Monday, February 19, 2018

Interview with Lisa Morton, President of the HWA

Another quality post brought to you by Steve!

Happy Presidents Day, everybody!  For those of you who don't know, February is Women in Horror Month.  You can stop by my personal blog, Manuscripts Burn, to see about a dozen great interviews.  But I thought I'd like to share this celebration with my ATB family as well.  So as a very special Presidents Day treat, I bring you the president of the Horror Writers Association, the very talented Lisa Morton!

About Lisa Morton:

Credit: Seth Ryan

Lisa Morton is a screenwriter, author of non-fiction books, and award-winning prose writer whose work was described by the American Library Association’s Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror as “consistently dark, unsettling, and frightening”.  She is the author of four novels and more than 130 short stories, a six-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award®, and a world-class Halloween expert who has been interviewed by "The Wall Street Journal," "Real Simple Magazine," and The History Channel (for "The Real Story of Halloween.") She co-edited (with Ellen Datlow) the anthology HAUNTED NIGHTS, which received a starred review in "Publishers Weekly;" other recent releases include GHOSTS: A HAUNTED HISTORY and the collection THE SAMHANACH AND OTHER HALLOWEEN TREATS. Lisa lives in the San Fernando Valley and online at

You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.


SK: How are you involved in the world of horror?

LM:  I'm an author of both fiction and non-fiction, I'm a Halloween expert, I'm a reader and fan, and I currently serve as President of the Horror Writers Association.

SK: Who or what terrifies you?

LM:  The looming possibility of spending my old age lost in dementia. I've taken care of my mom for a long time, and dealing with her dementia has been terrifying. I spent almost three years as her live-in caregiver, and there were nights when I'd awake to find her standing over my bed in the dark, so when I say "terrifying", I'm not kidding!

SK: Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?

There are unique challenges to being a woman in EVERYTHING. The only extra problem with horror is that we are working in a genre that has often been identified in the past with rape and torture of women, but fortunately I think we've moved largely beyond that, due in no small part to how many excellent women writers have come onto the horror scene in the last few years.

SK: Who are your favorite female horror icons?

Mary Shelley, of course - isn't it mindblowing to think that she wrote FRANKENSTEIN as a teenager?  Shirley Jackson, who wrote what many of us consider to be the finest opening passage of any horror novel ever (for THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE). (SK:  This is a legendary passage in horror circles, well worth quoting here:  "No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more.")  And Ann Radcliffe, who really established the genre of Gothic literature and whose books have been continuously in print for over two centuries.

SK: What are you working on/promoting currently? Why should folks check it out?

LM:  Right now I'm waiting for contracts on two different books to come through - one an anthology of classic ghost stories, the other a coffee table art book - so I suspect those projects will eat up most of my 2018. From 2017...I'm still reeling from the success of 
HAUNTED NIGHTS, an anthology of horror-themed original short stories that I had the pleasure of co-editing with Ellen Datlow for the Horror Writers Association. The book received raves from "Publishers Weekly," "Locus," "Rue Morgue"...well, pretty much everyone! It was a really a dream project for me.



Sixteen never-before-published chilling tales that explore every aspect of our darkest holiday, Halloween, co-edited by Ellen Datlow, one of the most successful and respected genre editors, and Lisa Morton, a leading authority on Halloween.

In addition to stories about scheming jack-o'-lanterns, vengeful ghosts, otherworldly changelings, disturbingly realistic haunted attractions, masks that cover terrifying faces, murderous urban legends, parties gone bad, cult Halloween movies, and trick or treating in the future, Haunted Nights also offers terrifying and mind-bending explorations of related holidays like All Souls' Day, Dia de los Muertos, and Devil's Night. 

-With Graveyard Weeds and Wolfbane Seeds- by Seanan McGuire
-Dirtmouth- by Stephen Graham Jones-
-A Small Taste of the Old Countr- by Jonathan Maberry
-Wick's End- by Joanna Parypinski
-The Seventeen Year Itch- by Garth Nix
-A Flicker of Light on Devil's Night- by Kate Jonez
-Witch-Hazel- by Jeffrey Ford
-Nos Galen Gaeaf- by Kelley Armstrong
-We're Never Inviting Amber Again- by S. P. Miskowski
-Sisters- by Brian Evenson
-All Through the Night- by Elise Forier Edie
-A Kingdom of Sugar Skulls and Marigolds- by Eric J. Guignard
-The Turn- by Paul Kane
-Jack- by Pat Cadigan
-Lost in the Dark- by John Langan
-The First Lunar Halloween- by John R. Little


Cheryl Oreglia said...

Love this post Stephen! Bravo Lisa Morton for your many creative horror accomplishments! I’m intrigued to get my hands on some of your work, to be read in the light of day of course, because I’m not a fan of things that go bump in the night! Childhood trama I’m sure. Thanks Stephen for exposing us to a littke horror By Lisa Morton!

Carrie Beckort said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lisa! Like Cheryl, I'm not much of a horror reader these days, but I'll have to check out some of your work.

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