So there’s this post going around about naming the 15 authors that have influenced you in 15 minutes and my first thought was “If I’m going to talk about the authors that have stuck with me over the years, then I’m going to give them more than 15 minutes!”
For some bizarre reason, horror still doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves, unlike some other speculative fiction genres. I love writing horror, I love reading horror, not simply because of the scares and mystery, but rather I savour it because the characters are so easy to identify with. We have all been scared, but it’s how we react to that fear that really tells us who we are.
I’ve read many fantastic horror authors over the years and dedicated some of my own books to them, but I thought I’d go into a bit more detail about the ones who have influenced me the most in my own writing.
1. Edgar Allan Poe – Poe was one of the first classical authors I read. His dark prose spoke to me and instantly I rediscovered my love for writing. If you want deep, exploratory exposition on life and death, and love, then try Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination.
2. Clive Barker – The Books of Blood were my first introduction to Barker. Clive’s masterful use of horror and the grotesque as an allegory for sex, death and our place in the universe, is what horror is meant to be about. I recommend his aforementioned collection, The Hellbound Heart (which spawned the Hellraiser film franchise) and Weaveworld as must reads.
3. Graham Masterton -After reading Sleepless and The Family Portrait I was hooked. Everything Masterton writes is so damn good!
4. H.G. Wells – The Time Machine, The Invisible Man. All classics.
5. Stephen King – the bestselling author who continues to keep people reading horror! Salems’ ‘Lot, The Stand and his Dark Tower series are some of his best works IMHO.
6. Richard Laymon – a writer who loves to get to the heart of disturbing horror, while doing it in style. Try his novels Island, and The Travelling Vampire Circus and you’ll see what I mean!
7. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – the creator of Sherlock! Nuff said!
8. Bram Stoker – the creator of Dracula! Nuff said.
9. Mary Shelley – the creator of “Adam” (and his creator Victor Frankenstein). ‘Nuff said!
10. James Herbert – sadly this aficionado of the ghost story passed away last year.
11. H.P. Lovecraft – the pioneer of cosmic horror. At the Mountains of Madness is highly recommended!
12. William Peter Blatty – the author of The Exorcist, one of the most terrifying books you’ll ever read.
13. Shirley Jackson – Author of House on Haunted Hill and The Lottery. She was an expert of disquieting horror.
14. Neil Gaiman – author of The Sandman comic series and the amazing American Gods.
15. David Morrell – author of First Blood (the first Rambo novel).