Scaring your readers is hard. Kids these days have seen everything before – if they haven’t read about it then they’ve sure seen it in a film or in a video game. Concepts and imagery that once upon a time would have been terrifying have become familiar, and familiarity makes them stale. Kids know these tropes and clichés because they have seen them before, and to know something is to take away the inherent horror of it.
Horror isn’t just recommended for teenagers, it should be essential reading! Part of the reason teenagers love horror so much is that it shows them they can face up to any challenge, any threat, and come away victorious – which is so important during a time when you struggle for authority and control. Teenagers face the unknown every day, and are often powerless against it. It is a time of angst, fear, the unknown, powerlessness – the key features of horror.
I think those exclamation marks and that smiley face are the perfect introduction to what I wanted to talk about today. It’s funny, as when I meet people who have read my books they are often quite surprised. A common reaction is something along the lines of, ‘Oh, you’re quite nice in real life, I thought you’d be a horrible, furious serial killer or something.’ The irony is that even though I’m the author of The Fury, I can’t imagine a less furious person than myself!