WOMEN IN HORROR
Profile: LORI R. LOPEZ
Lori R. Lopez wears many hats as an author, artist, poet, and songwriter. She dips her pen in Speculative Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, Dark and Humorous Verse, and much more. She is an artist, musician, actress, filmmaker, tree-hugger, vegan, and animal-lover. Lori unapologetically takes pride in creatively bending and reshaping the rules of writing when it suits her style.
Her books include THE DARK MISTER SNARK, THE STRANGE TAIL OF ODDZILLA, LEERY LANE, ODDS AND ENDS: A DARK COLLECTION, CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES, THE MACABRE MIND OF LORI R. LOPEZ, AN ILL WIND BLOWS, THE FAIRY FLY, OUT-OF-MIND EXPERIENCES, DANCE OF THE CHUPACABRAS, POETIC REFLECTIONS I and II: KEEP THE HEART OF A CHILD and THE QUEEN OF HATS. ** [see below]
Stories and verse have appeared on Hellnotes, Servante Of Darkness, and Halloween Forevermore; in WEIRDBOOK, THE HORROR ZINE MAGAZINE, THE SIRENS CALL E-Zine, and anthologies such as JOURNALS OF HORROR: FOUND FICTION, DEAD HARVEST, HWA POETRY SHOWCASE VOLUMES II and III, TERROR TRAIN I and II, GREY MATTER MONSTERS: TAKERS OF SOULS, TOYS IN THE ATTIC: A COLLECTION OF EVIL PLAYTHINGS, CELLAR DOOR III: ANIMALS (Editor's Choice Award winner), UNDEAD LEGACY, BONES II, GHOSTS: REVENGE, MIRAGES: TALES FROM AUTHORS OF THE MACABRE, MASTERS OF HORROR: DAMNED IF YOU DON'T, I BELIEVE IN WEREWOLVES, THIRSTY ARE THE DAMNED, and SCARE PACKAGE: 14 TALES OF TERROR. Fifteen of Lori's poems were published for an anthology titled IN DARKNESS WE PLAY.
What does it mean to be a “Woman In Horror”? Well, it means a lot, let me tell you. For a long time I fantasized about being known in Horror. To this day I am working on that, yet I have actually made progress. I’ve loved the genre since I can remember, raptly watching Frankenstein films and other macabre classics like Hitchcock’s The Birds. My first favorite book had monsters: Where The Wild Things Are. I was never a “normal” little girl. I was a Horror Fan. So becoming a “Woman In Horror” — part of this wondrous community of Abnormal Creatives — is a great distinction.
At events, people ask me how long I’ve been at this, seeing a table or two of books on display. The publishing part, since 2008. The writing? We would have to go a lot farther back — to Second and Third Grade. I began writing Poetry, inspired by songs on the radio. Then Prose got its hooks in me as well. I spent a significant portion of my childhood writing, drawing, and of course reading. The librarians knew me; I was a regular. More favorite literature included Lewis Carroll’s Alice masterpieces; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Or The Modern Prometheus; Victor Hugo’s Hunchback Of Notre Dame; Edgar Allan Poe’s Raven; the book series Alfred Hitchcock And The Three Investigators (better than candy). At night I watched television. There were awesome T.V. movies then, like Kolshak: The Night Stalker. A thrilling and defining moment, as The X-Files would later be, and now Stranger Things. On the weekend I rode my bike or walked to the single movie theater in my hometown for a matinee. Creativity, that’s what I thrived on. And I tried to make schoolwork creative whenever possible: adding humor, horror, artwork to reports. I would also perform in skits (some original) or plays; become a drummer in Junior High and High School Band; compete at District and State levels. I was a kid who loved literature, art, acting, and music. Did I mention Horror?
I can’t really say that it’s changed. Except I have two sons to be creative with at times, when we aren’t busy on individual projects. We formed a creative alliance, Fairy Fly Entertainment. The truth is, I need to be creative or my brain will short-circuit. I’ve nearly fried it doing tedious work. Luckily, there’s a built-in safety feature. It may wander, skip off into the clouds.
So at this point in life, I have published . . . Sorry, I must go and count them, it keeps changing. In fact, two print books will be released very soon. For now it appears there are sixteen books in paperback, forty E-books. By the end of 2017, I should have passed twenty print books. There are various ones I was planning to write and illustrate or wrap up in 2015 and 2016. They’ve accumulated.
