Today’s interview, as part of Women in Horror Month is a little bit different, in that her major releases in her career have not been horror novels, or collections, but rather a pair (soon to be a trio) of non-fiction books on 19th Century shipwrecks.
So, why include her in this season of sisterly slaughter? Well, first of all, she’s one of the nicest people I know, and any chance to chat with her is a delight. Secondly, she’s one of the few FB writing buddies I’ve made over the years that I’ve actually met in meatspace. Thirdly, and most importantly, her non-fiction books are at least as harrowing and any fictional horror.
Ladies and gentleman… Gill Hoffs.
Kevin G. Bufton: It’s Women in Horror month, so I guess the first place to start is this: limitations of genre aside – do you classify yourself as a horror writer?
Gill Hoffs: I class myself as a writer first and foremost, and I write all sorts of things. Long, short, fact, fiction, the lot. Some of what I write, however, I would class as True Horror, and that includes The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the ‘Victorian Titanic’ (Pen & Sword, 2014, 2015) and The Lost Story of the William & Mary: The Cowardice of Captain Stinson (Pen & Sword, 2016). I feel very strongly that as someone who researches and writes about long-forgotten shipwrecks and the people involved with them, it would be dishonest and cowardly of me to shy away from the gory details. These poor sods experienced some truly awful events – skulls smashed or pierced by poles, noses torn off, hands and arms chopped with hatchets, giving birth while up to their waist in water on a sinking ship… If I choose to tell their story then it has to be warts and all, not some sanitised version with the rough stuff glossed over. What would be the point of that?