Sunday, 4 September 2011

Monster Mavens: Jessica Dwyer

I have a treat for you readers. For Monster Mavens I have a working girl in the business who sat down and did an interview with me. Jessica is my home girl in Oregon. When I first decided to move here, I was a little scared I’d not make many friends who are as seriously in love with horror as I was. I have lots of friends in Canada, mostly writers as that’s my main bag, but not as many American horror chums. Especially women. But through connections, I found Jessica Dwyer. She’s someone who’s love for the horror genre is almost (maybe even eclipses) my own love, and she’s one busy girl within it. Not only does she write for Horrorhound, she runs her own all around awesomely geeky site, and does freelance gigs on the side. She is also a seasoned Convention Queen. Just recently she came back from Comic-con, much to my envy. She’s worked her butt off to be where she is, and I am honoured she made time to do a little interview on my blog for you readers.

First off, thanks for taking part in my little blog! I know you got lots going on. Let’s start off by talking a bit about Horrorhound, which is where you spend a lot of your time. What’s it like working for a horror magazine? Some of us could only dream of doing that as one of our jobs.

I love working for HorrorHound.  Even though the magazine is bi-monthly it’s always busy.  I’m the movie and TV girl for the most part.  This last issue I did quite a bit of work all the way round, but also got to write about some of my all time favorite comic books.

I’m also heavily involved with the conventions that we put on.  I help in getting some of the guests as well as run around taking care of them at the shows as well as putting out the occasional fire.  I love our shows because it’s like a big family reunion twice a year.  Everyone has a great time.

How did you get your job at Horrorhound in the beginning? How long have you been with them?

I started with HorrorHound with issue #2.  So I’ve been with them for a long time (we just released out 30th issue.)  How I came to be a part of the HH family started with my gig at Bloody  I was their first fiction reviewer and the first issue showed up for me to review.  I really liked the look and feel of the magazine so I contacted Nathan, the editor, and asked if he’d like a writer.  I’ve been with them ever since.
I’m sure you get to meet some interesting people in your job. Who are your top favourite people you’ve interviewed for the magazine?

I’ve made some great friends in the industry thanks to HH.  Doug Jones is one of the all time nicest people in the world.  The same for Greg Nicotero from KNB EFX who was my first interview for HorrorHound. 

I would say Tim Burton will forever be on the biggest thrills I’ve had.  Sir Anthony Hopkins was also a treat (he quoted poetry to me.)  David Tennant was a huge thrill because of how much his Doctor Who meant to me. 

Working on the magazine is interesting if not entertaining, but what are some of your more interesting moments while working on an article?

Going on the set of the Nightmare on Elm Street remake on my birthday will forever be one of the highlights of my life.  Meeting Jackie Earle Haley and interviewing him in full Freddy make up and getting to wear the glove, you don’t forget that stuff and it makes your inner fangirl go EEEEEEEEE!!!!!! 

Then there was The Wolfman coverage we did.  I worked hard on that one and we got every lead (except for Hugo Weaving due to the insanity of three different time zones being involved.)  We were the only magazine to get Sir Anthony I think for that film.  Rick Baker who is a legend, Del Toro, and the director Joe Johnston who went on to direct Captain America.  It was amazing. 

What are some of the harder things you have to do for Horrorhound? Sometimes all people see are the perks. I’m sure it’s not always fun or easy.

Working on some of the bigger articles can be a challenge.  The last issue I wrote more than I’ve ever written for the zine.  You want to give readers everything you can.  I’m a wordy girl (LOL) so keeping it within acceptable limits for my editor is always fun. 

I would say one of the most painful things that happens is when a studio lets you down for content.  It gets frustrating when you’ve worked towards setting up something and you have a great idea for an article to tie in with a release and then…slap…they fall through on you.  The worst experience of that I think was with Grindhouse. 

