Movies, television shows, and video games are all awesome, but for me there’s nothing quite like curling up with a good book, and that goes double for a good horror book. I love a book that can give me the chills, which is how I got into writing about monsters myself. Some of my favorites, which may have even influenced my writing style and preferences? So glad you asked.
When I was a kid I loved spooky stories, especially the ones about ghosts. I had a number of scary books for kids, but as many kids from my generation would tell you, it was all about Goosebumps. If you never read a Goosebumps book as a child, you’ve definitely missed out. The series by R.L. Stine featured short novels about every kind of ghoul, goblin, monster, and creature a kid could imagine. Some of my favorites included the killer ventriloquist dummy, and the Halloween masks that came to life and took over kids’ bodies. And then there were always the “choose your story” editions in which you got to choose how the story progressed by jumping back and forth between the pages (I usually died four or five times before finding the correct path). Those were the bomb.
But if you want to get a little bit creepier – while still maintaining the illusion of reading a “kid” book – you should take a look at Coraline. The short Neil Gaiman book appears, for all intents and purposes, to be a book for tween-aged kids, but it’s a lot creepier than you might imagine. Maybe it’s just the subject matter of a young girl traveling to an “Other” world and being essentially kidnapped by a creature with her mother’s face. Or maybe it’s the creep-factor of all the “Other” people having buttons for eyes. Or maybe it has something to do with that childhood pain of having something awful happen and no one believes you. Either way, the story is actually a lot deeper, darker, and more disturbing than you would ever assume by simply looking at the book cover. Trust me; it’s worth giving it a try.
Of course, you knew that eventually I was going to bring up Stephen King, since you can’t really talk about horror books without mentioning him. Well, the whole and honest truth is that yes, I do think King is an amazing writer, and some of his books have seriously scared the pants off of me. But the thing is, how do you pick just one? King currently has published something like 55 novels, plus nearly 200 short stories (which are compiled into book collections). Of those some-255 stories, over 20 of them have been made into horror movies. So yeah, clearly he’s got something going on, right? Well I haven’t read all of his books by a long shot, but if I’ve got to pick one today I think I’ll go with Cell. I know that it’s not a lot of people’s favorites, and I’m definitely not saying that it’s King’s best book or anything, but I really enjoyed it. It’s a different take on zombies, and I really liked the not-quite-concluded ending of the story. In fact, Cell is what I was reading when it suddenly occurred to me that, “Hey…I could totally write a zombie novel!”
And, of course, you know where I’m going with this. (I’m the master of the segue, admit it.) Maybe it makes me sound a little full of myself, but how can I honestly not talk about my own horror novel in a post specifically talking about horror novels? There were times when I wanted to throw the manuscript for Nowhere to Hide out the window, but I can honestly say that I do love the story and I’m very proud of it. I tried to work in as many creepy, gross, and disturbing moments as I could while still focusing on the whole point of the piece…survival. And because I love the book so much, and because I love all of you so much, for Halloween day only the digital copy of Nowhere to Hide is going to be free! So even if you aren’t sure you’d like it, why not try it out anyway? It’s free! So click the link and check it out quick, because by the time all the trick-or-treaters are in bed tonight the promotion may be over!
Do you enjoy scary books? Why or why not? What’s your favorite horror book? Favorite horror author? Have you ever had a book genuinely scare you? Please share!