Mercedes M Yardley lives in Las Vegas, wears red lipstick and poisonous flowers in her hair, and knows how to throw a tomahawk. She also writes beautiful, poetic horror and has been published in several magazines and anthologies in addition to her novellas and novels.
While celebrating Women in Horror month, I was pondering some of the questions I’m most asked as a female horror writer. I chose to compile and answer them. Thanks to JG who was willing to bring awareness to this month!
1. When did you start writing horror?
MMY: It took quite a while to realize I was a horror writer. I never thought I could write in this genre. I had a mental block about it, because I didn’t truly understand what horror was. I mistakenly thought it was blood and gore, when really it’s about pushing boundaries and making the reader feel. So I have always been writing horror, but only felt enlightened enough to call it horror within the past five years or so.
2. Who are your favourite authors?
MMY: I love everything I’ve ever read by Kirsty Logan. She has such a lovely style. I adore Aimee Bender and her magical realism. Todd Keisling has some strong work out, and I like what I’ve read from Joe Hill. Lee Thompson is always a favorite. I haven’t been disappointed by that man yet, and his literary output is phenomenal.
3. Do you remember what your first horror book was that you read?
MMY: The one that I really remember was Stephen King’s IT. Dad had borrowed it from the library. It was in a big basket next to the chair in the living room. I’d sneak out at night and read it, and it was terrifying. It really left a big impression on me. I was absolutely terrified to walk to school and pass the storm drain. I’m sure there were others first, but that’s the one that basically traumatized me.
4. Did you read a lot of horror as a child/teenager?
MMY: I devoured it. I’m not a fan of gore, per se, but I love supernatural and I love creepy. That disquieting feeling that makes you turn on your lights at night? I adore it. There’s nothing like reading a book where an author taps directly into your fears and explains them in a way you never could. Then again, I like being scared in the comfort of my own safe house and snuggly bed. If I’m out camping in the forest or on my own in some crazy dilapidated house, my opinion immediately changes.
5. What stereotype would you like to smash?
MMY: I’d like to do away with the thought that femininity equals weakness. It simply isn’t true. I’ve noticed that a woman with more masculine traits tends to be referred to as strong and successful. Throw that same woman in a skirt, heels, and lipstick and the way people talk around her instantly changes. It’s intriguing to me. It’s also exceptionally frustrating. I was always aware of this during college and in the workplace, and it’s nonsense. Stilettos can be just as dangerous as combat boots. I’d like to celebrate the innate strength of women without putting silly constraints on them.
Author Bio: “I have two broken laptops, three kids, a husband and no time to write, although I try my very best. I like to write stories. I like to write poems. I like to write essays and sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they aren’t. I’m the author of the short story collection Beautiful Sorrows, the “serial killers in love” novellas Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, my debut novel Nameless: The Darkness Comes, and Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy. I specialize in the dark and beautiful. I know how to throw a tomahawk and I wear red corduroys because they make me happy. That's also why I write: I like being happy.”