WOMEN IN HORROR: A Month-Long Look into the Ladies Crafting the Worlds of Fear! Day Thirteen – Trisha Wooldridge!
- What first drew you into the world of horror?
Creepy children’s nursery rhymes and faery tales drew me into horror. I mean, really, take a look at the “classics” we give our kids. The one that stands out, specifically, is “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Caroll. I recently found another collection of “children’s verse,” and it was in that collection, too. You go along reading all the nonsense and then – BAM! – you realize they were plotting to eat a bunch of “child” oysters in school! And they do, in fact, eat them!
2. What film/book/show was the biggest influence on you?
I grew up watching, with my family, Unsolved Mysteries, Sightings, and the like that were all on in the ’90s as part of evening TV. My biggest takeaway from that is that the world is full of horror, untrustworthy people, danger, and mysteries that cannot be solved or explained—but also, that there were people who cared and tried to help. My family also was very open about discussing these things, so a desire to explore and curiosity to delve into things grew from those, too. In the “big picture” of Trisha’s Development, watching shows like that in a family that could discuss the scary parts and supported questions is probably the biggest influence on me as a writer, editor, and person. I feel comfortable exploring the frightening and unknown; I want to explore the frightening and unknown.
3. What actor/director/writer do you consider your biggest influence?
Currently, David Tennant is my biggest influence as an actor, far and away. I discovered him as the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who. In that, he showed me a chaotic character with a lot of ADHD and even bipolar aspects. He was a hero, but he was also terrifying. I remember the sinking feeling of horror at the end of the two-episode Human Nature / Family of Blood plot where you truly see how powerful the Doctor is as a character—and how dark he is in handing out justice. It’s very faery-tale-esque in that the “bad guys” get a punishment as cruel as their crimes.
For directors, Guillermo del Toro is at the top of my list for his handle on Magical Realism and faery tale in his work. He does an amazing job of making the audience wonder what is real and what is not while still delivering a satisfying ending. Storytelling-wise, that is something I value deeply and want to be able to do as a writer.
In writing… that’s the hardest to decide because I’ve read SIGNIFICANTLY more books and authors than I’ve watched television or films. And I specifically follow more authors than I do actors or directors—and every author has a gift to give in their work. In my current writing, I’d probably say Neil Gaiman for how I develop the mythology of worldbuilding. How he created Sandman and American Gods fits very well into my worldview and my writing world view.
4. Who would you consider to be your horror twin?
The closest would be Cat Scully, who I have gotten to know more recently, though I also look up to her for her amazing talent as a writer and an artist. That said, we’re both extroverted introverts, we love creepy kids’ stuff, we straddle dark fantasy and horror, we both overextend ourselves to take care of our friends and family, and we end up reading almost the same Tarot messages for each other: “No, seriously, you’re a fantastic creator. Believe in yourself and do the thing, damnit!”
5. What do you think you would you be doing if you weren’t involved with the horror community?
I’d be creeping out the other fantasy / SF / and children’s writers I know. Probably. And maybe actually making more money as a food and entertainment writer…who is also spooky.
6. Plug some of your past, present, and upcoming projects.
I am super excited about my set of most recent releases, actually! Most of them were written while I was in a very dark place with health issues and were supremely difficult to write.
“The Mass of the Greatest Sin” came out in Wicked Weird this August and has more biographical information that I’d like to admit. (The actual crimes are fiction…I promise!) It’s an exploration of what a lifetime of abuse (particularly for being fat) turns a person into—turns a woman into because of the added expectations and objectification by society. This one hurt to write because I included some of the awful thoughts, fears, and anger that I would rather not have people knowing have visited my mind. But…it has resonated with so many people who’ve read it or heard me read it that I am glad I dared to go as dark as I did.
“American Body Horror” will be out in the HWA Poetry Showcase Volume 6, and is a poetic exploration of some of the similar issues in “The Mass of the Greatest Sin,” but with the scalpel succinctness of a poem.
“At Least the Chickens Are All Right” comes out in The Twisted Book of Shadows by Haverhill House Press at the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Fest. Also quite dark, I describe this as my horror exploration into the destruction of some of the things that I most love, the place I find my sanctuary—the barn where I keep my horse. I can’t really describe it more without spoilers…except to say that I do keep the promise of the title. https://amzn.to/30c69RN
“The Skelly-Horse” is a short piece under my child-friendly persona of T.J. Wooldridge and will come out in New Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark next year. I am especially proud of this one because I grew up loving all the Scary Stories titles. This also comes from my barn and horse-rescue experience, and also without giving any spoilers, I absolutely had Stephen Gammell’s original illustrations in mind when I wrote the descriptions for this one!
7. Where do you like folks to follow you on social media?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NovelFriend and https://www.facebook.com/TrishaJWooldridge
8. Where can folks find your work?
Most of my stuff can be ordered by your favorite local bookstore as well as Amazon.
9. Which horror icon would you most/least like to go up against?
Like, in a fistfight? Er… Most of them? Unless I was on horseback and jousting, then I might have a chance.
10. Any advice for young ladies aspiring to become involved in the horror community?
Submit, submit, submit! Don’t reject yourself before the editors can reject you. Keep sending your work out, keep writing new work, and keep learning about the changing world of publishing as well as honing your writing craft. But, most of all, actually submit your work. Many, many, many publications say they haven’t published female writers because they don’t get submissions from them. Let’s make sure no publication can claim that!
11. Who is on your Horror Mt. Rushmore? This can be actors, writers, directors, characters.
Guillermo del Toro, Shirley Jackson, Neil Gaiman, and Mary Shelley.