I love reading and I enjoy a good movie but I have a secret. Horror stories movies scare the hell out of me or put the hell into me. When I was a child or even at the young adult stage I could have covered it up as a normal pubescent quirk that you would grow out of.
Now I am a grown adult with offspring of my own so it’s hard to explain why my brain doesn’t understand the level of make believe or fantasy that came from another human’s brain into the arts to me. I internalize it. I dream about it and it remains in my psyche for weeks: crawling under my skin long after the television has been turned off and the book returned to its shelf.
So why care?
Well, I like to watch movies with my husband. When I choose a movie he muddles through it without complaining and I would like to return the favor. Instead of always screaming, “Oh my gosh, that’s what you want to watch,” or watching it and filching, squirming, complaining or pretending to fall asleep because I am hiding the fact that I haven’t developed the ability to conceptualize the images in my brain like others seem to have. So I blame the other person who could watch a horror flick and not flinch for having a lack of taste in movies instead of dealing with it.
It took me a while to figure out that I needed to watch the movie or read the book to the end so that I wouldn’t spend too much time imagining the different ways that it could have ended. Once I see it through I would only have one scenario to ponder and obsess over.
I still think Exorcist is very scary. It was scary for its time and still is. You will understand why I broke my rule and didn’t finish it. I watched The Ring once, never again. Jaws still make me shiver when I put my foot in the ocean (and no I never go out swimming to far). Movies like SAW, Scream and the Texas Chain Saw Massacre is not on my watching or reading list. Silence of the Lamb was watchable and readable, Predator and even Se7en too. 28 Days later was strangely too much to bear. I may have been able to make Nightmare on Elm Street (all of them) but didn’t try. The Thing, crawling and gushing violently out, not on my list to watch again. I remember filching in the end when the last thing was a light. Thank you for a reprise. Final Destination was eerie much like The Others. Dawn of the Dead, no I haven’t seen any. I didn’t watch Omen (children in Horror make me queasy) but I did watch IT, which I refer to as “Kiss me again fat boy.” If I had to pin point a show that started this entire psychosis it may actually be IT. So I watched IT again a few years ago and I released that it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Someone should make it over with better effects and I am sure it will continue to scare without prejudice.
With the special effects of the twentieth century I abandoned horror altogether because it was becoming too realistic and my psyche just couldn’t endure. Much because is due to my overactive imagination (code for wimp).
When I became a parent I got caught up in the world of Disney and cartoons before I went back to grown up programming. The closest thing I get to horror these days is True Blood – the last season I watched was season four. Watching a crazy vampire flick makes me zone in on too many necks while I am in a normal conversation and at night, I am always looking for a sudden attack by a stranger or friend. So yes I abandoned that too and any other horror flick in between.
Other than watching World War Z recently (yes I flinched). I have to say that Criminal Minds is wonderfully creepy and psychotic without having to commit to a Horror experience. So it got me to thinking. What if I wrote something creepy and eerie without delving into the being scared out of your wits realm?
I wanted to write something simple enough so I chose a haunted house with the genre being a Romance Horror. At first I thought of a couple moving into a haunted house and being provoked by a ghost but Beetle Juice did that already. So I opted to having the house stay haunted but let the male character be the ghost and love interest be the woman who moves in.
The task was to make it sexy without losing the eerie feeling you get when you think. What she’s crushing on a ghost? Well crushing and a little bit more (wicked grin). After a couple of rewrites I found a back story that I was comfortable with, which made intimacy possible and I created a villain that I am proud of.
As I wrote I got braver. I kept saying to my fingers, you know it could be a little scarier for impact. Maybe the characters don’t have to be all good or bad. You can put in some ulterior motives and gave someone a dark side. My happy ending was also pulled apart as I needed to leave an eerie feeling with readers when they closed the book.
The more I wrote, the more I got comfortable with being true to the character even if it meant putting them at more risk. Which is what others writers do. If you have a Zombie character you can’t let him drink tea and discuss his feelings. He has to scare and evoke terror and maybe even bring the plague to thousands. As a writer with my new found bravery (it’s not bravery just yet but it feels good so I call it that). My New Horror Romance, The Ghost at 1 Cheshill Lane is a soft horror based in the Caribbean. It is available on Amazon and Smashwords) but I feel inspired now to write something that can really be classified as a Horror.
I’m just kidding. I’ll write myself into a nightmare if I go further.
I hope you enjoy the book.
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