The One That Got Away

Meg Hafdahl - Michelle Renee Lane

Mocha Pennington - Paula RC Readman

Meg Hafdahl

How long have you been writing?

My whole life! But my first published short story was in 2014, at age 30. It took me a while to gather the courage to show my words to the world. 

 

What have been your experiences in the horror community as a woman?

It’s been mostly good. There is a wonderfully supportive horror community of all genders, and I have felt that love and support. Yet, being a woman in any business brings obstacles. I have had my share of “mansplaining”, inappropriate DMs, all that. I’m happy to say that those people are a minority. Overall, the horror community is a such a great place to thrive. 

 

2020 left everyone feeling pushed to their limit. How are you finding the creative process this year? 

Oh yeah, I am pushed to my limit! I have two boys home from school, and that has added a lot of pressure on me to change my daily life. This burden has fallen primarily on women, unfortunately. Before the pandemic I had more time for creative thinking, which is really vital to my writing. I need time to cultivate ideas, so having constant kids, pets, dirty dishes, leaves little time. It has been an exercise in learning balance. 

 

We truly believe in intention setting. What is your dream for 2021? 

To be proud of how I spend my time. To write, create, and support what matters to me!

What do you want to see more of in horror?

Diversity. More own voices. While also white cis females like myself make sure to write stories about people who are not always like them! Different races, cultures, religions, genders, abilities. There are so many unique characters we haven’t met yet! 

 

What other genres would you like to explore? 

I’m a fan of historical fiction. I have a short horror story collection coming in Oct 2021 in which all the stories take place pre-WWII, it's fun for me to explore history. 

 

Give a piece of one sentence advice for women wanting to write dark fiction.

You are capable and your words are worthy; write, write, write! 

 

Meg Hafdahl is an author and co-host of the Horror Rewind podcast.  Her female driven horror fiction has been produced for audio by The Wicked Library. She is the author of three novels including Her Dark Inheritance as well as the short story series Twisted Reveries. She is the co-author of multiple books including The Science of Stephen King.  

 

Michelle Renee Lane

How long have you been writing?

 

My earliest memories of writing include writing stories and plays that I performed for my family, but I really began writing on an almost daily basis around the age of 13 when I started filling notebooks with Duran Duran fan fiction. My friends loved it and I began to get a sense that I could actually become a writer. After that I wrote dark poetry inspired by Goth culture and music and dabbled in erotica with collaborative stories with one of my pen pals. That pen pal, Carlos Velazquez, became the namesake of the vampire in my debut novel, INVISIBLE CHAINS.

 

What have been your experiences in the horror community as a woman?

 

For the most part, I’ve had some really positive experiences. Mainly because there is an incredibly supportive network of women horror writers, reviewers, readers, etc. who I have been fortunate enough to connect with over the past few years. And, this experience hasn’t been limited to women in the horror community. The horror community does have a few folks who could benefit from learning empathy and curbing their inappropriate behaviors, but overall, I’ve had some wonderful experiences as a woman of color who belongs to the horror community. I will say that initially when I was shopping my debut novel around, I struggled to find a home for it because people didn’t understand what I had written and didn’t know how to categorize it or where it would fit in their catalogs. So, for a long time I struggled with the idea of whether I really was a horror writer. But, after being nominated for Stoker Award, I don’t doubt myself anymore.

 

2020 left everyone feeling pushed to their limit. How are you finding the creative process this year?

 

Oddly enough, 2020 was a productive year for me. I published 5 short stories, including one that was featured on the Christmas episode of The Wicked Library podcast. I sat on several panels, presented at MultiverseCon, and wrote a handful of blog posts, as well as maintained a weekly blog series featuring the work of fellow writers, Fiction Fragments. I also made some excellent connections with folks because of that productivity and new opportunities are on the horizon.

 

We truly believe in intention setting. What is your dream for 2021?

 

First and foremost, more publishing. I’d like to double the number of short stories I wrote in 2020, and I’d like to publish at least one longer piece of fiction. Possibly the first novella in a series I’ve been working on, and I’d like to get a draft of the sequel to INVISIBLE CHAINS completed and sent to my publisher before the end of the year.

 

Beyond that, I’d like to have more speaking engagements that pay, as well as figure out how I can turn my knowledge as a writer into educating others and potentially getting paid for that knowledge. I’ve had the enough of my day job and relying on employment based on someone else’s timetable.

 

And finally, better health for myself and my family. Mental health is at that list.

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

 

BIPOC women writing their truth, telling scary stories, and challenging the limits of the genre.

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

 

I’ve always fancied myself an erotica writer. Some of that Duran Duran fan fiction was kind of racy. Sex always seems to make its way into my stories regardless of what genre I’m writing, or at the very least, I allude to some element of romance (good, bad, or fatal). I’d like to write more erotica, but honestly, there will still be monsters in those stories.

 

Give a piece of one sentence advice for women wanting to write dark fiction.

 

Don’t be afraid to share your darkness with the world and speak your truth because someone out there needs to know there is someone else going through similar experiences.

