What influenced me to feminize horror

The idea to start Parisian Phoenix Publishing came as a fake publisher on a design project Gayle Hendricks, our art director, did for the faculty art show at school. She thought it’d be cool to design a box set for the chick lit/horror novels that I was pitching to New York City agents at the time. She needed a publisher, so she invented one.

I thought, amidst my pandemic angst, I would publish my novels as a way to preserve them in an age where technology rapidly changes and computer files corrupt. Somehow, it snowballed.

My self publishing project became a vanity press as I enlisted the help of friends. That vanity press became a real publisher as we covered more genres and solicited submissions from the outside world for our nonfiction anthology.

But I haven’t addressed why my Fashion and Fiends series mixes elements of “chick lit” with horror fiction, creating a dark paranormal/urban fantasy work with humor and romance and even some critical theory.

That’s what happens when you are inspired by STYLE with Elsa Klensch— a sample of which can be seen here— but cut your teeth on Harlequin romances and Stephen King paperbacks.

You write the books you want to read. And I thought I couldn’t possibly be the only woman in the world who devoured Anne Rice novels (at least until Memnoch), admired a good love story, and yet wanted some glamour and fashionista status.

I loved the humor and the humanity in books like The Devil Wears Prada and saw Bridget Jones’ Diary more times than I can count.

But, to me, horror, as a genre, signifies the scary and the “evil” in all of us. That vampire is an addict. That werewolf, merely a creature with unchecked rage and a capacity for violence. Why is a magic spell any different than prayer?

I occasionally popped by William Prystauk’s web site, Crash Palace Productions, which explores all things horror film. In these discussions of films and horror themes, I often asked myself “why do I like horror?” If you want to read some of my work on his site, click here.

How does this relate to my novels? Too much of the romance or chick lit and a work seems insipid. Too much horror and we dip into terror and perhaps depression.

That is why I feminized horror.

Book Three— Recovery— is at the printer and should be out next week.

Published by Angel Ackerman

Writer, Editor, Traveler, Fashionista, Francophile, Student and Mother Publisher at Parisian Phoenix (parisianphoenix.com) Author of the Fashion and Fiends series

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