Donna L. Greenwood
Author of "Gloria", the second story in The Fourth Corona Book of Horror Stories
Donna L Greenwood writes flash fiction, short stories and poetry. Her work has been nominated for Best Small Fictions, Best Microfiction and a Pushcart Prize. Her debut novelette-in-flash “The Impossibility of Wings” has recently been published by Retreat West. She is currently working on a horror novella and short story collection.
What made you decide to write horror?
I have loved horror ever since I was at school and a dog-eared copy of James Herbert’s The Rats was doing the rounds. I couldn’t believe that mere words on the page could make you feel so scared and uneasy and disgusted! I went on to read almost all of Herbert’s books, then moved on to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker et al – and every time I read one of those books, I wanted to write something just as good – I’m still trying.
Do you write in any other genre?
I’ve tried writing science fiction and enjoyed it. I’ve also written, and had some success with, literary flash fiction and short stories. I had a short novelette-in-flash published last year which was semi-autobiographical and there wasn’t ghoul or a slasher in sight.
Do you have you a reason for doing so?
The main reason why I try other genres is to accommodate submission calls or competitions.
What genres do you read? Is it all horror or have you eclectic tastes?
I’m an English teacher so I have to read a variety of genres as part of my job, but I always pick a horror novel or short story collection to relax – nothing else holds my interest like horror does. I think there is a depth to horror that many people miss – most horror books I’ve read have an exploration of the human condition at their heart. The existential terror of realising we know absolutely nothing about what life is and why we’re here forms the very foundation of many a horror story.
How much do you value reading the work of other authors?
It is essential to read the work of other horror writers. I find it insulting that someone would pick up a pen and write a horror story without familiarising themselves with the horror greats. I think it’s equally essential to keep up to date with new horror writers – recent additions to my bookcase have been Chelsea G. Summers, Ross Jeffery, Catriona Ward and Lucie McKnight Hardy. I am always inspired and motivated when I’ve read something that makes me wish I’d written it.
Does reading other people’s work affect the way you write?
I’m always learning from great horror writers (and sometimes reading a particularly bad story can be just as illuminating).
What are your favourite and/or least favourite tropes?
I can’t stand the man saves stupid/weak/ vulnerable woman trope for obvious reasons. I think the days of the ‘slutty’ girl getting what she deserves are well and truly over, and if they’re not, there should be a communal book burning of any books that have this cliched trope within their pages. Serial killers pursuing their female quarry, love triangles, women alone in the house when the baddie comes are other cliches that bore me. (Wow – I honestly didn’t think I was as opinionated as this!) However, I think that creepy kid/doll/clown tropes are always fun and even though the naïve couple moving into a haunted/possessed house has been done to death, it’s still a great story.
Which authors inspire you?
As well as the writers mentioned above, I am inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe, Anne Rice, Shirley Jackson, Ramsey Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, Poppy Z. Brite and Kathe Koja. I’m reading A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers at the moment which is deliciously horrible!