Saturday, October 8, 2011

My Sex and Blood Filled Dirty Little Secret

When asked why horror? Jack Ketchum, author of The Girl Next Door, responded: Because there's nothing so extreme -- from there you can work your way back to courage, loyalty, community, tenderness.   Then there's that old sex 'n death thing...."

When I was in my exit interview at Seton Hill University, Dr. Arnzen and Dr. Wendland asked me two questions: "What's with the sex stuff?" and "How does this relate to your spin on horror?"

My response: "I don't really know. It's just what I do."

Needless to say, this probably wasn't the answer they were looking for, especially since I had just been accepted into the their Writing Popular Fiction Program as a graduate student. But truth be told, I didn't really have an answer for them, but as I'm working my way through the program now... I think I may have stumbled upon why it is I do what I do.

You see, writing horror as never been an option for me. I live Halloween every day, and I'm in love with being scared and scaring others, so it was no real surprise to anyone that when I sat down to wasn't about rainbows and sunshine.  I live for the horror genre because there's nothing like the feeling of the hair standing up on your back, or the need to keep checking over your shoulder to make sure no one is there. Simply put- I love tension and I love suspense. And if someone gets hacked out of the blue in the middle of it... then we're dealing with my kind of stuff. There's just something about the idea of not knowing if a character is going to live or die that engulfs me in a story and keeps me reading throughout the night, and that's what I want to do for my readers. I want to keep them up at night, reading under a dim light, wondering if the boogeyman is going to crawl out from underneath their bed and snatch them as soon as the lights go out. Fear is one of the most powerful emotions that a person can have because its unpredictable and it makes people do unpredictable things. For instance, you may say that you would never be able to shoot someone, but what if they had your children strung up in their basement? Would you be able to kill them then? It's this backwards way of thinking that lulls me into the genre because it always keeps me questioning how far would I go if I was in this situation?

Fear is intense.
But so is sex.

I have no idea how I started writing erotica to be honest. It just sort of happened one day when I was doing some freewriting and I figured "What the hell? If anything, it might be a good scene exercise." And after submitting my world to a couple of magazines, I found out I'm not half bad at it. So then I thought... hmmm.. let's throw the sex and the horror together. Why you ask? Why not? I like to think of it as horrotica- combining the two most intense feelings a person can have (Fear and Lust).

For this, I blame Mike Arnzen (haha). When I was a Junior, he told me to read Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite and I LOVED it. For those of you that haven't read it... it deals with two serial killers (one's a necrophiliac, the other a cannibal) who find each other and fall in love. While my peers were gagging at the mere notion of why someone would even think to write something like this... I'll admit I was thinking the same thing. But I thought it was brilliant. Who would think of this? Someone that is willing to go where no one has been before, that's who.

And after reading that book and working on my own novel for a little bit, I think I can finally answer their questions:

I write horrotica because of the opposition. I want to make my readers sympathize with the antagonist because they see something humane and relatable in them.

EX: A vampire bites into his mortal mate in order to survive, and she willingly gives herself over to him, only to be almost killed by the power of his thirst. But when he gives her some of his blood to revive her, the chemicals of his blood interact with hers, causing a blood lust that leads to seriously hot vamp sex. Come on... blood, vampires, fangs... it's horror and it's sexy. Why do you think TRUE BLOOD is popular? Everyone wants to see Eric Northman rip out someone's heart, drink from it's valves and then go fuck Sookie. Why? Because it's a weird kind of hot. It's not something that we should like. It makes us feel naughty. And I want my readers to feel like their doing something wrong while they are reading my stuff. Almost like it's our own dirty little secret ;)


  1. I have a lot to say in response to this, but it doesn't fit in a comment. In a nutshell: a) good luck! and b) don't blame me, blame Poppy! and c) aim high and raise the bar and you'll be more proud of the merit of your success than in the simple act of succeeding.

  2. Ok ok.. technically it's Poppy's fault :p