February 2014 is the fifth annual Women in Horror Month (WiHM), an initiative designed to celebrate the achievements of women in all aspects of the horror genre, including music, film, and literature. Many of the women who create works in the genre are from here in the Bay Area, like the prolific and talented novelist Emerian Rich.
“Women in Horror Month is awesome because women who write horror are rarely celebrated," says Rich. "It's kind of a men's world that we write in. We need all the exposure we can get. Us evil-minded women need to stick together.”
Rich, a long-time Bay Area resident, and graduate of San Francisco’s Fashion Institute, is author of Knight’s Nights, Artistic License, and other titles in the horror and romance genres. She has been involved in the literary horror scene for close to twenty years, and established Dark Lives magazine in 1997. The magazine went out of publication in 2007, but she has continued her mission of support for other writers as the Horror Hostess for the regular podcasts produced by HorrorAddicts.net, a very popular online horror magazine.
“The Bay Area has a lot of offer writers in form of conventions, events, and meet-ups, but sometimes it's difficult to find people who write the same sort of genre you do,” says Rich. “At meetups, I often meet non-fiction or Science Fiction writers. The biggest congregation of horror writers I can find is online. I'd love to find something in this area where horror is the mainstay.”
As a woman writing in a genre that remains male dominated, Rich feels an obligation to her reading public to depict female characters that are not merely victims, but are invested with the strength to overcome the adversity they face, adversity that is such an earmark of the horror genre.
“I try to show strong women in my work. Sometimes my women have been beaten down or abused or even killed, but they always struggle to get back up and make things right," said Rich. "It's important to teach the next generation out there to stick up for themselves and fiction is a great way to influence them. I want my readers to feel empowered by my work. I want them to finish the books and say, 'Hey, I might be down right now, but I'm not out. Just watch me come back and fight. I will prevail!' ”