Ginger Nuts of Horror
Kelly Charron is the author of YA and adult horror, psychological thrillers and urban fantasy novels. All with gritty, murderous inclinations and some moderate amounts of humor. She spends far too much time consuming true crime television (and chocolate) while trying to decide if yes, it was the husband, with the wrench, in the library. Kelly has a degree in English Literature as well as a Social Work degree. She has worked as a hairstylist, youth outreach worker and education assistant. She lives with her husband and cat, Moo Moo, in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I love all things creepy, terrifying and dark. My first loves are thrillers, horror and urban fantasy (but I make exceptions of course, especially with my obsession with all things Harry Potter, though they definitely have some darkness in them). I hate exercise but occasionally force myself to hike or walk. I’m a TV addict and have weened myself down from a solid six hours a day to a respectable two. I love reading and creating whether it be writing, crafting, painting and still doing hair on the side.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I watch all the TV, spend time with my husband and needy cat, Moo, and read. I scroll through Facebook and Twitter (I have yet to get Instagram because I barely take pictures). I also enjoy napping. My perfect day would be: wake up, scroll social media, eat, watch Supernatural, The Walking Dead and some true crime TV, then I’d read followed by a long nap.
Wake up and repeat. Bliss.
Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
Urban fantasy and paranormal. I love ghosts, witches and parallel dimensions. I love anything psychological and dissecting human motivation. I always explore what makes people do the things they do, especially delving into how well people really know each other and themselves. I think some people are in denial about the kind of people they are, often shining an enhanced light on themselves to cope because facing our flaws can be difficult. I love characters that don’t shy away from their weaknesses and find a way to turn them into strengths.
I’ve also been inspired by mystery and suspense genre (all forms from books to film and TV) and love the way these, often complex, stories are woven into a rich thrilling, drama.
Can you tell us about your childhood fears
I find this question quite interesting because I was a very neurotic and needy child. My poor parents! I had a very active imagination and turned normal, everyday occurrences into an ordeal. By the age of eight, I was sure I had cancer (I had watched a news clip of a boy with leukemia. Widespread bruising was a reported symptom and for weeks I’d show my parents every mark on body as proof of how ill I was). Next was the dreaded swallowing of the tongue. Yes, you heard that right. Again, I overheard someone somewhere say (mind you this was over twenty-five years ago) that you had to be careful with people who had epilepsy because they could “swallow their tongue” during a seizure. Well, I do not and never did have epilepsy or seizures, but hell if I didn’t sit, heart pounding in anticipation, with my tongue in between my teeth for three days straight because, damn it, my tongue was not going to go down my throat.
Not all my fears were bodily. I worried pretty regularly about death. Mine, other peoples. I worried about getting lost or being kidnapped, strangers taking me or my sister away from our parents, drowning (which incidentally almost happened to me once), and natural disasters. I know what you’re thinking, but I assure you, I really was a fun and carefree kid. During the day anyway. Most of my anxieties manifested at night. I’d be tough as nails when the sun was still out but come night fall, I’d be balled up under a blanket terrified of whatever boogey man was surely on his way. I loved to be scared and so I’d watch movies that I had no business watching and then would freak out in the few hours before bed.
I remember one evening, I think I was eight or nine, my mom and dad had friends over. I got out of bed and hovered outside the living room—as I often did. I suppose I always enjoyed observing human interaction (or I was a little snoop). My mom always knew I was lurking and called me in. She read my face in two seconds flat, in the powerful, all-knowing way only mothers can, and asked me what was wrong. I was stoic for about five or six minutes and then the dam broke. See, I’d watched a Nightmare on Elm Street earlier that day and was certain that Freddy Krueger was about to climb up the side of my house to get me in my second-floor bedroom. He’d stick the blades attached to his gloves in the mortar between the bricks and crawl up the side as easily as if he was Spiderman. I was over my fear of him a few days later, but some creepy images stayed with me much longer.