The PR for the studio and I had been in contact since I heard about the film being made.  For a year I kept in contact with them. We were giving them the cover and a large chunk of space in the magazine.  Two weeks before we were to go to press I was told that they weren’t going to give me interviews with Tarantino and Rodriguez.  They had been having them talk to magazines like Vanity Fair (yes, your average Grindhouse viewer surely reads Vanity Fair.)  For the next few days I tried and tried to get at least someone else from the film, but they acted like they couldn’t do anything.  Finally I’d had enough.

I retooled my article and I went directly to Kurt Russell’s manager.  I talked to his assistant (who was amazing) and we set up an interview with Kurt on Valentines day (best Vday EVER.)  I also had Michael Biehn for an interview.  The article was done as “The Badass’s of the Grindhouse” and it turned out great. 

Ok moving on to some of your other awesome projects, let’s talk about What inspired you to create the site? What was it like in its infancy? came from the collective love a bunch of gals and I had for Simon Pegg.  We all met due to site and our love for Shaun of the Dead.  Back then there wasn’t really as big a movement for women who loved horror and genre stuff, geek girls just weren’t as represented.  So I wanted to create a place where smart, genre loving gals could go to talk about the things the enjoyed and we had a place to write about those things we loved.
In its infancy it wasn’t as fancy as it is today but we stared out with a bang. Simon Pegg was my first interview ever and it only seemed right as he was the inspiration for so much of it.  He’s another of those super nice people you discover while working in this business. 

Why is fandom so important to you? Would you say it’s the center of your life?

Fandom is important because it’s a connection for people.  It’s family.  Is it the center of my life?  I’d say yes, it’s really important.  Fandom has gotten me through a lot of the hard times in my life, being able to escape to those worlds and those places. 

The love people share for either horror films or sci-fi brings them together.  At the HorrorHound conventions I truly mean it when I say it’s like coming home to hang with your family.  Fans, especially the horror fans, have had a rougher time of it getting respect and acceptance. 

People seem to think we are Satan worshipers or psychos.  But we aren’t, we just enjoy scary movies.  I think people are surprised when they realize that horror fans are some of the most talented and creative people around, and then nicest.  Next time there’s a horror convention near you go check it out and look at some of the artwork that these people can create.  It’s amazing. 

If you could marry any one of the centerfolds on, who would you dump your husband for and marry? (Hopefully your husband won’t kill me for this, but I know my husband knows if OTEP asked me to marry her I’d dump his ass for her!)

Oh it would totally be the Doctor.  I’ve loved him since I was little and he looked like Tom Baker.  He’s always going to be a big deal.

How hard has it been for you as a woman in the genre? Have you ever had any problems with people not taking you seriously?

Sometimes I feel like I’m not taken as seriously as I should be.  I’ve used the line “My Fan Dick is as big as yours” a few times.  I think it’s still odd to people that a woman would be as big into horror as I am.  Horror’s not the only thing I love, but I think that particular genre comes off as surprising.  It’s getting better though as we go.  Women In Horror month of course is a nice way to share that new truth to the world. 

It’s a balancing act.  I think its important we make it known that we are just as worthy of a fan base as men.  But we don’t want to come off as militant about it.  We’re equal, not better.  Also, I think that we shouldn’t make it all about actresses in the genre.  Writers, directors, producers, artists and importantly fans are all a part of this.  That’s why the last WIHM I wrote that the best way you could celebrate it, especially the younger gals, was to create something.  Just create either a story, a drawing, whatever it is that you like to do and post it somewhere to show others.  Show that you are a fan and show the love for that fandom.

For me horror is both spiritual and fun. I pretty much live and breathe it. Is it the same for you? Would you say horror is a big part of your life?

Horror is a large part of my life.  I’ve always been a fan.  It started when I was very young and I’ve never outgrown it.  The monsters were always there for me.  They were my friends when I didn’t really have that many. 

They never judged because they were always the ones being judged just like I was.  We’ve all felt like Frankenstein…that lone outsider just looking for someone to love them and accept them.  Dracula had that same goal in many of the books and films he’s in.  They speak to that part of us as.

They are the mythology of our time, the new gods and monsters (to borrow a phrase.)  

When did you first get drawn to horror?

