Today we begin celebrating Women in Horror month on HorrorAddicts. There are so many talented ladies who encompass the entire industry. From actresses to screenwriters, to book reviewers, to paranormal investigators, and authors. Horror would not be the same without women!
Let’s get to know a few of these incredible women this February and celebrate Women in Horror!
Please welcome Faith Dincolo to the stage today! I met Faith while exploring the raging torrents on Angel Falls in the Amazon where we were trapped by dinner-plate sized spiders ready to feast on our faces … er …. well not really … but it sounded good, huh?
Faith is an amazing lady inside and out. Hands Down! She has a heart of gold and many ghosts across the veil have discovered how wonderful she is as well. Her unique gift has helped many a soul and has scared the living shite out of her as well! Let’s get to know Faith a bit more, shall we?
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? How’d that work out for you?
My mother made all my clothes when I was a child, she even made my underwear. That left a lot of scraps for me to work with and I would create and design clothes for my dolls, my cat, the dogs, and anyone else I could narrow down and isolate.
I had this dream of being a clothing designer, a famous one! Now, I write about this dream while in my robe and slippers, and it is well past noon. My hair isn’t even brushed yet. The life of a writer doesn’t require me to be very high fashioned, and the poor cats around here are naked, except for their own fur.
I hear you are quite the Ghost Whisperer! Tell us a little about yourself and how the spirits from beyond communicate with you. Which one frightened you the most and inspired you to write a story?
I saw my first corpse when I was 7 years old, Mrs. Frieda, the lady who lived two houses down from my family. Her casket sat in the back of a large, dark viewing room, and was surrounded by tall candles. She was dressed in a satin red peignoir night gown set with large boa feather trim. The flames on the candles flickered upon her face and body.
It was in the middle of summer in Atlanta, Georgia and there was no air conditioning in the room. Sweat rolled down my face, my stomach lurched, I swore I heard her laugh, the same laugh she would cackle out when she fed the gray squirrels in her back yard and they would eat from her hand. My palms were soaking wet as I held onto my Brother Billy’s hand. Somehow, I managed to walk through the large room and up to her coffin.
I peeked in, and her face was heavily made up, her lips a bright red. I saw her eyes flicker at me, she winked, her voice floated around her, “You can see me!” she said. I ran from the room, full speed, my skinny legs were faster than eyes. I saw her shadow on the wall by the door, it appeared that she stood up from the coffin and was waving at me! I would be in my mid-twenties before I could sleep in the dark after that.
In my novel, Rules of the Dead, I use this experience to help my young protagonist, Ray, realize that he can see the dead. Over the years, I have learned there are ways to connect with ghosts or to block them. In the early years, I had a lot of fear with encounters, but as life went on, and I realized that I have control over what I experienced, it has eliminated the fears. I have studied with Astara, The Teaching Light Center, studied the Tarot for most of my life and other forms of communication systems.
I am getting to the point where I don’t like to stay in hotels because of the ghosts and shadows of voices from the dead. It is surprising how many ghosts are in hotels and not all of them are friendly, in fact, the hotel spirits are usually angrier than ghosts that I encounter at other places.
I had a disco era female ghost wake me up one night at a Las Vegas hotel and point to where I was sleeping, and she screamed at me “I died there.” Trust me, I moved away from that side of the bed! The next day in the bar at the hotel, I told the story to the bartender and she asked me what room I was in. I told her 772. The bartender got very quiet, looked around the bar before speaking and said “That would be Deidre. She was a famous overdose victim here in the mid 80’s. She was a groupie with Motley Crue’s Band.”
I checked out of that room within the hour of hearing that. Not because I have an issue with ghosts, but this one was angry, violent and possessive of where she died.
Yikes! I’d definitely would have checked out of that room too!!
Do you prefer writing screenplays or novels?
Screenplays are blueprints for stories. Novels allow you to get into the interior of characters and hear and see what they are thinking. Characters in screenplays must act through visual means, who they are, is seen through their actions, and heard through dialogue.
Both mediums appeal to me for different reasons. Some stories are better suited for novels because of the growth of the characters, or the need to be in their heads. Other stories, especially very plot heavy stories, and action stories are better served by screenplays. I find screenplays to be more comfortable for me to write than novels as I am a visual person.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Those folks new to writing should study craft and grammar along with the genres that they enjoy watching and reading. When a writer tells me they don’t read other writers in their genre, I say to myself that they are naive and why would they write their story without knowing if their storyline is currently saturated in the market by millions of other writers? How do you truly know your genre if you aren’t reading it and watching movies and TV shows within that genre?
