Women in Horror Month: Spotlight on Kandisha Press
by Janine Pipe
It may have been naive of me, but until I started seriously writing, reading and reviewing horror and specifically indie horror, I hadn’t really paid that much attention to the discrepancy between male and female writers in this genre. That would be in the main because up until recently, the vast majority of my horror books were still from my teens and most of them were King, Koontz and R L Stine. For years I tended to only read mainstream; the women donning my shelves were the likes of Shirley Jackson, Mary Shelley and Anne Rice.
Then, I began to write and of course, like any fledging author, I wanted to read more. Both men and women. I had managed to find work by C J Tudor and Alma Katsu and I am extremely grateful to my local supermarket of all places for stocking those. But I wanted more and I soon discovered it was harder to find then I had presumed. Especially more extreme stuff from women. It was all rather frustrating.
After a few months of writing, reading, reviewing and receiving enough rejections to wallpaper the library – yes, we have a home office with one wall covered in bookshelves and are middle class enough to refer to it as The Library – I finally got an acceptance.
An acceptance from a newish, woman owned publisher called Kandisha Press.
That story, The Invitation, appeared in volume 2 of the women only anthology, Graveyard Smash and after that I am very lucky and proud to say the acceptances came flooding in. But nothing will ever replace that sense of utter pride I felt receiving an email from the owner and editor, Jill Girardi, to say she wanted to use MY story. Then, to see my name in print for the first time. To hold the book in my hands.
That was the start of a very strong friendship too. Jill may be over in NYC, but thanks to social media and the fact we are all housebound and can’t see any real life people, our friendship grew. Her relentless confidence in my ability is like nothing I have ever had before from someone I am not related to and she has *made* me submit or invited me to several other collections.
Jill is a hugely talented writer in her own right, yet she choses to focus her time and effort promoting other women in the genre. I think if it was her choice, the anthologies would have 100 stories as she would accept every single submission in order to give every woman a chance. That’s just the sort of person she is.
As we approach the now annual Women in Horror Month (February), Kandisha is all set to release our third instalment, this one entitled The One Who Got Away. And yes, you read that correctly - *our* third instalment. I can say that because I am lucky enough to officially be part of this amazing indie publisher, acting as a press agent. It is literally a dream position, be able to help to bring more female voices to the literary world of horror.
We may be small, but it is our mission is big. Help more women be seen in horror. Encourage more women to submit work. Be that quiet, more traditional work, in your face feminist stories or to prove we can match Ketchum and Little for shock and gore. We want it all. At Kandisha, we aim to bring female voices from all over the world to readers. We want new writers, we want to be your first acceptance so you can feel the way I did, reading that email from Jill, happy tears streaming down my face. We also want to showcase more well known women, bring some *names* into our fold. We are not naïve enough to think we can change the world, nor that hundreds of people will pick up and anthology with not one single name that they recognise included. After all, we may have a vision, but we pay our writers. It is also an honour for us to feature such female powerhouses.
The One That Got Away features 30 very unique and distinctive female voices from all walks of life and all over the world. And we already have plan for volumes 4-6 too. We may be small, we may be new but we hope the Kandisha Press will be something that you look out, that you look forward to seeing the news of a upcoming release. And of course our biggest aim is that when you read our collections, you discover a voice you love as much as we do and a new favourite author is born.
Janine Pipe is a Horror lover and writer who was first introduced to the genre as a child reading ‘Salem’s Lot – and she hasn’t looked back since. Citing Glenn Rolfe and Hunter Shea as her favourite current writers, she likes to shock with her writing. There is usually a lot of gore and plenty of swearing … She is very thankful to her biggest cheerleaders, her husband and daughter and her mentor, Graeme Reynolds. She chews the fat with fellow authors on her blog – Janine’s Ghost Stories and reviews for Scream Magazine and is a friend of Nightworms.
You can find her work at Tales to Terrify and several of her short stories have been published, including an all female anthology with Kandisha Press and the charity anthology, Diabolica Britannica. She is currently writing a splatterpunk novella about a teenage vampire hunter and has a horror podcast with fellow Brit and indie author, Lou Yardley called Cryptids, Crypts and Coffee.
Check her blog here – www.janinesghoststories.
Follow her on Twitter – www.twitter.com/disneynine
Join her Patreon gang – www.patreon.comJanines_