Today’s guest as part of the Hydra Publications Blog Hop is author Blaine Pardoe. His latest novel, Virginia Creeper, is a horror tale guaranteed to scare the ever lovin’ begebes out of you. Blaine takes a moment to explain why we love to be frightened to death.
We like to be scared
It’s tempting to do a shameless plug to go read my books – but that’s not how I roll. So let me tell you something about my latest work and a few things I came to understand during the writing process.
When I was writing Virginia Creeper I came to the realization that we, as humans, like to be scared. We claim we don’t, but in reality, we love it. Horror films always do well – and horror books are consistent bestsellers. If we didn’t like it, why do we seek out fear? Hell, I’m afraid of heights but I ride rollercoaster’s.
It would have been easy when writing Virginia Creeper to take the shocking edge out of it, make it more clinical. I was tempted at one point to take that approach. But my read through was, well, boring. I wanted to capture and convey the fear that was inherent to the situation.
Writing to cause fear is a challenge for any author. What are the things that make you afraid? There is one scene I wrote about in the book that, to this day, when I read it, makes my legs itch. Without spilling the beans, suffice it to say, the mental image of insects crawling on your feet and shins evokes an immediate reaction in most people. One reader told me in an email that she actually lifted her feet off of the floor as she read that portion of the book.
How cool is that? As a writer I was able to stimulate a physical reaction with a reader.
Fear comes to us at different levels and different intensities. We like reading about things that frighten us because, in some respects, reading about it is overcoming it. It’s like climbing a ladder when you’re afraid of heights. It doesn’t cure you, but there is a sense of satisfaction that you are facing your fears head-on.
I think our need to be scared is more genetic even than that. Every culture seems to embrace ghost stories or fables that have horror elements baked into them. From the time we are children, adults attempt to instill the sense of fear and forbidding with the folklore stories they tell. Popular media only heightens this. Proof: Look at the Goosebumps series of books – aimed at young adults. Heck, I’m shocked Hollywood has not turned Hansel and Gretel into a horror thriller!
Fear isn’t bad. It gives us something to overcome or suppress. Over coming fears is one of the more rewarding feelings a person can have. If we didn’t have fear, we could not define words like courage.
As a writer, Virginia Creeper provided me a vehicle to explore horror. Taking real-life circumstances and projecting them as instances to send a chill down the spine of the reader. The feedback so far has been positive – so I think I’ve hit the mark. You tell me…
I’ll tell you Blaine. As soon as I come out from where I’m hiding under the bed. You can find Virginia Creeper over at Amazon.
And he looks so normal, too.
I’d like to thank Blaine for dropping by, even if I have to now sleep with the lights on. And keep in mind our fellow Hydra Author Tom Wallace will have his thriller Gnosis available for free on Amazon through tomorrow.