Namely, the character Regan MacNeil, who I still can’t look at when I’m flipping through the channels and see that The Exorcist is on. It absolutely scared the crap out of me. Still does. But this phobia isn’t all my doing. Okay, so I watched it of my own volition when I was somewhere between ten and eleven. It was disturbing (even for adults at the time of its release) so what child wouldn’t be traumatized? However… I grew up Catholic and had a very, very religious grandmother. I knew I shouldn’t be watching it, but there I was (possibly with my older sister, though I can’t recall for sure) glued to the TV in fixated horror. I was so captivated by the story and the special effects that I couldn’t turn it off. I don’t even think I watched any of it through my fingers despite being beside myself frightened. I was so greatly disturbed by it, that I couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks. Finally, I saw my grandmother for a visit. What better person to put my mind at ease that her? She would reassure me that Jesus loved me and this wasn’t factual and could never happen in real life! I would feel better in no time!
It went something like this:
Me: “I watched a movie about a little girl who was possessed by the devil and now I’m so scared that it’s going to happen to me. Can it really happen?” (Any minute, loving words or reassurance).
Grandma: “Anyone can become possessed by Satan.”
Me: *eyes wide + mouth open*
Grandma: “You won’t be though, so don’t worry. Only people who think about Satan can allow him in. When you think of him, you give him power and then he can take over.”
Me: Internal screaming sounded something like… She said don’t think about Satan and now that’s all I can do. I can’t get him out of my mind. He’d going to possess me. OH MY GOD!!!!!!
Needless to say, the phobia of being possessed by a demon had begun and while I’ve refused to watch The Exorcist over the last twenty odd years, I have watched other similar movies, though not many. I’ve mostly come out unscathed—until The Conjuring. That one was a close second. Any time these lovely film folks place the “BASED ON TRUE EVENTS” tag on it, I’m terrified and all in, spending days researching every morsel of information from the real events. I suppose I love to be scared or else I wouldn’t do this to myself.
One thing I have noticed is that it takes a lot to frighten me now. My theory on this is because I began exposing myself to thrillers and horror at a young age, I’m somewhat desensitized to a lot of it at this point. Plus, it’s getting more difficult to be truly surprised and it makes my day when I am. I still love every minute. I still jump and get nervous, but I don’t freak out—except for The Exorcist and The Conjuring (which I also REFUSE to watch a second time). I can watch everything else alone at midnight and fall asleep like a baby.
My childhood fears and penchant for anxiety and obsessive worry have definitely shaped how I write. I am a very positive person, though my mind has a tendency to always goes to the worst-case scenario. Always has. Husband is late and not answering his phone. He must have had a horrible accident and is trapped on the side of the road. Small creaking noise when I’m drifting off to sleep. Ghost (completely logical) or crazy serial killer about to break into my bedroom. Front door was left unlocked for a few hours. There’s got to be someone hiding in one of the closets waiting for the perfect time to strike. My imagination is always churning. What to do except become a writer.
Books were a huge influence on me as well, especially the scary ones (obviously). I can still remember reading The Shining by Stephen King in tenth grade. I was completely creeped out but couldn’t put it down. King sucked me right into the middle of this isolated hotel with Jack and the whole family. I literally held my breath reading, I was so tense. When it was over, I knew I wanted to do it all again.
I hope to evoke similar emotions and experiences with my books. The experiences of being scared as a child, and having fun with that fear, helped shape my love of the dark and creepy. I believe that’s why I write thrillers and horror. I just want to help create the same safe sense of dread that I had growing up. Maybe one day some will tell me that one of my books scared the hell out of them when they were young. That would make my day.
The daughter of a local police detective, 15-year-old Ryann has spent most of her life studying how to pull off the most gruesome murders her small Colorado town has ever seen.
But killing is only part of it. Ryann enjoys being the reason the cops are frenzied. The one who makes the neighbors lock their doors and windows on a hot summer’s day. The one everyone fears but no one suspects.
Carving out her own murderous legacy proves harder than she predicted. Mistakes start adding up. And with the police getting closer, and her own father becoming suspicious, Ryann has to prove once and for all that she’s smarter than anyone else—or she’ll pay the ultimate price.