Around Every Corner, Darkness: Why I Write Horror
By Sonora Taylor
I’ve been drawn to the darker side of things since I was young, before I even knew what horror was. To me, the things I enjoyed weren’t eerie or macabre. They were entertaining stories about monsters and ghosts, fun nights with my friends on Halloween, peaceful walks with my mother through cemeteries.
Horror was well-entrenched in my psyche when I finally saw it as a genre and as something creating fear. I saw my first horror films, got scared by family members playing pranks, wrote stories about talking skeletons and vampire teachers (not to mention an early masterpiece about a blob of cheese that terrorized my hometown of Leesburg, Virginia).
I loved to write from an early age. I either wrote slice-of-life comics and stories, or horror. I entered Cartoon Network’s storyboard contest with a cartoon about a skeleton and a bat who were friends and lived in a graveyard (it was sadly ahead of its time). I wrote another story in middle school called Bus 666, where a young girl falls through a portal to Hell through an abandoned school bus. These were the stories I wanted to tell. These were the stories that came to me, that felt natural to write; even though they were about unnatural things.
Writing stayed a hobby, something I’d turn to when inspired, well into high school and college. I wrote a vampire love story, one that started as a romantic wedding that took a sinister turn by the end. I turned it into a treatment for television for a class project my junior year at NC State. My professor deemed the story, “Creepy, but effective.” I don’t know if “The Wedding of Bianca West” will get a second life, but it was a nice reminder that I could not only finish a story, but write one that people enjoyed.
My fiction fell to the wayside after graduation, but I still felt stories gnawing at my brain – especially the creepy ones. It was in those I laughed at the dark absurdity of a serial killer who found a place so perfect to hide the body, that there was no one around for him to kill. It was in those I felt a tender chill at the thought of a lonely little girl who befriends a vengeful crow. It was those stories that, when I decided to write every day after work and get serious about writing, were the ones I finished first.
I still find ideas for slice-of-life and contemporary fiction creeping into my notes, but horror always brings me back. I think of the quiet things we don’t suspect and add a sinister twist. I think of things already horrifying and find a way to twist them as well – often with humor, and often with something even darker. I like the sense of dread I feel with such stories, of encountering darkness that, no matter which corner you turn, you can’t really escape from.
Perhaps you can escape by closing the book, or setting down your pen, or closing your Word document. But in the end, it will come back. In my life at least, the horror genre always does.
Cara Vineyard lives a quiet life in rural North Carolina. She works for an emerging brewery, drives her truck late at night, and lives with her mother on a former pumpkin farm. Her mother is proud of her and keeps a wall displaying all of Cara’s accomplishments.
Cara isn’t so much proud as she is bored. She’s revitalized when she meets Jackson Price, a pharmacist in Raleigh. Every day they spend together, she falls for him a little more — which in turn makes her life more complicated. When Cara goes on her late-night drives, she often picks up men. Those men tend to die. And when Cara comes back to the farm, she brings a memento for her mother to add to her wall of accomplishments.
Cara’s mother loves her no matter what. But she doesn’t know if Jackson will feel the same — and she doesn’t want to find out.
Sonora Taylor is the author of The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales, Please Give, and Wither and Other Stories. Her short story, “Hearts are Just ‘Likes,’” was included in Camden Park Press’ Quoth the Raven, an anthology of stories and poems that put a contemporary twist on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Her work has also been published in The Sirens Call and Mercurial Stories. “The Crow’s Gift” will be featured on the horror podcast “Tales to Terrify” later in 2019. Her second novel, Without Condition, will be out February 12 on Amazon. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband.
You can find out more about Sonora by visiting her official website www.sonorawrites.com
Follow Sonora on Twitter @sonorawrites