It’s all my mother and sisters fault.  I was four or so and rummaging through my sisters comics and film books.  We’d watch the old Universal films late at night.  I’d watch Darren McGavin running around and fighting monsters on The Night Stalker.  It’s always been with me.

Here’s a HARD question: Who is your all time favourite monster? If said monster offered to change you into one of it's crew, would you do it?

Not hard at all.  Vampire.  Hell yes I’d let them do it.

You recently got some fiction published (congratz btw!) which is not as easy as it looks. Would you like to share some writing advice with the readers who wish to follow in your footsteps and get published? Maybe share a bit of knowledge you picked up about the industry?

Thank you!  I would say the best advice is to not force it.  If you aren’t feeling the words then don’t write it until you do.  Focus is important and when you are in that zone you’ll know it.  I compare it to (when it’s fiction) the characters chewing on my brain.  I can hear them speaking and that’s when you are in the zone. 

As for the industry, really just get yourself out there.  There are a lot of smaller publishing companies around now looking for content.  Once you find one that you like, submit your work.  If at first you don’t succeed keep trying.  There are also websites out there looking for contributors.  And while many of them don’t pay, it gets your name out there.  Also if you are doing review work for them you can get some great swag in terms of DVD’s and books…so even if you don’t get cash you get goodies. 

Don’t give up and keep believing in what you love.  That’s the best advice I can give.

I know you had a cancer scare and almost died. You’re such a hero to me. The fact you overcame it and are still around is an amazing feat. Far greater than anything else you’ve ever done. Would you say overcoming that gave you more motivation? More drive to live your life the way you want it?

I was just very lucky when it came to the cancer.  I got diagnosed early and while it took away my ability to have kids, it did give me a greater determination to enjoy life and be fearless when it came to going after the goals I’d set myself.  You just never know when you are going to be hit with something like that. 

I went to Comicon a week after I was diagnosed and I was determined to enjoy it.  It was my first time there and by god I had a great time.  The day after I got back I had surgery.  Fandom helped me through recovery (Doctor Who specifically.)  The things we love have a way of helping us through tough times.  It sounds silly to people who aren’t fans, but these shows and films, the books and worlds we can escape to give us strength.  They are part of who we are and they are always there for us. 

 If you could give advice to someone reading this right now, who’s thinking, “I wish I could do that.” What would you say? How would you inspire them to fight for their dreams?

Just that, fight for your dreams.  I went to High School in a tiny town in Southern Illinois.  My graduating class was less than 18 people.  Never in a million years would I have thought I would be doing this way back then. 

Don’t give up and be fearless.  Don’t ever forget you’re you.  Hold onto that.

Ok almost done! Feel free to pimp your stuff here. Anything you want, so we can go stalk you like glowing fangirls and boys! Hook the readers up with links and info!

Well what I have going on :) 

I’m going to be on the Women In Horror panel at the Geek Girl Con in Seattle, WA next month.

Fangirl will have a new radio show on FM Syndication starting this fall.  We’ll have guests for interviews as well as my fellow Fangirls and I babbling about this, that, and John Barrowman’s hot ass (well, I’m sure there will be other things but priorities are important.)   You’ll even be able to Skype or call in and talk to us.  And as always  is still going :) 

I’m working on a new book that will be published sometime in early 2013 about the history of horror on television. 

I'm co-hosting Delamorte's Dungeon Of Deadly Delights which is on every Thursday night along side Rob Delamorte and Barb Breese. We interview members of the horror world.

HorrorHound of course is always busy busy. We’ve got a November convention coming up with the cast of The Walking Dead and a show in March that has details yet to be announced. 

Thank you once again for joining me on my crazy ride! You’re totally a Monster Maven! Keep bringing the horror luv!


  1. Okay, that's it. I'm firing up the Time Toilet and stealing her life. :P

  2. thank you for introducing me to Jessica & HH

    horror reading is sexy

  3. that's my sis...great going:) lee ann

  4. Well done, very interesting read. We need more gals around like this fo' sho!


Feel free to leave a comment! Everyone loves comments! How will I know you visited without a comment? Just be respectful please.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...