Before I found my niche as a horror writer, I felt a little lost in the world of literature. I had the urge to tell stories, put pen to paper, and, later, fingers to keys. But what was I supposed to write about? What would people find interesting? I’ve had a sheltered, mundane life whose simplicity and stability are comforting when you live it but doesn’t make for exciting writing. I’d try to write stories based on things that happened in my life, but I’m no Beverly Cleary, so my stories of schoolroom antics felt flat and boring.
And then I found the King.
Stephen King, to be more specific. In my freshman year at Loras College, I read The Shining. It was October, and I was looking for a spooky story to get me in the Halloween mood. What I found was a genre that changed my life.
I quickly discovered I had a knack for writing scary stuff. Maybe it stems from my anxious personality or the fact that news and social media had made me acutely aware of the dangers of being a woman in today’s society. Either way, I found I could channel my own fears into horror stories. I stopped focusing on things that I thought would make a good story and started writing stories I would want to read. Writing felt more natural that way.
So, even though people sometimes give me an odd look when I tell them I write horror stories, and even though my horror stories won’t set the literary world on fire, I don’t care. I write horror because I love it. I love the escapism of getting sucked into a book filled with monsters and dread. I love creating stories that make people say, “God, that’s creepy.” I love haunted houses, mausoleums, blood, guts, and gore. Horror is the genre that helped me find my voice and showed me that, despite my boring life, I had something exciting to say. Horror feels like home to me.
People may ask, “Why horror?” For me, the answer is simple: because I couldn’t imagine writing something that didn’t scare the crap out of you.