These Women Should Scare (and Thrill) You…

What better way to celebrate Women’s History Month than to share women authors who scare the shit out of me?

Okay, so sometimes, it’s not straight-up terror that they inspire. Sometimes, it’s just heart-pounding action, relentless pacing, and the unraveling of a mystery so intense that I have to stay up all night reading until I finish the book (I’m looking at you, Tana French and In the Woods *side eye*).

There’s nothing faint or die away about these tales. Whether it’s the elegant psychological horror of Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger or the gut-wrenchingly gruesome moments in Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, these books go straight for the psychic jugular.

Who needs a king when you have queens?

I confess, I am not a fan of Stephen King. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate his craft, his sheer volume of production, and his insights into horror. I just…I can’t get into his stories.

The same goes for James Patterson and Dean Koontz. I enjoyed Robert McCammon’s Matthew Corbett series, but couldn’t really get into his other work.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t GREAT male writers of horror and mystery/thriller. There are. But, today, we’re taking the spotlight OFF men with mass media marketing machines behind them and putting the spotlight ON women who deserve to be household names, too.

Women authors aren’t strangers to the grisly and the ghoulish. They have been writing scary stories for centuries, despite being often constrained by the mores and style of the time (not to mention legal issues about receiving actual money for their work).

Let’s take a moment to be thankful to Anne Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, Charlotte Perkins Gillman, Anne Bannerman, Charlotte Brönte, and so many others…

Today, women have established their right to a seat at the table of police procedurals (Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta), private detective stories (Sue Grafton’s alphabetical adventures), and contributions to the sub-genres of crime/thriller by Lisa Jackson, Catherine Coulter, Allison Brennan, and so many others.

These women proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that our frail, fragile female hearts could more than stand the strain of writing and reading about the darkest, most deadly aspects of human nature. For this, we bow to our queens.

My own personal catalogue of nightmarish women

You may be familiar with my “Shelf of Fiction I Would Save in a Fire.” If not, let me fill you in. I didn’t get the nickname “Picky B*tch” because I’m a nice person and leave five-star reviews because I feel obligated. I don’t have so much a DNF (Did Not Finish) pile as much as I have a WNEHPIUITFP (Would Never Even Have Picked It Up In The First Place) pile.

That said, the fiction that I love and still respect in the morning, even if it gave me a book hangover, pretty much fits on one shelf (okay, maybe one-and-a-half). The following women hold places of honor on this shelf.

(There are other women authors I have on my Shelf of Fiction I Would Save in a Fire, but they’re not really grouped in the genre I’m talking about today).

So without further ado, here is a Cait Reynolds Catalogue Raisonné of some scary chicks and their scary writing!

women authors history horror fiction cait reynolds catalogue raisonne

Reading Links:

Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

In the Woods by Tana French

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Room by Emma Donohughe

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Visionist by Rachel Urquhart

Upcoming classes with me!

Join me on Friday to learn by the back story really is the book behind your book!


Instructor: Cait Reynolds
Price: $50.00 USD
Where: W.A.N.A. Digital Classroom
When: Friday, March 16, 2018. 7:00-9:00 p.m. EST

Behind every good book is an entire story that happens before the reader ever opens to page one. This is the backstory, and done right, it is what sets the stage, provides clues and cues, and rescues you from writer’s block.

A good backstory will help with logic and consistency in the plot, developing complex motivations for characters, and sorting out exactly what needs to happen going forward as you either plot or pants your way to the end.

This class will cover the following topics – and much more:

  • The elements of a backstory;
  • How to take your current plot idea and work backwards into a backstory;
  • Integrating character profiles and the backstory;
  • How the backstory relates to the logline and synopsis;
  • Using the backstory to dig yourself out of corners and shake off writer’s block;
  • Why a backstory is crucial to writing a series.

***A FREE recording is included with purchase.

About the Instructor:

Cait Reynolds is a USA Today Bestselling Author and lives in the Boston area with her husband and four-legged fur child. She discovered her passion for writing early and has bugged her family and friends with it ever since. When she isn’t cooking, running, rock climbing, or enjoying the rooftop deck that brings her closer to the stars, she writes.

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