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Dancing With Irish Monsters: WIHM Interview With A Boss of Horror Iseult Murphy

Hello everyone! This is a historical day for me. Not only am I conducting my first author interview, but it's my first Women In Horror Month Interview. I'm so pleased and excited to be interviewing such an interesting person. So without further ado, let's hop in.

Hi, I’m Iseult. I love writing, reading and watching horror, fantasy and science fiction. I have two collections of short stories available for purchase on Amazon. I post book reviews and writing updates on my blog, and I love connecting with others on twitter. I’m so excited to be collaborating with Julia for Women in Horror Month.

Julia: What influence does your part of Ireland have on your stories?

Iseult: I live on the east coast of Ireland, north of the capital city, Dublin, in an area historically called the Pale, where English rule was strongest during colonial times. I also live very near the border with Northern ireland. I have ancestors who had to hide in the mountains from the Black and Tans, and I know people who were held hostage by the IRA. Traveling to Northern Ireland with my father when I was a child was a terrifying experience. The car would be surrounded by soldiers with huge guns, and I could see snipers hiding at the side of the road. When you are a child, all these things seem normal. You don’t realize that people have different experiences. Perhaps it is only natural with this background that I’ve always been fascinated with mythology and horror. I think this has had a huge influence on my writing. There are a lot of monsters in my work, especially characters being rescued from one monster by an even worse one.

Julia: Are there any scary folk tales from Ireland that have influenced you? Will you tell one most people outside of Ireland don't know about?

Iseult: There are lots. Growing up, my mother used to tell me scary ghost stories that left me wanting to see a ghost! A lot of folk tales concern the witching hour between midnight and one in the morning, and how unwise it is to venture out on the roads during that time. My favourite tale is the Amadhan, who apparently walks the roads at night during the month of August, laughing. He wears a black suit and a black hat. Anyone who sees him goes mad. I always found that terrifying.

Julia: Why do you like to use animals in your stories? What are their significance?

Iseult: I love animals! I’ve always found them easier to understand than humans. In fact, for at least four years in my childhood I tried to live as a wolf. I’m very drawn to the wolf and the panther or lion. I couldn’t understand why being a werewolf was a bad thing! In my stories, wolves are the pinnacle of love, loyalty and intelligence. Horses are strength. Eagles are freedom and rebellion. Lions are power that is hard to control. 

Julia: What circumstances do you need, if any, to write horror? Ex: Does it need to be daylight? Do you need to feel safe first? Does it even bother you? 

Iseult: Great question! I find it very easy to write horror. It is how my brain works. I see the horrific potential of every situation, and at night I have nightmares which often make good horror stories! 

Julia: Many people say all subjects can be tapped in horror, but for you, are there any that are taboo? Why? 

Iseult: For me, horror is a way to better understand life. I think that is where horror and mythology intersect for me. Myths and fairy tales and folk tales are all ways to understand real events and universal truths of the human condition, and my interest in horror is connected to that reality. How do you act in extreme circumstances? How do you handle the darkness within you? How do you cope with the preternatural? These are all important topics for me, and I use horror to explore these topics. So, in that sense, there are no taboo subjects. However, I’m not interested in horror that fetishizes torture or misfortune to others. Horror that has no deeper meaning or brings greater understanding to life, that is just to titillate or disgust, is dangerous to me, because it can become an addiction and then more and more extreme steps must be taken to be satisfying.

Julia: Bonus question! Do you believe in malignant spirits? If so, what steps do you take to protect yourself?

Iseult: Yes, I do. I am a Catholic, so I rely on Sacramentals such as Holy Water and the Miraculous Medal to protect me, as well as prayer. I have been protected many times from malignant spirits by calling on my guardian angel and the benevolent spirits.

Julia: This has been an extremely riveting experience, Iseult, thank you for coming on my blog today. 

Readers, Iseult has interviewed me, too. Click here to reach it. She's asked me about mythology and we talk about monsters.

Be sure to read her works, which are as smooth as skating on ice. Happy Women In Horror Month!

You can click on Iseult's links up top, or you can stay down here and visit her pages.


  1. It was fun getting to know Ms. Murphy better. Interesting about her childhood and wolves. I don't know if there are such things as spirit animals, but if there are, then surely hers is a wolf.


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