The Women of Horror Literature - Monique Bos - The Author's Own Words
|Monique Bos, aka Tatum in Scream per her peers.|
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?
I've wanted to be an author since I could conceive of wanting to be anything. My fascination with horror probably stems at least in part from growing up evangelical Christian during the Satanic panic; everyone I knew believed in demons, occult forces, and curses as real factors that permeated our community and affected our lives in unknown ways. The dual fear and fascination with the so-called dark side were always present, and eventually, due to other factors in my life, the intrigue grew stronger for me than the aversion. Horror provided me with a way to rebel, a template to explore my fears, and ultimately a world where I didn’t need to be terrified because I could co-opt the monsters.
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.?
My favorite horror is the quiet kind that sneaks up on you – you don’t even realize you’re scared, then you put the book away and turn out the lights and suddenly can’t breathe in the darkness.
Most of my stories have a supernatural element, but I’m also interested in how people interact with that and with each other, how their relationships are altered when their perception of reality is challenged. My goal is often to craft an evocative, spooky feel – giving the reader enough information to fill in the blanks, but also leaving blanks for them to fill in.
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?
I think that in mainstream horror, women writers have mostly been relegated to paranormal romance and maybe a little sex-heavy splatterpunk. I would love to see more creepy, well-written horror stories by women.
WiHM probably helps raise the profile of women and also creates a rift – it’s never just one thing or another, is it? Ideally, the publishing industry (and marketing and bookstores and reviewers and readers) would be gender-neutral and color-blind, but that isn’t reality, so I do think that women – and writers from other underrepresented groups – need more of a boost. To me, WiHM and similar efforts aren’t about elevating subpar work based on the author’s identity; they’re about highlighting quality work that isn’t receiving the recognition it deserves due to cultural and political factors. Okay, I will get off my soapbox now.
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?
I could never have predicted the zombie craze, so I’m leery about speculating! I also think horror has been diluted and changed almost beyond recognition over the past few decades; as a culture, we’re now less interested in monsters that scare us than in monsters we can love, tame, fuck, save, and/or become. So I’m not sure where that trend will take us.
If WiHM can open space for more women's voices and create more options within the broad umbrella of horror, that would be fantastic.
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!
Shirley Jackson is brilliant at quiet horror.
Q6. Do you have a favorite female character in the horror genre, and what about this character do you identify with?
I adore Morticia Addams because she’s classy, sexy, loyal, loving, clever, and quirky. I’m also a fan of Merrily Watkins, the main character in Phil Rickman’s supernatural mysteries. She’s a Church of England vicar and diocesan exorcist who often has more doubts than faith, is flummoxed by church politics, and has a genuinely kind soul. His books take place on the English-Welsh border, which he depicts as a liminal space not only geographically but also mystically and spiritually. (And yes, I’m aware of the irony that both of my favorite female characters are the creations of men.)
Q7. Just for fun: are you a token victim, the best friend who might dies, or a final girl?
I was convinced I would be the final girl, because I’m not stupid enough to go running off into the woods alone when there’s a killer on the loose, and my vices aren’t the kind that usually prove fatal in horror movies. But I asked a friend, and she said, “Oh, no. You’re Tatum in Scream.” So…there you go.