my publishers...then again at another publisher (that didn't pan out).  Then her name kept cropping up again and again in my feed and I knew I wanted to invite her on the blog.  (Plus I never pass up the chance to talk to a fellow Philadelphian.)  Let's meet the incredibly talented Jennifer Loring, then jump right into the interview.

About Jennifer Loring:

Jennifer Loring has been, among other things, a DJ, an insurance claims assistant, and an editor. Her short fiction has been published widely both online and in print; she has worked with Crystal Lake Publishing, DarkFuse, and Crowded Quarantine, among many others. Longer work includes the novel THOSE OF MY KIND, published by Omnium Gatherum. She holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University with a concentration in horror fiction and teaches online in SNHU’s College of Continuing Education. Jenn lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband, their turtle, and two basset hounds.

You can find her on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Amazon.


SK: How are you involved in the world of horror?

JL:  I was first published in the genre twenty years ago and have put out short horror fiction pretty regularly since then, plus a novel and a novella. I've always been a huge fan--I can remember watching horror movies as early as four years old, and I started writing at 11. My MFA in Writing Popular Fiction comes with a concentration in horror; I enjoy exploring it from an academic perspective as well and will be presenting a paper on extreme horror at StokerCon's Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference. I've been a member of the HWA off and on for a number of years.

SK: Who or what terrifies you?

JL:  Aside from Trump? ;D Honestly, anything that would prevent me from writing--sight loss, dementia, that kind of thing. Loss of autonomy and being immobilized, which are forms of claustrophobia.

SK: Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?

JL:  It should be irrelevant--I think women have more than proven that they can write/direct horror as well as (and in many cases better than) men. Being genderfluid, I don't think about gender when I'm writing or submitting; I just produce the best work that I can and hope it finds its audience. I know there are editors and even readers out there who won't consider anything by a woman, but I feel more pity than anger for them. They're the ones missing out on great stories, so I hope they recognize that and allow themselves to see beyond gender.

SK: Who are your favorite female horror icons?

JL:  Shirley Jackson, Mary Shelley, Tanith Lee, Drusilla from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Lucy Westenra from DRACULA, Pam from "True Blood," Karyn Kusama, Ellen Datlow, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Livia Llewellyn, Maria Tatar for her examinations of the darkest aspects of folklore, Gillian Flynn (who is rarely considered a horror writer but who writes some truly horrific stuff--SHARP OBJECTS, anyone?)... I know I'm forgetting people, but it's a good start. :)

SK:  What are you working on/promoting currently? Why should folks check it out?

JL:  My most recent short story publication is one I co-wrote with Mike Thorn called "All In the Family," which appears in the anthology BEHIND THE MASK: TALES FROM THE ID. It's my first collaboration, and Mike was a delight to work with. I'm in between major projects, but I have two novellas and a novel planned for this year, and of course, more short stories!



Come closer. Take off your mask. No, wait… leave it on. I’d like to see who you’re pretending to be, or who you think you are. There’ll be time enough to find out who you really are later… much later. Like when you’ve seduced me to your bed, or lured me to my death, or… but wait! You’re not planning any of those things, are you? Why, you’re just frightened; hiding behind that rubber skin for fear of being mocked or hassled; or to blend in. Well now, let’s peek at who you really are, shall we? Oh… Oh, it’s you?! But I thought –

22 short stories with one common theme: masks. From the editor Steve Dillon: "But why masks? I’ve always been a lover of masks and have collected them and worn them for as long as I can recall. One of my school paintings was a self-portrait which, having completed it and deemed it too ugly, I painted a clown-mask over the top of it. Whether or not that resonates with readers of this introduction, I think it’s safe to suggest we all use masks of one sort or another, both to protect us from ourselves, as well as to prevent our detection by others, or project a different image of who we are. We hide behind them, gain strength and courage from them, deflect judgement with their use so we can ‘fit in,’ and so on. "For this anthology, I hoped for memorable, dark, frightening stories. Tales of psychological or supernatural horror with a mask of some sort that was central to the story. I’d originally thought of theatrical masks, or clowns such as Jimmy Stewart’s character Buttons in ‘The Greatest Show on Earth.’ But, of course, masks can also be devised using cosmetic surgery, whether that’s to hide behind, or for transformation, beautification or gender-identification. Masks are also used extensively in roleplay, acting, disguise, and as part of a concealment by religious or traditional costume. Without offering any spoilers here, this anthology contains great examples of each of the above types of masks, and some I hadn’t considered… enjoy! "

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