Thursday, July 12, 2012

Romance Is Not a Dirty Word in Horror

My favorite romantic couple
If you've been reading this blog for a while, or have read any interviews that I've done around the blogsphere, you know that I firmly consider myself to be a horror writer.
I do write in the zombie sub-genre sometimes and recently took a side trip into the world of sci-fi/horror with THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING, but the heart of my stories is the tale of people facing a horrific event or situation. I write about survival in the face of terror.

PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES - Amaliya faces the horror of waking up buried in the ground and realizing she is the off spring of a truly fiendish vampire-necormancer.
  • THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE - Lady Glynis Wright is engulfed in the horror of being a Bride of Dracula and struggles to escape him.
  • THE FIRST DAYS (AS THE WORLD DIES, BOOK 1) - Jenni and Katie struggle to survive in the horror of the first days of the zombocalypse.
  • THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING - Vanguard Maria Martinez is conscripted to fight the deadly Inferi Scourge as humanity faces the horror of extinction.
That's why I consider myself to be a horror writer. I write about people facing the absolute most terrible circumstances and trying to survive.  Yet, that doesn't mean that my work doesn't have a sense of adventure, moments of humor, or, aghast, sometimes even a touch of romance.  

Since I write about the human condition in the face of horrific events, it is only logical that I would include human relationships. Whether familial, adversarial, friendly, or romantic, human interactions are an important part of any story.  Those relationships drive character development and plot.  I love dealing with the intricacies of human interactions, in whatever form they might take.

People form loving relationships with each other. Those relationships are sometimes the only thing that pulls them through difficult and, yes, horrific times.  I remember watching THE CRAZIES and loving the fact that the husband and wife in the movie are a united front. They drew strength from one another and struggled to survive together. They would do anything for each other. That had much more impact on me emotionally than if I was watching a movie about a man trying to survive on his own without any attachment to another person.

I LOVE writing about the complicated ins and outs of any kind of relationship. On the other hand, I  can't walk away from the horror themes that dwell in the souls of my books.  I can't sit down and write a nice romance without doing something horrible to all the characters. *evil grin*  

The point of all of this is that I am a self-defined horror writer. All my stories revolve around some terrible, horrible event happening and how my characters respond to it. But I'm not going to eschew human relationships to fit some sort of preconceived idea of what horror should be. My books will continue to have elements of horror, humor, and sometimes romance.

Special Note
For those of you who want me to write a romantic story, I suggest you read THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING. It's got gore, a type of zombie, massive action sequences, and tons of excitement, but it also has a realistic romance in it that spurs my two major characters to great feats of bravery. Even though it's an intense sci-fi/horror novel, I don't think I've ever written a stronger, more romantic couple.


  1. Part of what I love about your novels is the human emotion and relationships, Maria and Dwayne, Katie and Jenni's friendship, Ken and Lenore's friendship, Amaliya and Cian, the two mothers from Blood and Love, etc. It really adds a lot to the stories and makes the reader care. Another horror writer I read often, Edward Lee, can write a great plot (although often gross) and he's got great ideas, but his characters often lack depth and leaves the reader not caring much about what happens to them. I, and I bet a lot of other people out there, find your work perfect just the way you do it and love your style. Don't ever change a thing!

  2. Diana,

    I listen a lot to my fans and comments like yours really are very encouraging. I think for horror to be effective you HAVE to care about what happens to people. I want my readers to have a vested interest in the characters so they can be afraid for that character's survival alongside them.

    Thanks for your comment!


  3. I think you are 110% right. I read a lot of horror and I think some other authors write characters really well too. In Brian Keene's The Rising I really felt for the father searching for his son, Jim Thurmond and in another book I read recently by Bryan Smith called Kayla and the Devil, I really actually liked Kayla even though she was what one would consider a 'mean girl'. Keene's main character from Ghoul was also one of my favorites. Jonathan Maberry is also GREAT at his characters and their relationships (Joe Ledger, Dez Fox). That being said, your characters and what they go through and their love for each other, rather romantic, friendship, or otherwise are the most powerful and the tales are more powerful for it.


Thanks for commenting!