The Women of Horror Literature - Nikki Hopeman - The Author's Own Words

Nikki Hopeman, The Final Girl...unless faced with Hannibal Lecter.
Nikki Hopeman is a really talented horror writer who delves in mystery and urban fantasy as well. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BS in Microbiology, but she also carries a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She has served as a judge in national writing competitions and is available for individual or group instruction. Just check out her website for more info: You can also check out her Facebook page.

I think her combination of education really gives wonderful credence to her novel Habeas Corpse from Blood Bound Books.  This novel is a very clever and compelling look at zombies, who live and work alongside us, though they aren't always treated well. In this novel, a series of strange murders lead Theo, a forensic technician who's also a Riser, to use his dark gifts to find the murderer. But those gifts come at a horrible price. Plus, Nikki has a cat and three corgis! How can you go wrong?

Q1. Where does your fascination, passion, and/or love for horror come from, and what sent you on the path to become an author in the horror genre? 

First of all, thanks for having me for this interview. Women in Horror Month is a great thing and I always learn about more talented women writers. I’m looking forward to new names!

I think my interest in the horror genre has been a natural progression from a childhood as an only child with a vivid imagination and a father who loved true crime. I started out writing as a mystery author, but when my stories kept getting darker and darker, my writing mentor, Scott Johnson, gently suggested I just go with it and write horror. And go with it I did.

Q2. What type of horror is your favorite and why? Do you write a lot of it, or do you write in various subgenres, such as romantic horror, bizarro, splatterpunk, supernatural, science fiction, etc.?

Horror based in realism is my favorite subgenre. Think Jack Ketchum, Thomas Harris, Brett Easton Ellis, and Stephen King with Misery. True terror, for me, lies in exploring what humans are capable of doing to one another. However, I write any kind of horror. Habeas Corpse is supernatural, with a psychic zombie, and my short story “Black Bird” is based on a Middle Eastern myth. 

Q3. What is your opinion on women in the horror genre? Do you think WiHM is necessary and helpful, or can it create a rift by singling out one type of writer?

Women’s voices are important in the horror genre. Women see the world, and all the horrors, slightly differently than men, and that shift in perspective can offer readers something distinct. Having experienced the misogyny endemic to a genre historically dominated by men, I think WiHM is necessary and helpful. Influencers in the genre can do a lot to help turn around some of the misogyny by simply supporting the women writing horror. 

Q4. What do you think the future will be within the horror genre, both in general and specific to women? Do you think WiHM will help with that future? 

The horror genre will never go away. People have always and will always experience fear, and reading, writing, and watching horror is a way to process that emotion. Given the current political climate around the world, I won’t be surprised to see more horror fiction centered on international discord and civil strife. Despite my few personal experiences, I think women’s presence in horror is being welcomed more and we will certainly offer a strong point of view in any fiction dealing with inequality or marginalization. Some of the most kick-ass protagonists out there are women, like Chuck Wendig’s Miriam Black and, naturally, Ellen Ripley. 

Q5. Are there any women in the horror entertainment area that you have looked to for guidance? Including authors, actresses, screenwriters, directors, wherever you find inspiration!

Absolutely there are women in horror entertainment who inspire me. Anne Rice is a giant. I love the work of Tana French, Sarah Pinborough, and Gillian Flynn. Annie Wilkes is such a great character, a study in contrasts. One of my favorite horror movies is Saw, and I had the opportunity to meet Shawnee Smith. You know she doesn’t like scary movies? Closer to home, there are people in my writing circle who inspire me daily. Lucy Snyder, Kristin Dearborn, Stephanie Wytovich, and Sarah Read keep me motivated and proud to be a horror writer.

Q6. Do you have a favorite female character in the horror genre, and what about this character do you identify with? 

Do I have a favorite female character in the horror genre… I’d have to say Dana Scully, although I know there is some argument over whether The X-Files is horror or not. I have a science background, like Dana, and I’m a huge skeptic. I feel like she and I could have a good time rolling our eyes at pseudoscience. 

Q7. Just for fun: are you a token victim, the best friend who might dies, or a final girl?

Depends on the scenario. Anything supernatural, I’m the final girl, because of the skeptic in me. If Hannibal Lecter came after me, though, I’d be the one weeping in a closet.