Hey everybody! I'm not sure how, but I somehow managed to finagle today's guest into coming on the blog, and she absolutely did not disappoint with a no-holds barred interview. So today I'm pleased to bring you the legendary Damien Angelica Walters!
About Damien Angelica Walters:
SK: How are you involved in the world of horror?
DAW: I'm an author of short fiction and novels.
SK: Who or what terrifies you?
DAW: Many, many things, but right now, those currently in governmental power are more terrifying than anything else.
SK: Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?
DAW: I wish gender was irrelevant. I really do. I wish there wasn't a Women in Horror month. I hate it, honestly. There's a month where everyone talks about us, makes lists, and then boom. The other eleven months of the year we're pretty damn invisible. It's frustrating and never seems to change.
Case in point: At the beginning of every year, when it comes time to list favorite stories or best novels or what have you from the year before, overwhelmingly, the lists are male and usually white. The "there aren't as many women writing horror" excuse doesn't work anymore. It really hammers home the idea of invisibility, and I feel like we could scream about this from the rooftops and nothing would change.
SK: Who are your favorite female horror icons?
DAW: And here's where I'm supposed to say Shirley Jackson and Mary Shelley and everyone nods and says, of course. Well, certainly, they go without saying, but there are so many women who've influenced horror with their words. Authors like Daphne Du Maurier, Octavia Butler, Tananarive Due, Joyce Carol Oates, and Margaret Atwood. Toni Morrison. Caitlin R. Kiernan. Susan Hill, Anne Rice, Kathe Koja. Not to mention more modern authors who are quickly becoming icons, authors like Helen Oyeyemi, Han Kang, Gemma Files, Sarah Langan, Livia Llewellyn, Lauren Beukes, Priya Sharma, and I could go on and on and on. It's impossible to distill the list down to a few favorites because they're all writing amazing things.
I think, perhaps, it might be easier to pick a few iconic works that everyone should read, so I'll specifically point out Margaret Atwood's THE HANDMAID'S TALE and Toni Morrison's BELOVED. Honestly, everyone should have already read them, and while there have been debates as to whether or not they should be considered horror, I don't think that should be a question at all.
And from an editorial standpoint, Ellen Datlow and Paula Guran have done wonders for the genre. I'm not even certain how many of their anthologies I have on my bookcases, but I've discovered most of my favorite short stories through them.
SK: What are you working on/promoting currently? Why should folks check it out?
DAW: My second short fiction collection, CRY YOUR WAY HOME, was just released on January 2nd from Apex Publications. It contains seventeen stories originally published from 2014 through 2016 in a variety of magazines and anthologies and is available for purchase from all the usual haunts. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review, saying "Short sharp shocks, finely developed settings, and eloquent prose make this collection a standout."
About CRY YOUR WAY HOME:
CRY YOUR WAY HOME brings together seventeen stories that delve deep into human sorrow and loss, weaving pain, fear, and resilience into beautiful tales that are sure to haunt you long after you turn the last page.
"Once upon a time there was a monster. This is how they tell you the story starts. This is a lie."
Sometimes things are not what they appear to be. DNA doesn't define us, gravity doesn't hold us, a home doesn't mean we belong. From circus tents to space stations, Damien Angelica Walters creates stories that are both achingly familiar and chillingly surreal. Within her second short story collection, she questions who the real monsters are, rips families apart and stitches them back together, and turns a cell phone into the sharpest of weapons.
"Once upon a time there was a girl ..."
Featuring the following works:
"Tooth, Tongue, and Claw"
"Deep Within the Marrow, Hidden in My Smile"
"On the Other Side of the Door, Everything Changes"
"This Is the Way I Die"
"The Hands That Hold, the Lies That Bind"
"Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys: The Elephant's Tale"
"The Judas Child"
"S Is for Soliloquy"
"The Floating Girls: A Documentary"
"Take a Walk in the Night, My Love"
"Falling Under, Through the Dark"
"The Serial Killer's Astronaut Daughter"
"A Lie You Give, and Thus I Take"
"Little Girl Blue, Come Cry Your Way Home"
"Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice"
"In the Spaces Where You Once Lived"