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

Michelle Renee Lane writes dark speculative fiction about identity politics and women of color battling their inner demons while falling in love with monsters. Her work includes elements of fantasy, horror, romance, and erotica. Her short fiction appears in the anthologies Terror Politico: A Screaming World in Chaos, The Monstrous Feminine: Dark Tales of Dangerous Women, The Dystopian States of America, Graveyard Smash, Dead Awake and Midnight & Indigo: Twenty-Two Speculative Stories by Black Women Writers, and has been featured on The Wicked Library podcast. Her Bram Stoker Award nominated debut novel, Invisible Chains (2019), is available from Haverhill House Publishing.

 

Follow Michelle’s blog, Girl Meets Monster, at michellerlane.com/.

Mocha Pennington

How long have you been writing?

 

The cliché answer is my honest answer. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Even when I was too young to know how to write, I would draw pictures around a story in my head, or at least that’s what my mother says.

 

What have been your experiences in the horror community as a woman?

 

My experiences have been positive for the most part. I have received a few cheeky replies from male writers who I reached out to asking for advice or expressing my admiration for their work. But for the most part, people in the writing community have been encouraging and supportive, in my experience, anyway.

 

2020 left everyone feeling pushed to their limit. How are you finding the creative process this year?

 

Fortunately, my creative process hasn’t been affected by the chaos that was 2020. I did have to push back my story’s timeframe a year, as the events of 2020 wouldn’t have worked out with my story. I have heard of people feeling both discouraged and deeply inspired by 2020. I’m very interested to read books that were written in 2020, I’m curious to see if the authors will include social distancing and masks in their stories.  

 

We truly believe in intention setting. What is your dream for 2021?

 

I definitely have my mind set on finishing the novel I’ve been working on. I want to have more short stories submitted as well. It would also be amazing to network with more writers in the horror community. Talking to other writers about our w

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

 

I want to see more writers and main characters who are POC. I want to see trans characters who aren’t meant for comic relief or to be fetishized, trans characters who have depth and are more than just trans. 

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

 

After reading Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, I have my sights set on writing a dark fantasy novel at some point. They have elements of horror, which I’m comfortable with, but they also build different worlds, dimensions and beings.

 

Give a piece of one sentence advice for women wanting to write dark fiction.

 

Never, ever give up!

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

Mocha Pennington studied journalism with a minor in creative writing at UCM. Her short story, “Cedar Road”, was featured in Secret Stairs, which saw #1 on Amazon in the horror anthology category. She separates her time writing her first novel and co-hosting Tea Time, a gossip channel on YouTube.

Paula RC Readman

How long have you been writing?

 

I started writing to be published at 39 years old. A personal challenge to myself to see if it was possible to learn from books as I figured people in third world counties learnt mainly this way as courses are expensive. I worked full-time in low paying jobs with no spare time or money. The books were second-hand and bought off EBay.  I decided to be a writing CV and started with short stories to learn the skills need to write a novel. The first story I had published was a ghost story, St Hilda’s Embrace published by English Heritage in their anthology Whitby Pure Inspiration. It was one of fifty stories selected in a competition. 

 

What have been your experiences in the horror community as a woman?

 

My writing experiences with horror haven’t been any different from any other genre. Though I’ve found writing romance more difficult, and have had my work rejected more often which is why I gave up trying to write it. I now focused mainly on horror and other dark writing. I guess I have a dark soul. 

 

2020 left everyone feeling pushed to their limit. How are you finding the creative process this year?

 

Strangely enough 2020 has been my best year ever. I have my first three books published this year, my novella The Funeral Birds, a single collection Days Pass like a Shadow, and a Crime novel Stone Angel along with some short stories.

 

We truly believe in intention setting. What is your dream for 2021?

 

Well, my goal posts have moved and I’m now looking to write a bestseller. Though I’m not sure I can do that in 2021, but I shall give it my best shot.  All I can do is keep writing and moving forward. I want to improve my editing skills and tightening my writing too.

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

 

This is a difficult question for me to answer. I’m always sure that every subject has been covered by Horror writers past and present.  When I’m writing I tried to think outside the box. So until I sit down and start writing I’m never sure what it will be about. 

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

 

In the length of time I’ve been writing, I’ve tried my hand at as many different genres I could as I didn’t want to be pigeonhole into one type of writing. Once I knew what I was comfortable writing I’ve focused on that one. My type of writing lends itself to murders, mysteries and mayhems so I tend to write those sorts of stories.

 

 

Give a piece of advice in one sentence for women wanting to write dark fiction.

 

Always think outside the box and never go with your first idea, as that will be the first idea other writers will have had too.  

 

 

 

Paula R C Readman’s bio:

 

 

Paula R C Readman is married, has a son and lives in Essex, England, with two cats. After leaving school with no qualifications, she worked mainly in low paying jobs.  In 1998, with no understanding of English grammar, she decided to beat her dyslexia, by setting herself a challenge to become a published author and taught herself ‘How to Write’ from books her husband purchased from eBay.  After making the 250th purchase, Russell told her ‘just to get on with the writing’.  Since 2010 she has been published in anthologies in Britain, Australia and America and won several writing competitions. In 2020 she had her first crime novella The Funeral Birds published by Demain Publishing, a single collection of short stories Days Pass Like A Shadow published by Bridge House Publishing. Her first crime novel Stone Angles was published by Darkstroke.

Blog: https://paularcreadmanauthor.blog

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