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An Interview with Lou Yardley - Women in Horror Month

Lou is a British horror author who wrote her first novel during NaNoWriMo. She was kind enough to talk to me about her work and WiHM.

How would you describe your brand of horror?

A bit gory, a bit humorous, monsters everywhere and lashings of blood. I’m a big fan of monsters whether they’re demons (“The Deal Maker”), werewolves (“Hellhound”), or ‘WTFs?’ (“When The Sun Sets”).

Why do you write horror? I think it’s just how my head is wired. I love it. It’s the perfect escape from real life.

Who, in the horror genre, inspires you? How long have you got? Pretty much everything I read inspires me in some way, but some of the big hitters are Shaun Hutson, James Herbert, Stephen King, Ania Ahlborn, Brian Lumley, Richard Laymon, S.E England, P.J Blakey-Novis, D.J. Doyle, Toneye Eyenot, Graham Masterton, William Peter Blatty (for “The Exorcist”), Bram Stoker (for “Dracula”) and Mary Shelley (for “Frankenstein”).

What’s the favourite comment you’ve received in a review? This from M. Grant Kellermeyer at Old Style Tales about “Hellhound”:

“Horror writers often excel at creating eerie atmosphere, summoning terror, or what Stephen King called “the gross-out,” and while Yardley is gifted in all three respects, her work has something else that many supernatural novels lack: the ability to write a good story.”

Which works by female film-makers and/or authors will you be reading/watching this February? I’ve already read “The Luminous Dead” by Caitlin Starling this month (it’s fantastic, by the way!). I’m currently re-reading “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley and I’m planning on giving “Dirges in the Dark” by Ann Fox a read next. I’ve got the Slasher House films stacked up to watch for some low budget, indie horror fun. The first one stars Eleanor James as Red and then I’m going to give the Soska sisters’ version of “Rabid” another watch. I know there’s a lot of love for the original out there, but I really enjoy their take on it too.

Who is your favourite woman in horror? That’s a really tough one! It’s really hard to pick just one. From a writing point of view, I think S.E. England.

Why do you think women are attracted to the horror genre? Why is anyone? I think we’re all a little twisted and it’s wonderful! Would you be a villain, victim or hero in a horror story? Villain! Ever since I was little I loved the baddies. Who is your favourite female villain? Does Annabelle from “Annabelle” count? I don’t know if the demon thingy-majig that’s lurking within her is male or female (or if it even has a gender - who knows?), but I love the idea of evil toys. Thinking along those lines, I’d also like to chuck in Tiffany (in doll form) from the Chucky franchise. I’ve also got a fondness for Pamela Voorhees. She’s a little (a lot) unhinged, but those kids did let Jason drown in that lake sooo…

What’s your least favourite horror trope? Probably when the character is trying to run away from the killer/monster and they trip over so that the killer/monster can catch up. I think I dislike it because that absolutely would happen to me in that situation.

Do you believe in the supernatural? That depends… in the daylight hours? No. At night when I’m alone and I hear a strange noise? Hell yeah!

Monsters and Horror Heroes. Who would you snog, kill and marry? Dracula for all of the above. I’m pretty sure that Gary Oldman as Dracula was one of my first crushes. Also, ol’ Drac’s a Count, right? So, I’d marry him, accidentally expose him to sunlight and then claim his castle and riches as my own.

What apocalyptic event will you survive and how? Killer clown invasion... it's definitely going to happen... I’m ordering my clown suit on Amazon Prime right now… Other than that, Monday mornings tend to be pretty apocalyptic. Coffee helps.

Tell us briefly about your work in progress. I’ve just finished a story called “Darkened Wings Flutter” (it’s currently being edited). It’s set in a fictional town called Crow’s Foot Hollow where a young boy ends up disappearing. The story follows what happens to that boy and gives us a happy reminder that those around us are not always what they seem. In short, it’s got monsters, moths, gore, and creepy kids. It was a lot of fun to write.

Share the opening of one of the stories you’ve had published.

Here’s the opening of “Hellhound”: Warmth spread across the child's back. Sunlight poured down, so bright it was near blinding, but the boy didn’t notice, his attentions were elsewhere. Drawn to the shadows, the child's eyes flickered this way and that, eager to find something hidden just out of sight. + Are you afraid? + At first, the voices startled him. But fear soon gave way to curiosity. ‘No.’ he said, his voice bold and in complete contrast with the tiny, almost sickly, body it emerged from. + Then step into the forest. + Ten-year-old Daniel obeyed the voices happily, following the shadows deep into the dark forest that backed onto his home. Excitement covered his face and he smiled so much he thought his cheeks might split. His parents’ dried blood felt tight and cracked on his skin. Daniel had no need to be afraid; there were no monsters out to get him. He picked up his pace and started to skip. Birds sang above him, and his cape fluttered behind him. The cape was made from a portion of his father's back, his skin still smelt familiar. Bloodied and insane, Daniel skipped into his destiny. + Om grutt + the voices chanted, thrilled to have such a young protege. + Om grutt +

What three pieces of advice would you offer anyone wanting to create horror? 1. Write what you love no matter how ridiculous it may seem. 2. Write the kind of thing that you would want to read. Ignore trends. 3. Listen out for strange noises. That thing you heard wasn’t just the cat… it’s never just the cat!

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