Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Definition of Horror?

There is a wide spectrum within the literary genre of horror when you think about it - monsters, vampires, zombies, apocalyptic situations, psychopathic killers, massacres, the occult etc... and probably most of them will be pretty much filled with graphic detail. However, in amongst those but still firmly in the genre are books like 'The Loney' (Costa winner) and of course, my own.  Here's the thing - I am currently reading, 'The Loney' and I have to be honest and say it is not scary. I'm so not frightened I could read this at night on my own and I am one big scaredy cat with a colossally vivid imagination! It is, however, beautiful prose. So I kind of like it. It's slow and I can't say there is a build up of tension, but it's atmospheric and it's good literary work. Boy oh boy though, has it had some awful reviews.

Why? Well looking at it objectively with a very interested eye I'd say most people - not all but most - are reading the wrong book. If you think this is horror and you expect horror to scare you witless you will most definitely be disappointed; and many disappointed reviewers don't hesitate to stick a 1* review on a book. They wanted horror and they wanted to be scared. What they read didn't scare them. That's it.

'Father of Lies' was intended to be told for a reason, and that reason was to highlight that whether or not you believe in evil as an external entity, the fact that quite a few people do, is worry enough because innocent people, most particularly children, are still getting hurt in the name of it. I've done a huge amount of research and spoken to people who have suffered unimaginably; and that to me is more horrifying than all the blood and gore you can throw at me. In addition, the entire trilogy, with Ruby as the protagonist, is told via her fragmented memory and the medical people who have tried to help her - thus the chapters are divided into those different perspectives.

Well some people like that and some don't. And, of course, what scares us is highly personal... However, I'm just a writer so I'm not saying this is a higher moral mission, I'm just saying that I tell this story the way I tell it because it runs parallel with a huge amount of horrible suffering that still goes on today, and I tell it with only hints of the real atrocities carried out to show what these poor kids have had to go through rather than for gratuitous entertainment. There are books out there that will satisfy those seeking that kind of thrill but I don't think they will like mine.

In summary - Book 3 will give resolution and will delve into things most people will never have imagined existed, but as one reviewer expected a happy ending - in horror there won't be one, although there may be triumph! But if evil exists it exists - all I can do is fire your maybe we'll all know to look out for it...

 ps - Book 3 - if you'd like to know when it's due and have up to date information - please sign up to my very infrequent newsletter and you will be first to know!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to add your comments or post your thoughts on anything to do with the subjects covered in my work.