Sunday, 1 March 2015

Women in Horror: LISA HINSLEY

I love the way Lisa writes. The first book I read is called MY DEMON  which included a scene where I literally said, out loud, "Oh my God, she did not just go there." Been hooked ever since. 

Lisa is visceral. She describes pain, horror and terror that makes it seem it is a part of your experience. She is not afraid to go places that are unseemly and she does it in a way where you have agreed to, and paid for the ticket there. 

Lisa is a gifted writer, writes from her heart and soul and knows how to keep you, the reader, involved.

She writes graphic, but in a polite, British way. Truly a gem in the horror community.

When did you start writing horror?

Before I started writing novels my favourite genres to read were horror and science-fiction. Seemed like a natural progression that this would come out in my writing when my writing ideas started to grow from poems and short stories to novel length. Of course, my first novel was a horror themed book, written when I was home on maternity leave with my youngest child! As for when I started playing around with horror themes, I think they have always been present in my style. I used to get scared very easily, and my fears went straight into my writing, right from when I was a child and just starting to put pen to paper.

Have you written in any other genre?

I like to write in horror and science-fiction primarily, but the thriller genre also creeps in. To me the boundaries between the genres are smudged and I find the different elements work their way into my stories.

What makes you uncomfortable?

Ghosts make me uncomfortable. 28 Days Later style zombies make me uncomfortable. Under the bed makes me uncomfortable. Little locked doors that beg to be opened make me uncomfortable. The unfamiliar and unexplainable are what really set me off, and I can’t get enough of that tingle under the skin that goes hand-in-hand with the uncomfortable.

Does your family read your work?

My husband used to, but he got too critical, so banned himself. My mum and sister are my number one fans and read and love everything I write. My kids haven’t really started in on the books yet, but I’m not sure I want them to! 

Does your writing make you uneasy?

I sometimes wonder what would happen if the police swooped down on my house, snatched up my laptop and went through my Google searches. At the very least, they’d look into who I was thinking about murdering (or already have). Methods of murder and dying feature high. Even statistics about nursing home death rates have been looked for – and that was when I was working as a carer for elderly ladies, so that would not have looked good if discovered! What makes me uneasy is the ideas that flow from my brain. People meet me and think I must write children’s books or chick-lit as I am a bubbly happy person. But what really makes me tick is darkness, bad human behaviour and monsters. That makes me uneasy when I take the time to think about it.

Who would you say you write like?

My earlier books were compared to Stephen King, which I found hugely flattering, but really, am I worthy of such a comparison? I think now I have found my own style. I don’t want to be compared to other writers. I want to be known for telling a good tale, not being like Barker, Koontz, Hill, or any other writer.

Who are your favourite authors?

My number one favourite author has to be Stephen King. I’ve got nearly three shelves of books just by him. I also enjoy James Herbert and Clive Barker. There are some more classic authors who hit it for me, like Margret Atwood, John Wyndham and Aldous Huxley. Kate Mosse is new author to me who I am really enjoying.

Who influences you as a writer?

I’m sure each and every book I’ve read has in some way influenced my writing, but I really do take my inspiration from life. It’s a weird and wonderful world out there, where there is no end to the ‘what ifs’ that get my ideas flowing.

Do you remember what your first horror book was that you read?

I’m pretty sure the first horror book I read was Pet Sematary by Stephen King when I was about thirteen. Before then, after reading everything on my parent’s bookshelves (which was mostly thrillers), I had been reading science-fiction almost exclusively. After Pet Sematary for years I read only horror novels.

10.  How old were you?

Is there any subject you will not touch as an author?

I’m not interested in writing about my own life. I have, let’s say, a colourful past. People have said I need to write it into a book, but I have no desire to relive what I already did once. (And hated at the time.)

What was the best advice you were given as a writer?

Listen to criticism. Grow a thick skin – don’t be too precious about your writing. And if three people make the same comment about your work, no matter how much you disagree, they are probably right.

If you had to start all over again, what would you do different?

I’m not sure I would do anything different. I have progressed steadily as an author, and I’m happy with the books that have found their way out of me. 

How many books do you read a year?

I try to read as many as possible. I would love to go back to the old days when I read maybe two to three books a week. These days I read maybe twenty books a year, and in my opinion, it’s just not enough.

Do you write every day?

Not right now, but I should!

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