Women in Horror Spotlight: Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason
Even though October is over, I will still be highlighting the work of Women in Horror and introducing some new people to their work. I will be writing about authors, filmmakers, podcasters and other aspects of horror-related creative endeavors; I ask each of them several questions and share their answers with you in this series of articles. Remember – Halloween can be observed year round if you keep the spirit of the season in your heart. October may be over, but the work of women in horror lives on all year!
We are Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason. We are a twin sister writing team from Arizona. We write horror, sci-fi, dark fantasy and bizzaro. Our first novel Mayan Blue was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.
Some of our earliest horror influence memories came from our mother. She loves old horror movies and let us watch all the universal flicks when we were very young, around five years old. Also, our father liked to tell scary stories around the campfire when we’d go on family campouts and we loved them!
As we grew older we were allowed to watch serious horror, the classics like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Thing, Fright Night and An American Werewolf in London. Those classic horror movies instilled in us a love for really frightening things, we were hooked on horror.
While we write it’s usually silent, except for our kids running around like crazy, but before we dive into a story we look for things to set the mood. For instance, if we’re writing a story about ocean monsters we might watch jaws or when we wrote Hydrophobia for Fresh meat 2015 put out through sinister grin we had to get into the mood for a story revolving around a family of moonshiners so we listened to a lot of bluegrass music and old country music.
As women in horror, we’ve faced the usual from people not believing that women can write scary stories. We’ve faced creeps online crawling out of cesspools to hit on us. Writing still feels like it’s a man’s game sometimes, though it is getting better, but we aim to smash through any barriers with a sledgehammer. We do what we want, bros, get over it!
We are influenced by dark artwork, music of all kinds and films. Real life is a great influence, it can make you want to jump into imagined worlds pretty quick. We are also inspired by the women around us, our sisters, they are going through many of our same struggles and watching them journey alongside us helps keep us going.
We don’t intentionally try to emulate anyone but we’re sure our favorite writers and mentors have rubbed off on us which can be seen in our work, Brian Keene, Ronald Kelly, Clive Barker, Stephen King, they were very influential to us.
Our favorite horror villain is Leatherface from TCM but our favorite monster of all time is the werewolf, always has been, always will be.
We’re digging on so many other horror ladies, they are all fantastic. Here’s a list of awesome women to check out. Amber Fallon, Somer Canon, Jessica McHugh, Stephanie Wytovich, S.P. Miskowski, Leza Cantoral, Izzy Lee, Kristi Demeester, Damien Angelica Walters and Mercedes Murdock Yardley. Those are only a handful.
One of our favorite Halloween movies that we’ve watched a million times since we were little girls is Ernest Scared Stupid, that and Hocus Pocus!
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