Why Do I Write Horror?
By PD Alleva
My wife recently asked me this question. My response came quickly, “Because I can’t torture people in real life without being tossed into prison.” She rolled her eyes as she said, “Typical.”
But seriously (actually that was series, to a certain extent of course), writing horror is steeped in my not so humble beginnings. So, without risking too much of personal context (and becoming the recipient of an involuntary psychiatric commitment) below is a list of events that have ultimately shaped and molded my personal discovery as a horror writer.
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1975. Within a year I suffered from insomnia. At best I received an hour of sleep. This condition lasted a few years but did get better gradually. Insomnia takes the recipient to dark places. There’s a ton happening in the wee hours of darkness, lots of incoherent whispers and subtle movements to dredge horrific thoughts from the psyche. Years later my mother admitted she believed a ghost was rampant in that house and had learned a woman was murdered in the bedroom next to mine. Yikes!
‘B’ rated horror movies came into play at about the age of five. With the rise of a new technological transformation – the VHS – video rental stores were opened in record numbers, all stockpiling horror movies by the truckload. We can thank movies like Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the ‘B’ movie apocalyptic heaven. My father rented these horror flicks, for which I indulged –to the dissatisfaction of my mother – frequently. On more than a few occasions I can remember covering myself in blankets only allowing a small crevice to peak out from (my theory was that if I can see them coming, they can’t get me), in anticipation to wage psychological battle with any misshapen werewolf, vampire, monster or zombie the howling wind sought fit to carry my way.
There’s just something about the dark side of the human condition that tickles my fancy and in fact, as time went on, I indulged in books, movies and stories involving the occult, true crime, paranormal and supernatural. In second grade I wrote a short story about a lost hamster who, years later, grows to an astronomical size and wreaks havoc on unsuspecting elementary school students.
My family moved to Westchester County New York where I was selected for an honors class in English. This is where I discovered Edgar Allen Poe, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to name a few. I was immediately hooked. I still quote the raven every Halloween Night. Moving forward, classic horror novels like Frankenstein and Dracula were not only read but also studied as if they were fictional tales of actual real characters. They could exist, can they not?
And then Stephen King happened. And not only the King but also, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz and Thomas Harris (in my opinion Red Dragon the book is better than Silence of the Lambs, although vice versa as movies), authors whose stories held no imaginary boundaries.
Anything can happen in a book because there are no limits to the imagination with the written word; our minds turn what’s on the page real. I was enthralled by the scale and direction a horror novel can spiral towards. There’s evil in this world, whether you believe in such things spiritually or simply as a part of the human condition, the word ‘evil’ is just semantics to explain what is dark, sinister, and unexplained.
And then my career took a turn. I had been so enthralled by Hannibal Lector (the intelligence part of Hannibal, not the cannibal part) I sought out becoming a therapist. In fact an accomplished goal and a career complete with numerous high levels of achievement. I also studied and earned certification to practice hypnosis, specializing in trauma and addiction. Not head or bodily trauma that is, emotional, psychological, physical and sexual trauma. In short, listening to the absolute, sick, sinister and downright and damn evil human beings inflicted on each other is enough to write horror books until the end of time. We live in a sick world.
This is also a period of my life when I began to indulge in secret societies and ancient teachings, including indulgence within my social circle of clairvoyants, mediums, philosophers, and spiritual healers in what mainstream society would deem ‘conspiracy theories,’ although it’s not a conspiracy if its true. They want you to believe it’s a conspiracy theory.
Now we arrive at modern day happenings. I’ve written several horror books in my lifetime, unfortunately, they were all destroyed in what I refer to as the catastrophe of 2004 (my then two-year-old daughter dropped my laptop and all had been lost). I’ve also written literary supernatural books (Indifference and A Billion Tiny Moments in Time), philosophy and self-help, and began a dark fiction/horror series, Beyond the Chamber Door (yes the title is an ode to Edgar Allen -Poe that is not Frog-). I liken the first book, Twisted Tales of Deceit, to the genius of HP Lovecraft. The feature story (Twisted Tales is a collection of three novellas), Knickerbocker is a retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, with a modern-day twist: all characters are recovering addicts employed at the prestigious Sleepy Hallow Private School. I even threw in a hint of one of those famous conspiracy theories pertaining to drug addiction. I had a ton of fun writing this book, more than I’d had in a very long time and I’m grateful Knickerbocker is being received so well.
The second book in the series (oh, as a fyi the series features stand-alone stories), Presenting the Marriage of Kelli Anne & Gerri Denemer is a classical style gothic horror including spiritual concepts such as the butterfly effect and alternate dimensions. Themes include mental illness, addiction, suicide and of course horror as a metaphor for the trials and tribulation of marriage.
I’m currently writing book three in this series, tentatively titled Golem. This is pure horror fiction. Sinister, manipulative, deceptive, depraved, bloody and of course scary as all hell. I consider it my Frankenstein. A 1940’s socialite incarnates a devil into her statue after a tragic break up with the love of her life. I’m hoping for a release by the end of the year.
So, why do I write horror? As you’ve undoubtedly read up until this point, I’m enthralled with concepts that walk the line between light and dark. The only way to truly understand both is through the mind, and what a sinister mind it is.
