Words have always been my safe place to hide. Sitting on my mother’s lap, the place where a child should always feel safest, she read to me and laid the foundation of my love for literature. Later, when I would get in trouble for staying out too late or fighting with my sisters or whatever, I retreated into novels about dogs, horses, assistant pig-keepers, wardrobes, and magic rings. When it was time to sleep, I let the words of so many storytellers ease me into the dark night.
In high school, teachers Kaye Dragoon and Wilda Walker showed me the magic of weaving together my own words, and the shy boy who wanted to fit in but couldn’t, and so opted to try not to be seen, found a new way to hide in words. Writing became my form of expression. My art and my therapy.
A few years after high school, my reading tastes has evolved from the fantasy genre to horror, and that’s where I was when I began to write seriously. I loved the monster-as-metaphor aspect of horror fiction, and for years that’s where I hid to search for what all authors are searching for … the meaning of life. I pondered the great mysteries and wrote stories that documented my mental journeys and offered some answer that likely, months or years later, shifted and changed as I learned and grew. I asked questions like, What is the value of the human soul? Is faith real if it’s never tested? How much can a person forgive? Would accepting a new curse relieve us of an older curse, or make life worse? All of these questions had something in common that it took me a long time to see.
The meaning of life is simple and was there for me going all the way back to my mother’s lap and such books as A Pickle for a Nickle. It’s relationships. As one of the great masters said:
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”–Charles Dickens
And so I write about relationships. They’re not always good relationships, though as I get older I can see a shift in the interactions and fates of my characters. This has led to me writing outside the horror genre. I’ve learned we don’t need metaphorical monsters because too often we have real ones living inside of us. This shift started with Inheritance, then took another leap with A Light Beyond, but came out in a different way in Sunset, written as a romance novel under a pseudonym. I’ll never leave the horror genre behind; it’s too much fun. But I think my best writing so far is a pair of literary novels I hope to share with you soon, The Lost Pages Bookstore and Yes or No.
And yes, I write some stories purely for entertainment and for the money that genre brings in. I’ll let you figure out what burdens are being lightened in those stories.
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