Friday, February 13, 2015

MMP Celebrates Women in Horror Month: Amy Braun

Mocha Memoirs Press has long since celebrated and embraced diversity in speculative fiction. Join us as we spotlight our talented female horror authors throughout the month of February. Follow us on twitter @mochamemoirs to get daily tweets and more.

Amy Braun (@amybraunauthor) brings fresh, fantastic horror to the table at MMP. We love her works so much, we've published her twice, with a third story coming in Avast, Ye Airships!

Whenever I tell someone I write horror, they give me funny looks. “Really?” they say, “you don’t look like you’d be into that kind of thing.” Vampires, witches, werewolves, zombies, demons, blood, guts, and brain matter– Not everyone’s cup of tea to be sure. But I love it. I have since I was a kid, reading the Goosebump books by R. L. Stine and Choose Your Fate stories, reading fast paced adventures where the main character (or you) would be chased by all kinds of nasties. How could I not love something that made my blood pound and roused my curiosity about what bumps in the night?

But when people look at me, they see a short brunette with innocent eyes and a welcoming smile. I’m one of the last women you might expect to write horror fanatically, and yet when people read my award winning short story Dark Intentions And Blood, they’re stunned at the madness I can unleash. That’s why I’m so proud to be a female horror author. No one suspects us, because it’s not a genre women typically favor. I don’t know why­– horror is simply so much fun to write. Building the suspense as your character enters the haunted house and knowing they won’t escape unscathed. Creating a demon straight from the pits of Hell and unleashing it on the fools who summoned it. Or, in the case of my Mocha Memoir short stories, resurrecting the ghost of a crazed assassin and struggling to contain him again, or searching desperately for your missing fiancĂ©e only to find a hotel with more secrets than answers.

Another reason I chose to write horror was because there are so many ways to do it. Call From The Grave was a story I wrote that holds a fairly quick pace near the end, focusing on the main character’s burdens as she endures servitude she didn’t want. Fast paced horror is the kind I do best, since I tend to enjoy horror stories with an explosive ending. That being said, there’s nothing quite like subtle horror. With my second Mocha Memoir short story, Hotel Hell, I aimed for a less life-or-death battles and concentrated on unnerving the reader. I wanted to place them in that hotel, and send shivers up their spine. Granted things got a little insane at the end (I have to be me), but there were no exploding body parts or decapitations or anything truly abrupt or disgusting. The idea was to disturb, and I must have done something right, because I even creeped myself out.

Many of my role models in horror are male. Everyone from Stephen King and Scott Sigler to lesser-known names like David Moody and Alexander Gordon Smith has given me inspiration to continue writing horror. But one can’t forget that a woman created Frankenstein’s monster, one of the most infamous monsters of all time. I have the feeling that no one suspected she was capable of creating such an iconic creature, or that the story would stick with us almost a century after it was written. That’s why I love coming across horror written by women. They surprise you when you least expect it, and aren’t afraid to push the boundaries of their beloved genre. There are women out there like me, who prefer their vampires bloodthirsty and ravenous instead of whiny and disco-balled. We want our werewolves to be savage creatures that lose control at the slightest provocation. We like our haunted houses to be filled with corpses, ghosts, and death-traps.

No one will ever suspect me for writing a violent, twisted genre. That’s why when they tell me so, I smile and simply say, “I know. That’s why I do it.” 

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