Have I Stumbled into Writing Horror?
When my publisher added my new release to their catalogue, I noticed they listed it under horror. I was about to correct them when I glanced at the extract I’d added to a guest post and realised there was a lot of blood mentioned!
Once I’d completed my Guardians trilogy and nestled it comfortably in the fantasy genre, I began to pen Oath Breaker, a werewolf novel, always thinking I was sticking to the fantasy theme albeit with a more urban feel.
With a recent battle against depression still hanging over me, I realise that my writers’ voice has taken on a much darker tone. The third book in my trilogy, Guardians of the Lost Lands was a little more disturbing than its predecessors. However, has my voice changed so much that I’m now crossing from fantasy to horror?
What is a horror novel? For me, I immediately think about Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker. On my bookshelf, I have so many books by James Herbert and Stephen King who always seem to terrify the living daylights out of me. Horror is about a fear of the unknown, and feeling like our safety is in peril. It’s not necessarily about the blood and gore, but more about the psychological impact on the reader.
I personally don’t think Oath Breaker is a horror novel. However, it does have elements of fear and risk. The belief that our life could be in danger is ‘horrific,’ and so maybe all supernatural books have a touch of horror about them.
Reading horror fiction is something I thoroughly enjoy and to think I could stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the outstanding horror writers’ of the day is ludicrous. However, I will happily follow in their footsteps and continue to evolve my young adult supernatural stories.
Perhaps the tough period in my life was a blessing, and I’ve now discovered a new way of working that adds another aspect to my books. Maybe it’s always been there, and I just needed to get a couple of books under my belt to test my writing muscles.
Whether you see Oath Breaker as a supernatural, or a horror novel, I hope you enjoy meeting the characters and following the storyline. It was a joy to write this book, and I’m so proud of how it’s developed.
Want to read an excerpt? Here is the opening scene from Oath Breaker:
The blue flashing lights pulsed through the fractured front window, illuminating the blood splatter on the walls. The click-click of the forensic team’s camera ate into the sterile silence as the officers combed through the living room.
Like something out of a macabre horror show the blood covered everything, coating the threadbare rug in front of the fireplace with its crimson wash. The splintered remains of the coffee table littered the overturned chair, and the smell of death clung to the walls.
I lifted my eyes to look at the police officer who knelt in front of me, his face a mask of professionalism even though he must be wishing he was anywhere but here.
‘Did you see who killed your dad?’ I slowly shook my head as the officer tried to determine what had happened.
‘Someone tried to kill you, miss. I want to help. Did you see who broke in and attacked you?’
I couldn’t answer. The words were stuck in my throat. How could I tell him that my dad was the one who tried to kill me and that a wolf had jumped through the window and ripped out his throat? Who would believe me?
The paramedic dropped a medical kit at my feet and began wiping the blood from my face, the sudden cold of the antiseptic wipe causing an involuntary shudder to run through my bones. The police officer and paramedic exchanged a look. The same kind of look that my teacher and headmaster used to give each other when I tried to cover up the bruises down my arms.
I slumped a little further into the kitchen chair, letting my long dark hair fall around my face.
‘Anything you can give us by way of a description will help.’ The police officer clicked the end of his pen and poised it over the clean sheet of notepaper.
‘Big,’ I managed to say. My lips cracked as I spoke, and I could feel a trickle of blood slide down the side of my mouth. The paramedic wiped it up before moving to the gash on my forehead.
‘It…he was big. Dark hair. Brown eyes.’
The officer noted it down and let out a deep sigh. Not the best description for them to go on, but it was all I could give him. If I’d told him the attacker was hairy, with sharp claws and fangs, the paramedic would have had me committed. I didn’t need to escape from one prison to then find myself in another.
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