Ginger Nuts of Horror's Motherhood of the Monstrous continues its celebration of female horror writers of the past present and future. Today's author in the spotlight is our very own Laura Mauro.
Laura started writing short stories in 2011 but never took it seriously until joining Absolute Write, where she was contacted by a member of the T-Party. Since then, she has been what you might call a ‘serious’ writer, while still working as a laboratory technician.
She has had stories published in Shadows And Tall Trees, and in Black Static. Her short story “Red Rabbit” made Ellen Datlow’s longlist for Best Horror Of The Year 2014, and “When Charlie Sleeps” was reprinted as part of the “Best British Horror 2014″ anthology, edited by Johnny Mains. Her short story “Ptichka” was published as part of “Horror Uncut: Tales Of Social Insecurity and Economic Unease” and was also nominated for best newcomer and Best Short Story in the 2015 British Fantasy Awards.
The author who has most inspired me isn’t a horror writer as such, and in fact wrote most famously for children (though her ‘grown-up’ fiction is also sublime.) Anyone who knows me will probably be sick to death of me lauding Tove Jansson’s work, especially the Moomin books, but she has been so instrumental in shaping my love for weird fiction. Because although the Moomin books are for kids, they are also undeniably weird and eerie and frequently quite dark, and this is because Jansson drew from her own life experiences while writing them. ‘Moominvalley in November’, for example, was written in the year that Jansson’s mother died; the sombre tone and melancholy themes – loss, loneliness, struggling through sadness – are crafted upon a backdrop of strange creatures and mysterious monsters that manifest in the imagination. And ‘Moominland Midwinter’, which is one of my very favourite books, has Moomintroll guided through the strange and frightening world of winter by Too-Ticky, a character inspired by Jansson’s real-life partner Tuulikki Pietilä.
My favourite quote from Moominland Midwinter sums up why I tell the kinds of stories I tell:
“There are such a lot of things that have no place in summer and autumn and spring. Everything that’s a little shy and a little rum. Some kinds of night animals and people that don’t fit in with others and that nobody really believes in. They keep out of the way all the year. And then when everything’s quiet and white and the nights are long and most people are asleep—then they appear.”
As for authors we should be paying attention to today – there are so many writers who could comfortably wear this crown that it’s very difficult to narrow it down to one. Cate Gardner is someone I think we should all be watching carefully, as I believe she’s writing the kinds of stories that nobody else in the genre right now is writing. As with Jansson’s fiction I think Cate’s stories are infused with a very real sense of the ‘experienced’, drawing from life and weaving this into the dreamlike (and sometimes nightmarish) landscapes she creates. Her British Fantasy Award-nominated short story ‘When The Moon Man Knocks’ is in turns chilling and darkly humorous, and despite the surrealism of the narrative is, at heart, a painfully honest exploration of the grieving process. ‘Blood Moth Kiss’ is a genre-straddling tale rich in imagery and imbued with a growing undercurrent of dread and helplessness. Cate’s strength lies in her ability to provoke feeling from an abstract premise, and while the nature of events might be impossible to pin down – fluttering just out of reach like Nola’s blood moths – the emotions they provoke are unquestionably real.
WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH LINKS
THE WOMEN IN HORROR MIXTAPE
INTERVIEW WITH KAYLEIGH MARIE EDWARDS
THE HISTORY OF WOMEN IN HORROR 1: A MAN EXPLAINS
28 Days Of Black Women In Horror
Interview with Lee Murray
Women in Horror Month
The Monstrous Regiment of Women in Horror