If you enjoy reading or writing within the horror genre or anything close to the paranormal, you were probably asked by a wimpy gool-a-phobe at one time or another, “Why do you read or write that? It’s so gross!” It’s a very typical question and I’ve been asked to explain my obsession with deathly thrillers more than once. It is a fair question.
Not everyone understands the genre. After all, we’re not all perfect; they’ll catch up eventually.
Give ‘em time.
At any rate, the answer has never puzzled me. In fact I can answer with one word: FEAR. That’s right. I write paranormal thrillers, because of fear. Does that surprise you? Perhaps I can clear things up.
After writing a third novel (not yet published) I realized that I am writing books that revolve around death and poltergeists and ghosts and dark secret societies. Oh, there are other themes and social issues included within those pages, but I was really taken aback by my observation. I didn’t set out to write horror stories or create characters whose skin wiggles with creepy crawlers; it just happened; it was what my stories required because of, enter the magic word, FEAR.
Fear is a very powerful and driving force in our lives, one that I feel all the time. Fear drives us to keep our doors locked at night. Fear is the reason we use those beepy key-fobs to lock our cars. It’s the reason people keep guns in their homes. And for the fabulously fearful type, fear is what keeps us awake at night when we hear the floor squeak for no apparent reason.
Fear has made shows like Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State extremely popular. Why? Because as a society we fear death, we fear illness, we fear monsters, we fear bankruptcy and out of control kids. We fear so many things, that we build our lives around fear (i.e. go to college for fear of failure, save $ for fear of a financial downturn). It is because of fear that we relate to what’s happening in a scary story. And that is why horror and all things scary resonate with readers and so many writers.
It’s really quite ironic actually, that a good scare would make for great therapy. But somehow, the tools of trepidation work. Reading and writing frightening fiction has been an incredible release for me and has allowed me to accept and understand many of my fears…and move forward, the brave and fearless soul that I am. Ehem. Scuse me.
Okay, I’ll admit it; I’m still a little afraid of the dark and I scare easily, but it’s only research, yeah, that’s what it is, research, so I can better delineate that inner-dark-shadowy-rapscallion hiding in the darkness that we are all so afraid of, right? Right?