I recently wrote a piece for Tor.com about how horror has changed my life for the better, and how I think writing horror is good for the soul.
“Writing horror almost killed me. But it saved my life too.
It has saved my life more than once.
I’ll start with the almost-killing. Me, eleven years old and fresh from reading my first Stephen King (Pet Sematary, and even the thought of that book still brings a grin to my face). I suddenly knew what I wanted to do with my life, I wanted to be a horror writer. I wanted to tell scary stories and get paid to do it. In my eyes I was already a professional, I had five years experience under my belt after writing my first gothic masterpiece, The Little Monster Book, at six years old. I was ready to shift things up a gear, though. I wanted to write something that would terrify people.
Back then, I had a huge advantage. I believed in horror. In fact, that’s how I thought writing worked: authors didn’t just sit down and imagine things, they went out into the world and found real ghosts, and real monsters, then used those experiences as nightmare fuel. I couldn’t quite comprehend how something as good as Pet Sematary could exist without some kernel of truth at its heart, some secret, real-life horror. I was convinced that there was a conspiracy of horror authors who had witnessed the supernatural, a cabal of paranormal detectives who shared their experiences as fiction. And I wanted in. At eleven years old I didn’t just suspect that the supernatural existed, I knew that it did. I had a desperate, unshakable faith in it. That was my modus operandi, then, to find real horror and then use that experience to create a truly unforgettable story.
The other part of my plan involved a murder house, a flashlight, and my best friend Nigel.
The reviews have started to roll in for The Devil’s Engine, which is always the most terrifying part of any book launch. There are some great ones, and some, well, not so great ones, but you learn to take the rough with the smooth!! It’s a bit of a cliche to say that books are like your children, and that publishing them is like sending them off to school for the first time, but it’s TRUE! You do worry that nobody will like them, and they won’t make any friends, or that people will just think they’re a bit meh. And everyone always says DON’T READ YOUR REVIEWS! But it’s almost impossible not to, I mean you just have to know what people are thinking.
Part of the problem is that most of the reviews for Hellraisers bring Furnace into the equation, with people saying they loved Furnace so much that any new book from me is going to be a disappointment. Which is kind of cool!! Kind of… I think… But hopefully people will come to love the new series on its own merits, too.
There have been some amazing blog reviews, a HUGE thanks to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers for this fantastic review, which reads like an action book in its own right!! I love this blog, and it’s well worth checking out. A massive thanks too to Heather Eagar for this review on her blog. I really appreciate the support, guys and I’m so glad you liked the book!! And thanks too to everyone who took the time to read and review Hellraisers, even if you didn’t like it!
And I really hope you guys enjoy it too, let me know if you’re reading it!! 🙂 And if you’re feeling exceptionally kind, you can always leave a review!!