Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Darkness In My Fiction

In almost every review and any feedback my fiction receives, there is the reference to darkness. Yes, it's fair--more than. Sometimes I wonder where that darkness comes from.

I said (and say) characters live in my head. Even if I'm not writing about them or thinking about them consciously, I know they're there, lurking.

Even as a child I saw the world had horror in it. I read some books when I was probably too young to have read them. My mother was on the lookout for books with sexual themes. She wasn't aware I was reading other sorts of books like Exodus and 1984. I read those when I was 11 and 12. Not good.

But I also read Nancy Drew and I loved it, but between Nancy Drew solving mysteries and my second guessing her, there was something else happening. I was seeing life beyond the comfort of my very loving and happy childhood home and I was thinking about it.

As an adult I am even more focused on the world around me. I always say how can I not write horror when there is horror all around me? Serial killers, matricide, patricide, homicide, infanticide, wars, disease, domestic violence, terrorism...see what I mean? I don't focus on these things too much. I don't have to, just having an awareness is enough.

The darkest novel I have written is my newest release,
Circus of Horrors. The characters are full of evil and pain. Evil and pain--do they go together, did one cause the other? Does it matter?

If severe physical child abuse produced vicious, disfigured children that grew up to become homicidal maniacs should that have been expected by society? I think the answer is yes. But that begs the question, how would society know until these damaged individuals did something?

I try not to dwell on the negative too much because life is hard enough. Still, when I sit at my laptop, these fully formed characters and partially formed ones begin to speak to me. When they become whole human beings, they give me the story.

We are all products of our environment. If horror didn't exist I wouldn't write about it. A friend of mine said it's a release for me. It is. But it's not fully released because there remains something of each and every character left behind in my internal self.

If you read my fiction, know that I am telling you not only my characters' stories, I am showing you my story, too. Life affects every writer out there. How each one of us deals with it, becomes our fiction. And because we all differ, we all write different things, that's the way I see it.


  1. You probably know of Stephen King's anecdote about writing horror being akin to growing hair or nails. It's just something that has to get out. When I started reading King in my teens I stopped having nightmares (on the whole). Maybe there's some truth in what he said.

  2. Thank so much for that!
    I do agree with what King said. Yes, it's good for it to come out very cathartic.
    i started writing serious horror a number of years after the experience of a very bad marriage.
    There is a lot of truth in what King said.