Wicked Women, the latest anthology from New England Horror Writers, just dropped. This one was a ladies-only anthology. It was edited by Scott Goudsward and Trisha Wooldridge, and features a cover by the super cool Lynne Hansen. I thought it would be fun to do a sort of author blog hop and learn more about the stories and contributors.
In the hot seat today is Jennifer Williams, author of The Monsters We Become.
Ok, who are you?
Jennifer Williams is an author and editor from Salem, Massachusetts. Prior to the pandemic she volunteered at a local queer youth center and spent her Sundays practicing Krav Maga. Now she mostly hangs out with her cats. She occasionally does editorial work for Circlet Press. Her work can be found in Grim Magazine, various small press anthologies, and on the Anatomy Of A Scream blog.
What is your story about?
The Monsters We Become is ultimately about family and generational trauma and the ways that we pass these things down to our children. It’s about mothers and daughters and love and the ways in which a lack of love can shape us. I wanted to use the lens of the supernatural to explore childhood mythology and the psychology of monstrousness.
What inspired your story?
This is a difficult question to answer. My stories are often a patchwork of different things. The DNA of this story comes from my own family, though the events of the story are entirely fictional. I was also inspired by girlhood magic, which I think is often overlooked in mainstream media. Lots of young girls and women are very imaginative and concoct stories and rituals that help them cope with their lives and emotions. It’s a way for us to exert control in a world where we often don’t feel we have control. And lastly I was inspired by forests. Forests are beautiful places but they’re also deadly places. Many of the wooded spaces we walk through have seen violence of some sort at some point and I wanted to play with that darker side of beauty.
What drew you to writing?
I’ve written for as long as I can remember. I was always drawn to books and come from a family of readers.
Who are your favorite authors?
Currently I’m very enamored with Courtney Summers, Stephen Graham Jones, Chuck Wendig, Max Brooks, Gwendoline Kiste, Scott Smith, and Rebecca Roanhorse.
Ok, it’s 2020. What guilty pleasures are helping you cope?
Honestly? My life is actually a little busier now than it was before the pandemic. So I haven’t had time for any new hobbies or anything like that. And I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. Pleasure is a good and necessary thing. But if I had to pick one thing that might make people side eye me it would be that I write smutty fanfic. And, no. I don’t feel guilty about it one bit.
What’s your favorite line or snippet from your Wicked Women story?
The last two lines. Which I won’t share here for obvious reasons.
What are you currently obsessed with?
The Project by Courtney Summers. I was lucky enough to win an advance reader’s copy and I can barely put it down.
What are your writing mantras, rules, and/or rituals?
I struggle with some serious mental health issues so I think the biggest thing for me is forgiveness and compassion. Reminding myself that the “right” way to be a writer for me is MY way. And if that means only seeing one publication a year then so be it. I don’t do any of that “you must write everyday” stuff, and the whole “write even when you’re not inspired” is slightly ableist. To a degree that can be useful advice but it can also make you feel worse if you struggle with things like getting out of bed, showering, and eating. So I take it slow. I gauge my mood. I try to stay very in tune with how I’m feeling. Accountability helps. One of the things I did once the pandemic started was to organize an online writing group with my Circlet Press friends. That helps. It creates structure and a social aspect of connectivity. But mostly it’s important to not judge yourself too harshly. Even the tortoise wins sometimes.
I don’t know if it really counts as a quote but I love Edward Gorey’s “Books, Cats, Life is sweet”. Throw in a good cup of coffee and that’s my ideal life in a nutshell.
Where can people find you?