Ginger Nuts of Horror
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
Horror Scribes is a repository for horror fiction.
We started out a couple of years ago as a new-age campfire around which horror fans would gather and share their tales of the macabre. We grew, and this is a common trend among horror blogs, into a tight-knit community of users who turn out at every campground event with the sole purpose of scaring the hell out of each other.
Our events consist mainly of competitions that we constantly run on the blog. Each, of course, with a variety of themes aimed at wringing the creative lifeblood out of our followers. And, also, pretty neat prizes.
When did you first know you loved horror and why do you love it so much?
There doesn’t seem to be a time when I wasn’t a horror fan.
I’m the youngest of 3. My elder siblings are both horror fans. Both are way older than me. And both were terrible at babysitting.
By the time I was 10 I had watched The Exorcist, Alien and, my personal favourite, the 1979 Salem’s Lot mini-series.
I’ve followed, studied, and dissected the genre as I’ve grown older.
And the main reason I love horror is because of what it tells me of its audience.
Fear, in its essence, is contextual. I’m not talking about jolts, which is a cheap trick that anyone can use to elicit a reaction. I’m talking about pure undiluted fear that lingers long after that last page is turned. Fear has always been a reaction to what is smothering in the zeitgeist of any given time. Good horror exploits (and explores) that Fear. Good horror exposes contemporary shortcomings; social, cultural or historical. Good horror strips its audience bare, defenceless and forces it to LOOK. And good horror is what we celebrate at Horror Scribes.
The term horror, especially when applied to fiction always carries such heavy connotations. What’s your feeling on the term “horror” and what do you think we can do to break past these assumptions?
This only applies to films. We’ve moved past these assumptions when it comes to writing around the time the second Mrs De Winter went to Manderley again. Films, on the other hand, have pinned horror into a clichéd and formulaic mess which has resulted in 8 Saw and 4 Insidious films.
And it’s easy to pinpoint why when you look at how horror is used in the two mediums. In films, horror drives the plot. This, unfortunately, often makes the latter feel contrived to accommodate the former.
In writing, horror informs the plot. It lurks and looms underneath it and exposes actions and motivations. This makes it a crutch rather than a peg in terms of narrative device and is the main reason why it doesn’t restrict the story as it seems to often do in films. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy horror films (I do. Massively). But they are the reason why the term horror is loaded with preconceived notions.
So here’s my advice to you, consumers of fiction, on how to challenge your own assumptions on what horror is and can be. Read John Ajvide Lindqvist’s “Let the right one in” and watch its film adaptation. They’re both examples of good horror but the film will tick boxes that you, as a viewer, will unconsciously expect to be ticked. The book, on the other hand, take you through seldom explored themes that are wholly unexpected. And these make the horror, when it emerges, utterly debilitating.
A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?
We’ve unfortunately gone back a few decades on this.
I’ve mentioned above that horror has always been a reaction to what is smothering in the zeitgeist of any given era. And this current one, unfortunately, has shades of the 40s and the 60s. Eras where horror would reflect shambling, rambling masses turning on one another while desperately looking for brains and following powerful leeches at the top. This is what horror will tackle in the next few years and I, for one, can’t wait for it to satirise and dissect this climate.
What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?
I’ve grown up reading authors like Clive Barker, Susan Hill and Ramsey Campbell. The one who stands above all for me, however, is Stephen King.
I can already hear the groans from some readers. Stephen King has, somehow, turned into a caricature of himself over the last decade, regardless of the fact that he has been back to form for a while now. I mentioned what I like about horror in one of the previous questions. Stephen King at his best, for me, hits all of the points that I made. He understands naked fear and exploits it.
It’s not the bloodsuckers of Salem’s Lot that we fear. It’s the underlying lies and weaknesses of small town America.
It’s not the Walking Dude that we fear in The Stand. It’s the choices that we, as a society, can and will make when backed against a wall.
It’s not Pennywise the clown that we fear. It’s… actually no. It’s Pennywise.
What new and upcoming authors do you think we should take notice of?
We feature new and upcoming authors on our blog quite regularly, so we couldn’t be so unfair as to pick one!
How would you describe your writing style?
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
Yes, the first one I ever received on Goodreads! Man talk about a confidence knock! But it is all part and parcel of being a writer.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
Definitely editing your own work, it gets really hard to stay objective when you’ve read your own work a dozen times!
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?
Hmm, that’s a good question. I guess probably a subject I didn’t feel knowledgeable in, so maybe science.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
Names for me have to be memorable but not ridiculous. I either choose the first thing that pops into my head or use an online name generator.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?
Don’t get it right, get it written!
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