By Jordan Gerdes
I was fortunate enough to come across Claire on Twitter and ended up following her, which is how I came across her fantastic debut “I Am Not Your Final Girl”. I knew within the first page that this author was so driven and creative, finding a common means to discuss real issues that our society has tended to sweep under the rug. When I began developing this interview series, I knew I had to have her be a part of it, because she is doing something really different within horror with her writing. I hope you all enjoy her words, and I cannot recommend her book enough.
FoF: First and foremost, tell us about yourself!
My name is Claire C. Holland, and I’m a freelance writer and poet. I love dissecting
horror films and the many ways they intersect with and explore societal mores and
taboos. My debut book of poetry, I Am Not Your Final Girl, a book of poems from the
perspectives of various final girls from horror cinema, came out in 2018.
FoF: What do you do? And why do you like it?
Writing about horror is my passion—I write articles and editorials on horror film, as well
as horror poetry—but at this point it’s more of a hobby than a job. The bread and butter
of my freelance writing business is legal writing, such as textbooks, webinars, and
newsletters related to employment law and sexual harassment. I wouldn’t say the law is a
passion of mine, but I certainly appreciate the context it gives to everything I write. I’ve
realized as I’ve gotten older that understanding our existing laws and how the legal
system works (or, just as often, doesn’t work) is vital if you want to change almost
anything in our society. So much of horror is about confronting and pushing societal
norms, and I think this goes perfectly in hand with an understanding of the law.
FoF: Explain a little bit of your process? Where do you find your inspiration?
I’m inspired by whatever is driving me at that moment; it might be an idea or an emotion,
or an image that’s stuck in my mind that I have to explore and write about. I’m inspired
by current events, pop culture, and obviously horror movies. In regard to writing the
poems for I Am Not Your Final Girl, a lot of the time I already had a direction for a poem
in mind—a scene in a movie that stuck out to me as being indicative of a larger point, or
even just a moment that meant something to me—but other times I needed to watch the
movie again to get into the right mindset and figure out exactly what I wanted to say
through that particular story and character. For other poems, I had to do research to give
the film more context and ensure that I was seeing the character clearly. Overall, I just
tried to get into the heads of the characters and see what that brought out in me.
FoF: What drew you to horror in the first place?
I think horror is simply an incredible genre. Horror often doesn’t get the respect it
deserves, but I love that we’re living in a horror boom right now and as a society we’re
beginning to acknowledge how important and relevant these stories are. I don’t think any
other genre explores the gray areas in life as well as horror—the moral ambiguities and
the dark and light inside all of us—and I think that’s essential right now, especially with
everything going on in the world politically and otherwise. Horror lets us confront the
ugliest parts of ourselves and others and still have empathy for one another.
FoF: What is your favorite horror work? (Movie, Show, Art, Book, whatever you want)
It has to be a movie, and there are too many movies for me to name them all, but
currently my favorite horror films are: Hereditary (2018), Green Room (2015), The Witch
(2015), and Evil Dead (2013). I’m a bit of a slut for A24, if you couldn’t tell!
FoF: What has been your favorite thing you have gotten to work on doing this?
It’s been incredible getting to know people within the horror community. Growing up, I
knew almost no one who was interested in horror, and it always felt like an odd thing about myself that I probably shouldn’t talk about too much. Now, I have an entire
community of friends and acquaintances to talk horror with! It’s been truly gratifying to
meet other people, especially women, who share my strange obsessions and see the world
through a similar lens.
FoF: What role do you think your specific style of work plays in the community overall?
That’s a big question, and one I’m not sure I feel qualified to answer. My hope is that I
Am Not your Final Girl empowers women in general, and particularly those women
working within the horror genre, in whatever form that may take. I’d like women to know
they aren’t alone in feeling sad or angry about how women are treated, historically and
still today. On another note, I hope my poems show readers who aren’t necessarily drawn
to poetry that it can be an accessible art form, and one capable of eliciting strong, visceral
emotion. Poems don’t always need to be decoded or puzzled through, which is a
misconception that I think turns a lot of people off of poetry before they’ve even tried it.
FoF: Anything you are working on that you want to highlight?
I’m currently working on a follow-up to I Am Not Your Final Girl, so readers can keep an
eye out for that or join the mailing list on my website if they’d like to receive updates.
Other than that, I sometimes write about horror for DailyGrindhouse.com, and you can
keep up to date on those articles either through my Twitter or my website.
FoF: Anything else you’d like to say/add?
Nope, just thank you so much for having me!
I want to thank Claire Holland for wanting to do this interview, as well as for her writing. I Am Not Your Final Girl has been a favorite I have returned to ultiple times this past year.
She also has a fantastic website, www.clairecholland.com