OUCH! Change Hurts!
Ann: As an insider in the horror genre, how do you define horror?
Sumiko: Horror is simply writing intended to frighten the reader and tap into some deep and primal instinct of fear. Reading, and for that matter, writing horror is kind of like riding a roller coaster; it’s an adrenaline rush. Many horror writers, like Edgar Allan Poe and me are also exorcising personal demons with our writing. …
Ann: What are some of the misconceptions about the horror genre that you encounter?
Sumiko: Very frequently women will tell me “Oh, I don’t read horror” … out the gender bias is strong, especially for women. People have the tendency to think writing or reading horror is unladylike or undignified and so a lot of women want to disassociate from the genre; it’s just not something “nice girls” do.
… Horror often allows the writer to process the terrible things that can happen while touching on some of the bigger questions, such as in Shelley’s case: whether or not we should be attempting to create new life from the dead.
Ann: What value does horror writing add to the literary landscape?
Sumiko: Horror, like all speculative fiction, allows the writer to explore subjects that the reader might be uncomfortable confronting head on … By creating some distance between the world we live in, both horror and science fiction allow us to examine these questions without having things hit too close to home.
Ann: What are some trends in the horror genre?
Sumiko: Paranormal romance has become extremely popular lately … The identification of the work as a part of the horror genre has to do with the presence of real threats, real danger, and generally real harm occurring to characters within the stories. Where there is no risk, there is no horror, because there is no danger to be terrified of.