Our fabulous co-hosts this month are: Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte. Make sure you stop by their sites and thank them for a job well done :)
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What do you love about the genre you write in most often?
When I write, I dive into some strange waters, a muddy mix of Southern Gothic, horror, classic ghost story and old folklore. I like to stir things up and see what climbs out. The easiest label for what I write is horror but I prefer the term Speculative Fiction. Speculative = "What if?" It's a wonderful genre, one that holds close all the imaginative literature of fantasy, science fiction, and horror and all the sub genres those encapsulate. I first discovered the term years ago while doing research on horror writing and it summed up what I thought of when I thought of horror: not blood, guts and gore but a deep exploration of the dark side of things that ultimately brings out the heroic in the ordinary.
I love writing horror because I love that exploration. I enjoy the thrills and chills of things that go bump in the night. I've always loved the rush of adrenaline you get when you're deep into a story and something happens - the author makes you JUMP, YELL, Throw the book across the room - and then you giggle, nervously, as you turn the page and try to maintain a sense of calm while you finish the chapter.
Horror is engaging. It forces the senses into overload. Fear is very palpable and our bodies going on hyper-alert. Our sense of smell is more sensitive, as are our eyes, ears, and skin. We start to pick up on things, subtle clues, and our primal instincts take over. That Sixth Sense some people joke about kicks in and we really are able to "feel" that something isn't "quite right".
I love the way a scary story haunts you, makes you think, makes you reconsider everyday things like cars, dogs, China dolls, and squirrels. These things are symbols, stand-ins for deeper truths that we, as humans, try to hide and forget. THAT'S what horror is really about: it's about bringing to light the frightening realities of real life in the guise of fiction, of something totally improbably, so that our human-ness can shine. So that we can realize that we aren't really the "other" but that our neighbors, our friends, our family members, even that customer who chewed you out because of something you didn't do are all a part of a bigger family, a bigger picture. The ghosts, the goblins, the creatures from our nightmares pull us together and make us realize our petty differences aren't worth the stress. Horror encourages us to band together against true evil, those forces out there that seek to separate and destroy, to control and annihilate.
Plus, it's just a lot of fun! Seriously. I love a good, scary book and I love closing it and having to turn on all the lights in the house just to go to the bathroom. I've finished books before and not been able to go past the refrigerator, the rocking chair, for fear of what might be hiding there. One story had me jumping as far out of the bed as I could at night because, hey, that hideous monster really could be under the bed. It could!
So tell me, what do YOU love about the genre you write most in? Why do you find yourself drawn to the same themes? It doesn't have to be anything deep or profound. Heck, you could just like it! At the end of the day, I love reading ghost stories, folklore and mythology, "true tales" of monsters and hauntings and murder mysteries. So if I enjoy reading them, why not write them?