Thirty is the Number

Hello everyone. In this blog I would like to commemorate the fact I have reached the 30 Follower mark by dredging back into the old memory banks and recalling that it was thirty long years ago that I began work on my first horror novel. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then but I still recall the excitement which coursed through me as I prepared to set out on this great adventure.

I had written two novels before ‘Retribution,’ but neither of these were in the horror genre. Incredibly the first novel was a love story. This is about as far removed from a tale of the macabre as you can get. But it was a starting point in my writing journey, although even at that I had written a long story before then which would probably be thought of as about the length of a novella. This was a horror tale which had some good moments but I wanted to branch out into a full length work of horror fiction.

‘Retribution’ allowed me to do this. It was from the first a labour of love as I worked through the opening in 1805 and the outbreak of a deadly plague which takes the lives of two unfortunate young souls and into the modern day sequences where I introduce Lucy O’Neill and her family into proceedings.

From the first I wanted this novel to have a supernatural flavour. As I have mentioned elsewhere on this site I have had a love of ghosts from a young age. They have always fascinated me. And ghosts play a large part in everything which takes place throughout the pages of ‘Retribution.’ They drive the action as the battle between good and evil takes centre stage.

The art of writing a novel, especially in the horror genre, can be an exacting business at times as the writer works through the highs and lows of his storyline. But there is always the excitement of the various characters pushing and pulling the writer first in one direction and then in the other. This is one of the most powerful aspects of a novelist’s working life: the way characters can get the writer to go down certain avenues he had had no intention of going down when he began the novel.

This, to my mind, is what makes writing a novel so unique: the magical qualities characters have about them. It is like they are spreading a magic potion over the storyline the author is writing. Of course, this can occur in short stories too but never to the same degree. There is simply so much more time and space at the characters’ disposal to engage with the writer in a novel than there is in shorter fiction.

Then there is the thrill of the original ideas which starts the whole process of writing the novel. This can be electric as well as the writer is taken over by the prospect of a strong storyline with plenty of opportunity for growth. This keeps his nose to the grindstone as he works to provide the reader with the best book he is capable of producing.

The horror novel encapsulates all of these inspirational threads of a book. It has the ability to draw the reader into a dark world he would never like to inhabit in his own life. But he is gripped by this world when he is in the safety of his living room sofa and can read about horrors which would be unbearable to face up to in the real world. This is where the work of the imagination can create an overpowering sense of wonder in the readers who peruse the pages of a horror novel. It provides them with an urge to read on so they can find out how the story ends, whether for good or bad.

There is something special about the make up of a horror novel. There is always an element of danger lurking somewhere in the background. As such it takes a hardy soul to keep turning the pages as he endures one unthinkable nightmare after another on the way to the unravelling of a mystery which has transfixed him from page 1. He lives through the trials which the main character undergoes and is with him every step of the way until the novel’s conclusion.

Categories:The Ghosty Traveller Speaks

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