Monday, February 27, 2012

Women in Horror Month Feature: Nancy Kilpatrick

Throughout February, ChiZine Publications is celebrating Women in Horror Month ( by profiling female authors and our staff.


Nancy Kilpatrick has published 18 novels, over 200 short stories 6 collections of her stories, 1 non-fiction book, and has just edited her 13th anthology.  You can check her latest news at: and also join her on Facebook.


How did you get started with your writing?
My grandfather brought home a typewriter for me when I was eight years old and it’s been uphill or downhill (depending on your perspective) since then.  As to actual publishing, I faced a lot of rejection early on but kept going because I’m a stubborn idiot and also because this is what I love to do and, dammit, nobody is going to stop me!  (OK, I said I’m a stubborn idiot, didn’t I?)  

I was wounded by rejections of my first two novels (one of which was eventually published as BLOODLOVER) and reverted to short fiction which required less of a commitment of everything, not least of all emotional  mapping onto the work.  5,000 words is different than 95,000 words.  I broke all the rules because rules have never worked for me, I don’t understand them and I can’t follow them (and this applies to life in general as well as publishing), so I had to go my own way and I simultaneously submitted to ten publications at a time.  This is back when there were ten at a time to send to.  So I managed to publish quite a bit of short fiction and that led me back to novel writing.

After 35 rejections of BLOODLOVER and with only one publisher having read it over a number of years, I  contacted an editor I found on a list at Pocket books and called her first (back when you could do that) and she asked me to send it. Receiving no reply after eight months, I called Pocket, only to discover that she had left. I talked to her replacement who said he had not seen the manuscript, but asked me to send it to him. After another six or seven months with no word, I mentioned it to Rebecca, my editor for another story being published with Pocket (in FREAK SHOW, ed. F. Paul Wilson,) and she told me that the second editor had also left the company. She was very apologetic on behalf of Pocket (I told you this was the past!) and looked for the manuscript. It was found in my mail that very day, along with a badly-photocopied form letter from Pocket informing me that they did not accept unsolicited manuscripts. In a snit, I phoned Rebecca back and she asked me to send it back. She bought it. None of this is tried-and-true formula, but it worked for me. True to my dark star history, Rebecca left the company a month before the book came out, though it did very well and still brings in royalties from Pocket to this day.

How would you describe your writing?
Dark.  Wedged between worlds.  Erotic.  Pessimistic.  Hopeful.

Who are your influences?
Everyone I’ve ever read and that is a lot of categories and genres. I have no one influence and even a badly written book or story brings something, if only to say that this is what not to do.

Why do you write horror?
For me, the world of light is obvious. I figured it out pretty quickly in my childhood. What fascinated me was anything hidden in the darkness. I think life is full of grief and fear and interspersed with this are bits of joy.  At least this is my life, and I have to write the emotional life I know. Horror and dark fantasy, more than any other genres, dovetail with my life. And before anyone asks, no, I am not a victim of rape or incest or the survivor of a serial killer, but my emotions are strong and deep and what I’ve experienced and what I feel rolls through these kinds of situations. Such a high-strung nature as mine needs either an outlet or heavy medication.  I’m just lucky I like to write and also lucky that people publish my writing.

Horror's top creature features: who would you date, marry and kill?
I might date Dead Girl, just to see if I could out-succubus her.

I might marry Christopher Lee in Horror of Dracula, although that would require some some mutual attitude adjustment.

I might kill The Creature from the Black Lagoon and invite my friends over for a fish fry.


"Vampire junkies, vampire justice and a poignant meeting of the living and the undead. One of the most astonishingand thought-provokingshort story anthologies I've ever read." 

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