Last week, I had an online chat/interview with fellow horror and speculative fiction writer, Penny Jones.
We talked about why we write creepy stories; the issues women face when writing the horror genre; and the things modern horror can tell us about society and people today.
With massive thanks to Jim Mcleod at Ginger Nuts of Horror for publishing our thoughts.
I’ve known Penny personally for a couple of years, and I adore her as much as her writing. She welcomed me into a writing group in the U.K., and made me feel immediately at ease. She has shared her knowledge and experiences openly and without agenda. At the group, I felt like an outsider and a fraud. I didn’t feel like a “proper” writer. Penny made me realise that even the most established authors can feel like that sometimes. She’s a brutal editor, and won’t shy away from being honest, but that’s important. She also seems to do it in such a nice way, that you really don’t mind if she tells you to kill your darlings. I’m always going to be grateful to her for her support.
Also her short stories are wonderfully well crafted. Do check her out.
As a writer, I realise now just how important it is to find like-minded people who know how it feels when you immerse yourself in your craft. People who really “get” you, and who will support you, criticise you (hopefully, objectively!), and encourage you. It’s not just about networking or trying to get your stuff out there, its about building a team and learning from one another.
A good writer is an avid reader, and I thoroughly enjoy reading the work of people I know. It gives me such great depth and insight into their character, and what makes them tick. For me, writing and reading are all about exploration. I’m still a rookie. I have a lot to learn. I hope, even when I’ve been doing this for twenty years or more – which I fully intend to be – I’ll still be learning as much as I can from my friends and fellow authors, and helping other newcomers myself.