One more time…with feeling!
Now we have the pleasure of speaking with Sarah Joy Adams. This is a fun conversation, so hang out a bit!
CONVERSATION WITH SARAH JOY ADAMS
It’s Valentine’s Day. What’s your take on the “Most Romantic Day of the Year”?
Ugh. I’m a woman so I’m supposed to be deeply, deeply invested in this, right? But I’m not. I’m all for romantic gestures and chocolate, but the weird pressure go nuts on Valentine’s Day according to pre-set social rules and be seen doing it so everyone knows how much you’re loved ruins it for me. Plus, Valentine’s Day and I don’t have a great track record. I’ve been single all but one Valentine’s Day of my life and for that one exception I had a raging fever and just wanted to drink hot tea and cocoon myself in bed. People feel bad when I tell them this, and I used to feel bad for myself, but now that I’m an adult, I don’t. Lack of VD festivities has not actually meant a lack of love in my life. The best Valentine’s Day ever was when eight single friends and I booked a table at very nice restaurant and went out together to eat gourmet food and laugh. The server later told us that we were her best table of the night because we were easy going and enjoyed the food, instead of heaping her with the “OMG everything has to be perfect or the night is ruined!” angst that most of the other tables had going. (Also we tipped well. Because you should. Seriously, leave a decent tip people – the server worked hard for that money.)
What was the point when you decided horror would be your genre of choice?
I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not going to pull a Nicholas Sparks and claim I don’t write a genre that I do write. But I didn’t ever sit down and invest in horror consciously. When I write novels, I write urban fantasy. But some how my short stories always end up being deeply disturbing, or disturbed. Horror just sort of happened and then I decided if I was writing horror, I’d better recognize what I was writing and do it well.
From where do you pull your horror inspiration?
Things that scared me as a child. I don’t mean snakes and bees – it’s the unseen terror that really gets me. I’ve looked down the barrel of a thief’s gun and felt weirdly calm. But a long time ago, I was the sole counselor in a cabin full of eight year olds deep in the Maine woods. That morning the camp director of our all girls summer camp had informed us that the camp had stalkers – a pair of men had been sneaking through our woods, peering in cabin windows. Just before bed, the latch on the cabin door broke. I wedged it shut with my sandal after the girls were in bed. There I was, lying in my cot nearest the door, eight sleeping little girls around me, and I heard footsteps and a hand on the door. Pants wetting terror. That’s where I get my sense of horror. (Yes, there was a footprint in the mud outside the window the next moring.)
What is one horror stereotype you absolutely despise? One you love?
The virgin lives. I have a personal grudge against purity culture that fetishizes virginity, even though I believe in sexual continence and waiting until marriage to have sex. We’ve turned the Virgin (not the Virgin Mary) into an icon that causes all kinds of hang-ups and focus on the physical hymen, instead of messier and more difficult qualities like virtue. I’d like to see a horror story where the “whore” character not only lives, but triumphs.
What scares you?
Failure. And the sound of the front door opening late at night.