Thursday, 1 September 2011

Where the stories come from

I was a fearful child, plagued by nightmares and anxiety. Horror saved me. Scary films gave me an outlet for purging all that darkness. Fear became my friend. Jason and Freddy were my childhood companions. On the literary side, Poe was my first great horror love, followed swiftly by Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell. Their stories scared me silly while at the same time inspiring me. I still had nightmares, but now they were more like visits from a slightly sadistic muse. Writing all the scary stuff down turned it from a curse into a blessing.

My first published story was "From Hell to Eternity", a quirky little 3k-worder that won First Place in the Whitechapel Society's 2009 Jack the Ripper short story contest. Since I was a little girl I've been fascinated by Jack the Ripper and this was a chance to combine him with another of my pet loves - the giallo.

"The Death of Dreams" was next, written for the charity anthology Never Again, published by Gray Friar Press.

My story is about a futuristic worst-case Britain with no right to privacy, where any and everything is fair game for the tabloid press, including the subconscious images from your dreams. The images are captured via a device called the Dreamcatcher and then published out of context with lurid headlines. It's the kind of paranoid idea that really scares me and one I imagine I'll find myself drawn to again.

Paranoia rears its head again in "Bruised Fruit", which arose simply from peeling a banana and finding it was rotten at the base. Ugh! This story appears in the final issue of Necrotic Tissue 14, the cover of which features the scariest Easter Bunny I've ever seen.

So when people ask "Where do you get your ideas?" all I can say is that they're in my head scaring or unnerving me and they have to come out. I write because I have to, because I'd probably go mad otherwise.

(Unless I'm already mad...)

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