I did some journalism and songwriting years ago. I have an ongoing nonfiction project titled Herstory. Mostly I like to write novels, short stories, and poems. Often dark or humorous, perhaps both. I recently published two novellas that were intended to be shorter, The Strange Tail Of Oddzilla and Leery Lane. I cannot control how long something will end up, which makes it a challenge for submitting work to anthologies, magazines, websites or blogs. Nonetheless, I’ve had stories and poems published by a fair amount, and the list is growing.
My sons and I began attending events in 2013, primarily as a means of promotion. There is no substitute for talking with readers face to face. I enjoy it, despite being shy (an Introvert). And signing my books was a long-held dream. Our first event was The L.A. Times Festival Of Books, an amazing experience! We’ve become regulars at the L.A. Comic Book & Science Fiction Conventions, thanks to your suggestion, Anthony — although we don’t sell comic books or specialize in Science Fiction. My artwork usually attracts interest. We’ve done the Orange County Children’s Book Festival several times, and Earth Fair in San Diego. We were invited to attend Horror Con International in 2015, and I was on my first author panel at the Duarte Festival Of Authors in 2013.
There’s been a smattering of awards and recognition through the years, from Editor’s Choice Award, Finalist, Honorable Mentions to First and Second Places or Best. I was nominated for the American Spirit Award in the military, where I trained as a journalist. The proudest honor is still being chosen as winner of the 2011 VINOWRIMO Award for An Ill Wind Blows. It was bestowed among a group of writers to the best novel written in one month. I do not write fast. It’s difficult for me to believe I wrote fifty thousand words in a single month, along with edits. Seriously, I don’t know how I did it. The book contains depth, imagination, and little was changed or added to it since, because I want Ill Wind to represent that personal achievement.
Dabbling in many genres, I apply touches of horror and wit to almost everything I write. My novel The Fairy Fly won for 2013 Best Published YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy in the 2014 San Diego Book Awards. Fairy Fly also received Second Place for Humor in the 2015 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards, plus Honorable Mention for Best Illustrations; Poetic Reflections: The Queen Of Hats, Honorable Mention in Poetry. A rhyming-prose tale, The Dark Mister Snark garnered Second Place in Poetry from the 2016 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards.
A major dream of mine is to win a Bram Stoker Award. In 2015 the anthology Journals Of Horror: Found Fiction, containing my story “The Devil’s Irony”, made it to a Preliminary Ballot for the Stokers. That was exciting. One year later I was fortunate to have my novella Leery Lane make it onto a Recommended list. I was stoked, if you’ll pardon the pun, though it didn’t reach the Preliminary Ballot. There was a lot of competition in the Long Fiction category, I’m sure many excellent novellas, a decent amount of them by females. On the Preliminary Ballot, ten of the Long Fiction authors named would be men, one of them a woman. I use this as an example. Horror isn’t an easy field for a female to break into. There are typically more titles by males on the Stoker Award Ballots, and I think it demonstrates the need for Women In Horror Month. I’m confident the situation will adjust — not by force; through awareness, thanks to promotions like this, highlighting diversity. It isn’t that there aren’t enough women with talent working in the genre. It’s that there are not enough of them known.
Race is something else that needs to be brought up, and ought to be a concern for us all. I am White, Lopez from marriage. I wanted to keep the same last name as my sons when I divorced. Does it hold me back? It shouldn’t. That’s the point. At this time in History, however, the politics and social values of the world are in danger of sliding backwards instead of improving on these factors. It is important, urgent, to speak out against inequality, unfair bias. I grew up being bullied over my maiden name, Fink, yet refused to change it as a young adult when my parents changed theirs to Finch. I had fought for it, I told them. Sometimes we need to make a stand. Unless we do, the future for women in general and people of color is at stake . . . not only in Horror, in every way.
I’ve been trying to make a difference through statements and themes in my writing, as a woman; as an animal-rights activist and vegan; as the victim of bullies and child abuse; as a human being. I have been active in promoting Women In Horror for several years. Awareness can take time to be raised. It is a continuous struggle, a daily battle. We must stride forward, even against a tide of prejudice and oppression. I would prefer to let my writing speak for me, but if it isn’t being read, whatever the reason, my voice will not be heard.
** Her Books
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://amazon.com/author/lorirlopez