Why I Write the Scary…
From the time I first picked up Comes the Blind Fury, by John Saul I was hooked. I was babysitting with a friend and the couple had a fabulous library to explore. I didn’t want to read it, it made me shiver inside, but it also kept me coming back for more. Then I, of course, discovered Stephen King, after glimpses of Salem’s Lot on TV, my parents didn’t know I’d snuck down to watch. I figured if he could scare me that bad, his books had to be better. And they were.
My cousins had cable, something my Mom refused to get until the later years and oh, the fright fests we had. The movie, The Hand, is still as memorable as Carrie, Fright Night, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Bodysnatchers, The Stepford saga and on. Where movies left off, books became my pals. Harlan Ellison, Joe R. Lansdale, Robert McCammon, Peter Straub, Tanith Lee, Shirley Jackson were a cold tap on the spine to read.
Now, I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with the darkside, I hardly watch today’s horror as it’s a bit too graphic for me, plus the nightmares still linger. Zombies. Vampires. Ghosts. Demons. Anti-Christ’s etc. But I still love to read. The funny thing is, when I started to write, I wrote light-hearted stories, funny, and contemporary pieces. They didn’t pull at me and I struggled to figure out why. One day, on a suggestion of a friend, I turned my tale into something chilling. I couldn’t believe the difference it made in my writing.
Instead of fighting myself on the page, I began to type faster; scenes came to me in dreams. I began to seek out the nuts & bolts of the scary side. What I found sharpened my tools and now, when someone says the love the way I grab a reader by the throat with my stories, I laugh with delight. It took a long road to get me here, but I’m glad I took the detours so that I could figure out what was right for me.
Now, maybe horror’s not your thing. Maybe those lighthearted stories are. Good for you. You’ve found your niche. I just happen to like to wade into the nightmares and bring my characters back out (if I can). During this journey of discovery these past years, I’ve found that terror works best for me. I’ve found first person is my chosen narrator. And I’ve found that I like to scare people with my tales. Most important, I’ve come to believe in myself and what I can do through the help of a group of wonderful ladies.
They don’t mind when I go deep, in fact, the encourage me to go deeper and bring the horror to the surface more. Now days, I just smile when someone gives me the compliment that my stories are creepy, because that’s exactly what I’m aiming for. Just like when I first picked up Comes the Blind Fury, I want to touch a reader and show that darkness, though something to fear, can be overcome by the light. Just as Bela Lugosi once spoke of the children of the night, I want to entertain, thrill, and welcome the reader back out of the tale again, wiser, and ready to do battle with their own demons in life.