Animation by Kayelle Allen at The Author's Secret

Friday, October 19, 2012

Three Writers, One Genre - Horror! (Part One)

Like everyone else, I've been getting myself in the mood for Halloween this month by reading horror stories from three of my favourite modern writers in the genre: Jenny Twist, Su Halfwerk and Tara Fox-Hall  As always when I read, I want to ask the writers questions and so I thought, why not?  To help celebrate Halloween, therefore, I invited these three extremely talented writers round for a scary night in and I thought I would share some the highlights with you over my next few blog posts.
I feel I should almost say, four writers, because all three of them mentioned one specific writer whose work they enjoy or feel inspired by and he seemed to be very much present in spirit.  Of course I'm referring to the great Stephen King.  (I did try phoning him, but he was busy, busy, busy - the time of year, I expect). Unlike their hero, however, my three writers prefer the short story genre, seeing it as an art-form in itself. 

"There is something exquisite about the perfectly constructed horror story," says Jenny.  "They can deliver a timely surprise or twist realistically without dragging it over hundreds of pages," Su explains.  "The longer the story, the easier to figure out its ending and/or the faster a reader is fed up with it."  Showing her practical side, Tara adds: "Short stories are quick to write. I can finish one, if properly inspired, in a day or so. These are also usually relatively easy to place with a publisher, compared with a novel, because so many places publish short horror fiction."

Tara Fox Hall
But what made them choose to write horror in the first place?  Tara explained that she suffers from nightmares (well, maybe that's all those horror stories you read, Tara?) and the process of writing scenes from these is cathartic.  Our irrepressible joker then adds: " I also enjoy scaring people, and since locking peers in the basement is no longer effective—and has only an immediate reach—I had to graduate to more sophisticated ways, like fiction."  Su, who will be my guest on this blog on Halloween Day to talk about her thrilling (and believe me it is!) collection entitled Hellbound, plans to make us all wait until then to divulge her reasons while Jenny simply fell in love with the genre after devouring the stories of M. R. James and the entire Pan Book of Horror series at a young age.

When I asked them about scary moments in their own lives, Jenny recounted a toe-curling experience of living in an isolated Oxfordshire farmhouse that should have auditioned for the 'Amytiville Horror' movie.  "Horrible things happened to us in that house," she told us, "and we used to fantasise about previous tenants committing murders to explain the awful atmosphere of the place.

Jenny Twist
 One night there was a dreadful storm. The wind shrieked around the house like a woman screaming. The doors and windows rattled as if something was trying to get in. And the big picture window in the kitchen bowed in and out, distorting the reflection of the room. We were afraid it would break (and let in the nightmare creatures outside?) so we hoisted the kitchen table in front of it, hoping it would hold it in place. Then we sat in the living room, clutching each other in terror as things stalked the night outside."
Of course it was only a storm. Wasn’t it? Wasn’t it?  The jury's still out on that one, Jenny…

Su Halfwerk
Su on the other hand told us the story of losing her five year old in a busy shopping mall for a full ten minutes.  Now that's a real life horror story every parent in the world knows and tries to avoid.  Just remembering back to losing track of my two year old in IKEA many years ago has made my hair stand on end.  Seeing this, Tara takes pity on me and decides I've had enough scary stories for one evening.

She's probably right.  I do hope you'll join me on Sunday for the next instalment, which will include the scariest excerpts from their own scary stories as chosen by them.  If you like horror, you won't want to miss it.  Take my spooky word for it!


Su Halfwerk said...

I'm on your blog. Yay! Thanks for having me, Lyn, and for taking the time to put together such a lovely post.

Jenny Twist said...

I am so pleased with this. What a pleasure to be on your lovely blog with two of my favourite authors. Thank you, Lyn

Tara Fox Hall said...

Thank you so much, Lyn :) I am honored to be featured with Sue and Jenny, two very talented and prolific writers. Happy Friday!

ManicScribbler said...

Welcome, you three. It's wonderful to feature all three of you together on my blog - just think of all that accumulated talent! I can't wait to start posting excerpts from your stories.

Tori L. Ridgewood said...

Fabulous posting -- very enjoyable, ladies!

Jenny Twist said...

Thanks, Tori xxxx

Su Halfwerk said...

Thanks for stopping by, Tori.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Lyn,
Great blog, I really enjoyed meeting your three guests.
I hail from Australia, so Halloween isn't celebrated out here to any great extent.



Anonymous said...

I'll take your spooky for it, bring on the scary excerpts!

ManicScribbler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ManicScribbler said...

Thanks, Margaret,
I think Halloween might have 'died out' here too, if our American friends hadn't revived our interest in it. Now it's bigger than it ever was, I'd say.

I hope you'll stick around for the next instalment :)

ManicScribbler said...

Thank you Valcaiarizio,

It's Sunday now so the first one has already been posted. Two more next week.

Hope you'll join us.

ManicScribbler said...

Oh and rather belatedly - Thanks Tori; so nice to see you over here. :)

Mannouchka said...

I really enjoy reading part 1 I am waiting for part 2 ah ah love this blog nice idear
I wish you all a wonderful Sunday and week

Debby said...

Fabulous post. I wonder if you ever scare yourself.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Post a Comment