On Writing Horror: A Look Behind the Scenes of The 13 series

“You’re such a sweet, sugary unicorn, your dark side is a bit of shock.”

I hear this quite often. I daresay if you knew me in real life, you would never suspect I wrote horror unless I told you.

Does a horror author have a certain look? That might be your first thought, but look how many of the serial killers of our times (Tom Bundy, for example) were actually good looking humans (in a totally trusting, non-creepy way)?

So this would probably mean my personality. I’m all about the unicorns, the dragons, purples, pinks, green-blue hues. You pop onto my page expecting something darker, don’t you?

Gore and blood, headless corpses, almost anything BUT bright colors and unicorns, amiright?

perhaps you were expecting something more like this?

I hope that’s not disappointing. Writing horror is only what my imagination comes up with. In real life, I’m a fraidy-cat. I won’t even go in Ripley’s Haunted whatever. All those plans for overnight ghost tours? Yeah, canceled.

Like I said, huge chicken. My family begs me to go to the amusement park Halloween celebration, but… I won’t. They can go and tell me all about it, but me? No. I’ll stay home, safe from any new nightmares.

You see, while I claim my books and stories are horror, to me they aren’t. Maybe that’s because there’s a difference between horror and scary. Scary is meant to make you jump—the Michael Myers, the Jason Voorhees, the Freddy Kruegers, the boogeyman, the evil tooth fairy—which is what all these fun events are that my family seeks. If scary is what you’re after, I daresay my stories won’t satisfy you.

I read a lot of Stephen King growing up. A smidge of Koontz, a dabble of Saul, but mostly Stephen King. If you read Stephen King, who is considered the MASTER of horror, I think you’ll agree that with exception, his stuff is definitely more along the lines of horror than scary. I’ll even classify It as horror vs scary.

You need to understand why. To do that, I suggest you run over to this post at The Conversation, read it, and come back.

You’ll probably find a few “cheap tricks” within the pages of my horror books, but mostly they are responses to writing prompts that my on-going “what if” imagination turns dark. These are stories I mean to linger with you, make you think about next time you make a potty stop at a public rest stop (upcoming book) or look over your shoulder when an unexpected noise occurs in your house (my daily life with 3 cats), and you’re home alone. Stories like Send in the Clowns (Macabre) that is really about how the brain can snap in an instant, and unforeseen realities can shatter. It’s the answer to “what if a song got stuck in my head and literally drove me crazy?”

It’s even better if you listen to creepy music box tunes while you read it.

It’s my goal to take your what if and turn into a worst case scenario, to remind you that life isn’t a bed of roses and rainbows after a storm.

I prey on my own fears and bring them to life in my writing. But my writing is not all about that. Remember, I’m a speculative fiction author, so stretching your imagination is a part of the game too.

Does magic really exist? Can someone really cast a spell or put a curse on someone else or is it just foul play by demons? Demons are everywhere, you know. Did the gods of mythology really exist? What if vampires walked among us every day, or those old fashioned customs like Maypole dancing (Illusory) really were sacrificial rites served to protect against the lycan?

What if an island could avoid natural disasters like hurricanes and tsunamis because of one special person (Matilda, Tales of Macabre)?

What if the battle between life and death occurred between realms? Could you walk with death (Off to Never Neverland, Macabre) if it meant saving someone else?

What if someday marine scientists discovered there really were pixies who lived underwater?

Come explore all the what ifs with me. Grab your copies of The 13: Tales of Illusory and Tales of Macabre now while they are $.99. I promise at least one of the stories will stick with you long after you’ve finished reading.

This post is part of the October Frights Blog Hop. You can follow the rest of the blog hop here:

This post is also part of The 13: Tales of Macabre Book Blog Tour. Click the image for tour stops and details.

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  1. Haha! I haven’t gone into Ripley’s either. I keep daring myself, but my daughter is so against it, it never happens. She freaks out if she even see’s a Ripley’s book cover.