by Isabo Kelly
I love this topic and this month! Halloween is my favorite holiday. And there’s nothing like a good scare for the season. Some of the earliest fiction I ever read was spooky stuff. Vampire and ghost stories? Couldn’t get enough. Edgar Allen Poe—read him for pleasure. Stephen King kept me up much too late, much too often. My TV favorites were Tales from the Crypt, Friday the 13th the series (anybody else remember that one?), Twilight Zone, Creepshow, and any scary movie I could manage to watch (Poltergist can still freak me out—that clown doll? Sheer. Terror.).
Now, all of this scary input was coming into my little imagination when I was a teenager. And while I loved it, there were nights I couldn’t just climb into bed. I had to leap from two feet out in case a monster tried to reach out from underneath and grab me. I know a lot of other kids have that fear. But thanks to my writer’s imagination, I could literally see that clawed, hairy hand reaching out from the blackness.
On top of that, I started to become quite critical of the horror on TV—I was a connoisseur, and if the spooky factor wasn’t up to snuff, I didn’t hesitate to gripe about it. One night, I was watching a story about a vampire and thinking, “This is not scary. Who would be afraid of that vampire? Stake him and be done. Now I could write a really scary vampire.” I went to bed and let my imagination work on a scarier vampire. And then I couldn’t sleep. I had SCARED my own damned self with my creation.
At that point, I decided maybe I shouldn’t write horror. I did actually need to sleep sometime in my life. So I started reading fantasy and science fiction, and eventually romance, and found a whole new niche to let my imagination run around in. I focused on action, adventure and magic, still satisfying my craving for fun and the unusual, but without actually scaring myself into staying up all night.
Fast forward twenty years later, I was contemplating working on a paranormal romance. I had a vague idea for the world. And after reading a book that had elements in it that irritated me, I decided to take the plunge with this story. But I wanted it to be scary. I wanted it to recall my horror roots and include real monsters. Not just vampires and werewolves. Those weren’t as scary to me as they used to be because they’d been romanticized—and I’m fine with that. I even like it! But I was looking for the “keep me up at night” scary.
After more than twenty years, I decided I could face those horror story monsters again—the slimy, slithery things that sneak around in shadows, hide in dark corners or under the bed, making noises that raise the hair on the nap of your neck, and jump out suddenly to grab and eat you!
Actually, it really was. I had such a great time inventing monsters! I even wrote one of the scariest scenes in the first book late at night—and yes, I did have trouble getting into bed afterward because the monster was hiding under the heroine’s bed. But it was exciting this time. I’d faced my kid fears and wrote some really fun fiction.
Every year in October, I start jonesing for that chill again, to read or watch stories that make me look just a little closer in the shadowed corners. This month, I say, go out and scare yourself silly. Whatever that means to you. Take a chance, face a fear, embrace the terror. Because doing things that scare you (like facing the monsters you haven’t been able to consider for twenty years) gives you a kind of release and freedom you won’t regret.
Happy October! And Happy Halloween
Isabo Kelly is a multi-published author of science fiction, fantasy and paranormal romances and erotic romances. Her latest release, THE SECRET OF NARAVA, is the science fiction romance sequel to her first published novel (published 13 years ago!). She also has a spin-off story, INTERFACE, re-releasing this month and a Christmas novella due out at the beginning of November. Additionally, Isabo is hoping to bring her spooky, monster-filled paranormal romance series to readers starting in late 2013. For more on Isabo and her books, visit her at www.isabokelly.com, follow her on Twitter @IsaboKelly, or friend her on Facebook www.facebook.com/IsaboKelly