The REAL Women Writers of Horror #REALWomenWriters

by Emerian Rich

Greetings readers! Recently I was thinking about writers and how we are depicted in movies. You know what I mean, the writer who submits their book to a publisher who accepts it, assigns them their very own full-time editor who’s really invested in their work. Then–in about a week–their book is launched into the public eye with champagne brunches, red carpet openings, and public readings with hundreds of eager readers in the now-extinct thing called a book store. Don’t you love those movies? Yeah, me too. Thing is… It’s not real. The real life of a writer is about hours upon hours of writing, editing, rewriting, and editing again. Most of us have had to toil for years (and sometimes decades) before having anything published. Even then, the opportunity for champagne brunches and public praise are so few and far between, that you start feeling the dream of being a writer is a mythological unicorn that doesn’t really exist.

And the life of a WOMAN writer is even tougher. Despite the success of J.K. Rowling, Anne Rice, and Suzanne Collins, most of us will never get that movie deal and while we’re waiting it out, we’ve got such an up-hill battle, most writers end up giving up. You see, in the public eye, Anne Rice’s career might be an achievable goal, but if you take away the name and say WOMAN WRITER, the general consensus is, “Women can write Romance and that’s about it.” And it’s not just from readers. It’s from the media, publishers, and worst of all, our peers. Which is so wrong. Can we write Romance? Yes, because we have hearts. But can we also write Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and other branches of Speculative Fiction? Hell yeah!

This blog series is to explore #REALWomenWriters who toil in the day-to-day, soul-crushing, confidence-demolishing, existence that is the life of a REAL Woman Writer. We hope you enjoy this inside look and if you are a REAL Woman Writer, email us to share your story.

Name: Emerian Rich
Genres: Horror, Romance, some Sci-Fi and Non-fiction

Favorite story you’ve written and why. “Hammersmith House,” which takes place during the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. It was published in Horrible Disasters a few years ago and is an alternate history story with a Jekyll and Hyde theme. I had a lot of fun researching letters from the 1906 earthquake before I wrote this and I really enjoy a story told in letters.
Favorite character you’ve ever written and why? Jespa from Night’s Knights. She is the tough chick I always wanted to be. Even though she’s been treated badly and beat down, she always rises back up.
What is one thing everyone thinks about you that isn’t true? That I’m scary. I may like scary things and write scary things. I’m actually quite nice and giggly.
What is one thing about writing you didn’t know before you started? How much work I would have to do on marketing, social media, and networking.
What is the hardest kind of scene for you to write? Fight scenes. I usually skip them and go back to them later. My husband always makes fun of me because I write ~slap, fight~ in place of where the fight scenes go.
Did you go to college? What was your major? Yes, I went to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco. I majored in Visual Presentation and Space Design.
What did you think you’d be “when you grew up?” When I was really young, I wanted to be a “Sec-a-tary.” Then I was going to be a singer. I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until I was about twenty-five. 


What is the best event you’ve ever been to? Sinister Creature Con in Sacramento. Tons of great horror fans and I got to meet Ray Wise. Close second would be my first panel at the Jane Austen Society. I also love attending the local con, BayCon.
What is something hurtful you’ve had to endure at an event? I’ve had several situations were men peers have told audience members to ignore what I’ve said on panel, as if my opinion was not valid or true.
How did you recover from experiencing this hurtful thing? Several times audience members have come to my rescue and called them on it before I even had a chance to respond. The first time it happened, though, I was stunned into silence. I had to recount it several times to myself to understand it and realize it really happened.
What is something hurtful you’ve witnessed another #REALWomenWriters experience? I have witnessed the same kind of dismissal and man-splaining that has happened to me. 
If you could give that woman or any other #REALWomenWriters a pep talk, what would you say? Whenever this happens, I try to help by pointing out the situation to the male peer in a calm but sarcastic way. This will sometimes pop him out of his tunnel view. If not, and they are beyond help, at least the woman will know she is not alone and has some support in her corner.


What is your favorite form of social media? Where can we follow you? I am most active on Facebook.
What is the biggest challenge of social media? Keeping active, because it takes so much time away from writing time.
Have you ever been abused or shamed on social media because of your sex, skin color, views, etc..? And how do you deal with that? Yes, but on social media, there is a plus… The UNFOLLOW or BLOCK options. If someone is being abusive to me, I can just block or unfollow. Much easier than in person.
Have you ever seen another #WomanAuthor shamed? Were you able to help? Yes. I definitely step in whenever I see this.
What should readers know about your social media presence? I am happy to chat and geek-out on a lot of things with you. Just don’t bring up sports or politics because I immediately lose interest.
What is the message you try to convey with your writing? Is there any keyword you want all of your work to convey? With every story, I try to give the message that my characters have real feelings and demons but they can conquer them with perseverance. 

Thank you for joining us for #REALWomenWriters!

Check in next time when Sarah Gribble will tell us about her journey.