Horror gets my gut with a certain sense of satisfaction most other genres do not come close to. No limits, no boundaries, just cut your skull open and allow all the devils loose (and onto the page). Also, let’s just be honest, the horror genre has no equal when describing the depths and layers the fine line between dark and light for which the human psyche and condition can reach. Writing horror is satisfying on so many levels I can’t even begin to describe them all.
And as I tell my wife, “I can’t go around torturing people.” So, until my alien brethren arrive to pick me up and take me home, I’ll be writing.
I’m also writing a dystopian science fiction thrill ride series titled, The Rose. I love Ancient Aliens. Scheduled release is this December for book one. Alien Vampires, Greys and Dracs, Oh MY! Plenty of blood, slicing, dicing, and fighting to tickle those horror fancies.
Head over to my website, pdalleva.com and sign up for my newsletter. Why? Well, why not? You’ll receive updates on upcoming books, preorders; cover reveals, story descriptions, peer and beta reader opportunities and discounts. Oh, and information on EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAYS AND RAFFLES.
I will be hosting monthly if not weekly and sometimes daily raffles and giveaways for those on my newsletter. Why do I do that? Marketing of course. But the reason is two-fold. I’m a self-proclaimed peaceful anarchist, so my philosophy is simple, why continue to shell out hard earned marketing dollars to billion dollar companies when I can give my readers a chance to win those marketing dollars themselves. Seems like a no brainer to me. Oh, last words, my site is being built (admittedly I have no idea what I’m doing but I am learning), so I ask only not to be judged by the numerous typos while the site is under construction. I plan on an official launch June 1 and a large raffle to go along with the kickoff.
Be good. Read horror don’t act on it!
Presenting The Marriage Of Kelli-Anne & Gerri Denemer
A tale of faith, redemption and timeless love!
One known terrorist. A protest about to erupt. A family on the brink of collapse. Is the bond between husband and wife strong enough to defeat evil?
Kelli Denemer would do anything to keep her family together. But tough times have landed on their doorstep and her husband, Gerri, just can’t seem to pull it together. He’s always battled his demons, but lately it seems they’ve taken over. As the world watches an escalating protest over a known terrorist’s extradition, Kelli uncovers she’s the target of a sinister plot involving Gerri and the terrorist that will lead to World War III. A plot that centers on Kelli.
When she discovers Gerri is missing, Kelli sets out to find him, confronting hate and fear as she fights to save her family and stop World War III.
Blending a psychological journey with spiritual mysticism, PD Alleva has created a beautifully crafted dark love story complete with suspense and inspiration in the tradition of The Alchemist, Life of Pi and The Shack.
I’ve been writing all my life. Short stories, novels, poetry. Whatever my cosmic muse sends to me at any particular time. I wrote my first novel in sixth grade, a science fiction novel. Writing has always been the one behaviour that truly gets my gut. I love the process of creation and I love the editing process. My first book, a psychological thriller, Indifference, was published in 2011. I’ve since published four books, three fiction and one book on philosophy and self-help. A former psychotherapist and hypnotist – now retired- I opened a mental health and addiction treatment facility in 2011, creating what was considered the ‘gem of treatment’ – not my words – collaborating with world-renowned philosophers, healers and psychologist to develop a behavioural modification protocol that utilizes ancient healing practices combined with modern science to effectively treat mental health and addictive symptoms with outstanding success. Let Your Soul Evolve is the title of the book that incorporates these practices. I’ve also written and developed a behavioural protocol attached to the book (the workbook will be published later this year). I’ve always been of two minds, practical and impractical. A confessed conspiracy theorist (and yes I do have a few of my own), spiritual guru, and student of secret society practices with an interest in supernatural and metaphysical influences, I bring these interests into my fiction novels.
Now living the dream of a career writer, my most recent fiction novels, A Billion Tiny Moments in Time (oddly enough I wrote this novel in 2008 but never had time to publish the story as a result of a 24/7 business that required my attention), Twisted Tales of Deceit and Presenting the Marriage of Kelli Anne & Gerri Denemer, are currently available (on Amazon of course). I’m a multi-genre author. My stories are part literary and part philosophical, exploring dark themes with supernatural influences. I just completed the first draft in a new dystopian sci-fi series (tentatively titled, The Rose) and have begun writing Golem, a supernatural horror thriller. I’m hoping for Halloween releases for both. I’ve always been of two minds: one wanting to save the world and the other to destroy it. Since neither are mine to manifest, I include these themes in my novels. I enjoy entertaining the reader with dazzling in-depth stories. Some are inspirational, some spiritual, and others are downright dark and nasty. Major influences are Poe, King, Hemingway, Shelley, Dan Brown – to name a few – and all indie authors. Indie authors keep up the good fight and believe in our dreams with the failure is not an option mentality. So, check out one or all of my books, you will not be disappointed. And be ready for a truly exciting future whose sole purpose is to dazzle, entertain and have the time of our lives in the process.
You can find out more about PD Alleva on his official website www.pdalleva.com
You can follow PD Alleva on Twitter @PdallevaAuthor