Mary Shelley, the Mother of Horror
Women authors are some of the best writers of horror fiction. We’ve been giving men a run for their money for quite a few years. But it wasn’t always like that. Back in the 1800’s women writers were mostly romantic and feminine. The horror and extreme fiction were written by men. But in 1818, Mary Shelley dared to write something completely different for a woman (or for anyone for that matter); Frankenstein. This classic monster book was made into a movie in 1931 but has sparked spinoffs of all types in both film and literature. While she is noted for other writing accomplishments, one only needs to hear her name and the Frankenstein is usually the first thought. Scholars still mainly consider her a romantic in literature but she is so much more than that having broken the barrier on gender type writing. Since Frankenstein, women have emerged writing horror and earning their place as some of the top writers of the century. Shirley Jackson (The Lottery Ticket and The Haunting of Hill House) influenced several famous male authors including Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. Anne Rice (who spawned everyone’s favorite non-sparkly vampire, Lestat) took horror even further. Mary Shelley opened the door to a genre of writing that was general male based and made it her own. She left that door open for other women to step inside and put to print the horror that churns in our minds as well. I love reading horror no matter the author’s gender, but as a female horror author, myself I will always consider Mary Shelley as our “Mother of Horror.”
Veronica Smith lives in Katy, Texas, a suburb west of Houston. Her first full length novel, Salvation, was just published in December 2016. Her first novella, Chalk Outline, was originally self-published but is the process of being re-released. She also has several short stories published in anthologies. In addition to writing, she’s a co-editor for two anthologies. Follow her to get the latest on her works.