Fellow Damnation Books author Fiona Dodwell and I have decided to reveal what inspired us to take up dark fiction on our respective blogs…
Here on my blog, Fiona discusses which books and films have influenced her work over the years, my influences will appear on her blog very soon… take it away Fiona:
I remember being a child of no more than seven when I picked up a horror novel called The Babysitter by author RL Stine. It was my first taste of horror in literature, and I was immediately engrossed in the dark world the author so cleverly created. It was, of course, might lighter than the more adult content I later read (it was a children’s story), but it planted a seed that grew over time, a morbid fascination of horror.
Here I am going to talk about some of my favourite horror books, particularly those which I feel have shaped my own writing. It has been said that to write well, you must read a lot, and without the following novels, I genuinely feel I wouldn’t have crafted some of the stories I have written over the years. These stories –and their authors – are the masters I admire and learn from.
Susan Hill’s The Woman In Black
Susan Hill has created one of the most elegant, subtle and unsettling ghost stories of all time. Set in the Victorian era, The Woman In Black tells the story of solicitor Arthur Kipps, who has to attend the funeral of his elderly client, Alice Drablow. After the funeral, Arthur has to search the Drablow property – and this spine tingling ghost story explores the sinister past of Alice – and the many spirits who refuse to rest there. What I love about this book is the simplicity of the story. Set mainly on the property, alone by the salty sea marshes, solicitor Arthur Kipp is left to the isolated house and its secrets. It is sinister, subtle, unnerving. This is one of the few books that genuinely scared me. I believe Susan Hill is a master of suspense, and, set in an old English manor house, it gives the reader a real feeling of life in the Victorian era. I can’t recommend it enough.
Stephen King’s Pet Cemetery
What would you do if you could bring your loved one back to life? This masterful novel, written by Stephen King, explores the moral dilemma of one family man, Louis Creed, who has to decide if he will meddle with nature and play God. Should the dead rise to life again? What are the consequences of such actions? This is truly a disturbing, frightening read. I have been exposed to many horror novels, from an early age, but this is one that ranks as the scariest. Some of the scenes are so terrifying that I felt I had to look away from the page – that is how scary it is. King is already known and respected as one of the world’s greatest horror writers, and I feel this novel displays King’s power. This story is one that I return to again and again.
William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist
The movie was good. The book was great. Blatty did with The Exorcist something that most horror authors want to achieve – he took something homely, familiar, comfortable, and turned it into something ugly, grotesque and evil. I’m sure many of us know this famous story – a twelve year old girl becomes possessed by a demonic entity and turns her life, and the life of those she loves, into a living hell. This book transformed my life – and I say that with honesty. Blatty delivers this story with such vividness that one feels they are there, part of the horror as it unfolds. As somebody who has been fascinated with the idea of demons and possession since I was a teenager (after reading this book and watching the movie!) I can honestly say this has been one of the most masterful and haunting books on the subject that I have ever read.
The Banishing is available online now, from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Damnation Books.
Fiona Dodwell lives in the United Kingdom, where she works part-time in psychiatry. She has studied, over recent years, psychology, drama, film studies and theology. She has been passionate about writing since she was a child – particularly writing horror stories. Her first novel, The Banishing, was released in March this year with publisher Damnation Books, and her second horror novel, Obsessed, is going to be released this September with the same publishing house.
Visit the author’s website here: http://www.fionasfiction.wordpress.com/
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