I Heart Monsters
I’ve always been asked why I choose to write horror. Now that my first novel, Still Dark, is out, it’s a fair question to consider. Usually, it’s asked by people who would much prefer I write something pleasant. My mother, for instance. It’s a question that comes with a fundamental misunderstanding of how the creative process works, at least in my case.
The truth is, I don’t really have much of a choice. Sure, I’m the one in control of the how, but not so much the what. First or third person, experimental or straightforward, these are the things I can make clear, concise choices on. These are the things I play with, tweak, and generally try to get better at. But all of that is just method. All I have are what the magic things that float around above my head choose to drop into it, and that’s almost always horror.
So, the better question might not be why do I choose to write horror, but rather, why do you only come up with horror or variations thereof? That’s a genuinely interesting thing to consider.
Maybe my home life. Maybe being the youngest child for most of my life. Maybe being an introvert. No one’s personality is a simple equation, but the mixture of personality and environment made me into a little daydreamer who loved all things spooky. I used to tear through any kid-friendly short story horror collection I could find.
Maybe it was the monsters. I love monsters, always have. It’s the reason I was fascinated by Beowulf while everyone else was rolling their eyes in English Lit. Just imagine what Grendal’s Mother looked like! To this day, I lie awake in bed at night, thinking of new combinations of parts like a kid with a messed up lego set.
“What if the teeth were on the bottom of the feet?!”
I’ve always adored monsters for all the reasons that we (humans) have loved them.
Maybe it’s just because being scared is a hell of a lot of fun. It makes us all feel alive, knowing how close we might be to being dead. It’s the top of the hill on a roller coaster. The knock on the door of the supposedly haunted house in your neighborhood, moments before you run away, your lungs burning. It’s (I can only assume) the sick feeling in your stomach when you look out the door of the plane you’re about to jump out of.
Sure, there are other reasons, but do you really need them? I could go on and on about how horror reveals a deeper truth about human nature, about how monsters reflect the world around us, about how horror changes to uncover the fears of every generation. All of these things are true, and interesting to consider, but it doesn’t change the simple fact that this shit is just plain fun.
So, for all my current and hopefully future readers, please, dig deep. Study and discuss my books with friends (please!). Psychoanalyze your favorite writers, and try to find the truth hiding under the covers. Pick at those loose strands until they come to pieces. For horror fans, you’re just doing what comes naturally.
But don’t forget…sometimes, us writers are just doing what comes naturally too.
When a thunderous explosion rocks an idyllic cabin resort in the Great Smoky Mountains, animals and humans alike begin to act strange. Jim, along with his wife Laura and son, Sam, are cut off from the outside world, but they soon realize the true nightmare is just beginning…
Deep in the snow-covered woods, something is waiting. The creature calls itself Apex, and it’s a traveler. Reading the minds of those around it, Apex brings the terrifying fears hidden in the human psyche to life with a singular purpose: to kill any that stand in its way.
Locked in a fight for their lives, Jim, and his family must uncover the truth behind Apex, and stop the creature from wreaking a horrifying fate upon the rest of the world!