What about the horror genre interests you? Disgusts you?
This is what I love about the horror genre:
“The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years – if it ever did end – began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.” – It by Stephen King
Great opening lines, scary characters, digging deep into the human mind and finding prehistoric demons, the fear of death, or worse, the fear of not being able to die. Horror that is extremely gory for the pornographic purpose of titillation disgusts me. Chainsaw massacre, Saw series are examples of that. I find I quickly lose patience with those story lines.
What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
My second pregnancy was problematic and I was very ill through most of it. After a prolonged labor, I had to have a C-section. I was strapped to a small table with a tube in my throat, and the anethesiologist had anethestized me wrong during the epidural. I went into seizures, and couldn’t even scream as I heard the doctor say to the anethiesologist, “We have to save the mother first.” I was terrified my son was going to die before even being born! After several more attempts to save me, the doctor was able to complete the C-section. I was very ill after that, and had many problems.
My son was healthy, but I struggled with tachycardia and severe panic attacks. I didn’t sleep for the first two weeks after the surgery, I couldn’t!
It really opened a portal of visitations from ghosts too, including the ghost of a little toddler girl, who kept calling out for her mother.
Finally, after about 2 horrible weeks, I was attempting to sleep when I saw a light at the end of my bed. It was different than the light of the other ghosts that had visited; this one was a soft yellow, fuzzy figure, a man. I heard his voice as he waved at me; it was my husband’s grandfather who had recently passed within the last year. I sat up in bed and grabbed my husband’s arm. His grandfather very clearly told me “You’re okay now, get some sleep.”
Do you look to your own phobias to find subject matter? Are your stories the products of nightmares, childhood experiences, fantasies?
Every story I write, whether screenplay, poem, short, or novel, is about my experiences. I may give the story to another character, but essentially, the stories have a core of my own experiences in them.
What is one stereotype about horror writers is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?
Not all horror writers are dark souled people swaddled in black capes and stovepipe hats. You can’t look at a horror writer and say, “Why he’s another Poe!” I do think that horror writers are willing to go down into the pit hole of humanity and drag out the rotten bits and display them to us so that we are haunted by the thoughts of who and what we really are as humans.
Tell me how you feel being a woman has either enhanced or hindered your writing in the Horror genre.
When I was 11, I read “Interview with a Vampire,” by Anne Rice. I still remember lines of that story, and how dark the room was at night while I was reading. I heard something at my bedroom window, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t even breathe for almost a minute. From that moment on I was hooked on horror stories. It didn’t matter if a man or a woman wrote the stories, I wanted more!
Over the years, I’ve had people assume because I am a woman, that I am a romance writer. I laugh, I don’t correct them, and I offer to let them read my work, that evil giggle in my head hoping they will while thinking they are reading romance. I think being a woman has helped in some of my horror writing as much of my work is about ghosts and old secrets that come to light. I am a mother and know well the fear of worrying about my sons, and other family members.
I can completely identify with that! As Mothers, we do tend to think of every horrific possibility for our families, and what we can do to avoid those situations.
What’s on deck for Faith in 2015?
This is a busy year for me. I am one of the non-fiction editors for East Jasmine Review Literary Journal, and I’m the co-producer of “Her Story” a documentary based on literary short stories about women’s issues, with Renee McClellan of Rite-Works Productions. My plan is to have my YA novel “Rules of the Dead” complete by May, and my short story collection “Sacred Soil” for July.
I am currently writing short screenplays for my new web series “Wineovoire” that I am in pre-production with and looking to cast by late summer.
Last year I released my poetry collection “Me and Him, Married” and my image history book of Salina, Kansas with Arcadia Publishing.
And of course … my signature question – What is something that truly frightens you and how do you deal with it?
The evening news scares the hell out of me. We are a violent and exploitative species and watching the news loops, where 10 people were murdered in Los Angeles last night, and 8 the night before, haunts me.
How do I deal with it? I turn off the TV, or I turn on a horror movie, helping those fears have a way to release, or I sit down and write about the reality that we are a heathen lot.
Thank you so much for coming to talk with us today! Do you have any questions for Faith? We’d love to hear them? Stop on by and share your thoughts!