What was it that attracted you to the Slice Girls anthology?
The word “feminazi” attracted me! It’s usually used as a pejorative, so it was interesting to see it used in a creative sense.
How did you feel writing a story about a violent woman?
I’m probably not the only female writer to say that giving a fictional woman aggressive physical power is very liberating! There’s a carthatic effect to it, plus a general sense that you’re bringing a certain balance into the creative sphere, where female characters often either need rescuing or sex from a man, and have little physical presence beyond that.
Please give the readers a brief summary of the story you wrote for the collection.
I’m from Southeast Asia, where the illegal sex trade, especially among paedophile sex tourists, is a huge issue. Lilies of the Field is a retelling of the legend of the Furies as applied to the trade. The Furies are reimagined as immortal creatures of vengeance, stalking paedophiles by baiting them into their bar, the Lilies-of-the-Field (named after a Bible verse), where they then butcher and eat them. However their victims are not random; like the traditional Furies, they must be summoned into action by a vengeful soul, in this case the victim’s wife.
How do you feel about the way women are usually portrayed in horror?
In traditional horror women tend to fall into two main categories - the damsel in distress, and the evil temptress. Princess vs Succubi, for the most part. In more sophisticated horror, however (Stephen King, Neil Gaiman), you find much more complex characters.
Do you think the way female characters are portrayed in horror reflects the way society views women?
Yes, absolutely! Like all creative fields, the portrayal of women is reflected by the general attitude towards women at any given time. For example in Victorian gothic horror, a ‘fallen’ woman is expected to go mad from sexual disgrace and throw herself off a handy cliff, and thereafter haunt the place somewhat helplessly. Women also tend to be tied in to their most common role, i,e the mother, as if that’s all we’re good for. A lot of female ghouls and ghosties become that way because of a child - they killed one, lost one, had one taken from them, or had one out of wedlock, as if these are the only reasons a woman might get angry enough to haunt someone!
Have any of your other stories been published? If so tell us about them and where readers can find them.
Yes! I’ve published a novella called The Messiah Virus; a comic book called The Once and Marvellous DKD; and a short story in the anthology Not Just a Pretty Face: Women of Horror.
What are you writing at the moment?
I’m working on a horror-comedy set in 1890s Singapore, The Adventures of Miss Cassidy. She’s a British governess who comes to Singapore and is forced to confront Southeast Asia’s horrific ghouls and ghosts.
Do you prefer short stories or novels? Which form is more challenging to write?
I like writing novels, but they’re incredibly difficult to edit for publication!
The short story format is fun, but I usually find it hard to limit myself within the word count.
What is your favourite short story by another author?
This is a very hard question!
It’s probably Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King. I’ve read it many times. Most people think of Stephen King as a horror writer primarily, but he’s master of short stories and novellas.
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is probably the best short story collection out there. I also love a recent work, Modern Myths, by Singapore author Clara Chow.
Bio: I’m a sci-fi and comic book writer from Singapore, and have been published by various small presses including Math Paper Press, Deadlight and Fairlight UK.