{Feature} Ghosts, Myths & Legends: Author Tara A. Devlin Uncovers the Dark Side of Japan

Ghosts, Myths and Legends:

Author Tara A. Devlin Uncovers the Dark Side of Japan

Fiona Dodwell

Author Tara A. Devlin was born in Australia, but her love of Japan inspired her to move to the country in 2005, where she remained for several years. Learning more about the culture, language, legends and mythology surrounding Japan, Devlin eventually went on to write several non-fiction books, including Kowabana, Vol 1: True Japanese Scary Stories from Around the Internet, Toshiden: Exploring Japanese Urban Legends, Reikan: The Most Haunted Locations in Japan, and also two fictional titles, Kage and Jukai.

I will start by saying Tara A Devlin is one of my favourite authors, because she spent years immersing herself in the strange, creepy and unsettling stories from Japan – a country I have been fascinated by since I was a teenager. I’ve never been myself (it’s on my bucket list!) but Devlin’s own years spent in the country have given her a rich, deep and unparalleled insight into the darker side of Japan. Her books are all respectful of the country that she writes about – her deep love of the place evident in her writing and attitude – but she has reached to the underbelly of the country and has found stories there that are so unsettling, creepy and unusual that they can really be compared to nothing else.

Devlin’s Kowabana book series is the result of the author’s hard work in locating and researching ‘true’ ghostly stories and translating them from the Japanese language into English. Where necessary, Devlin adds in notations or explanations, due to misunderstandings that may arise from those unfamiliar with certain practices or cultural differences in Japan. The stories in all of the Kowabana series (of which there are many) are very, very unsettling and some even made me feel nervous when reading them. I think most fans of ghost stories will enjoy the many entries Devlin has published in the collection.

Toshiden explores the many urban legends that have come from Japan over the years. Some of them you may have heard of, but many were certainly new to me. Devlin’s obvious research and time-consuming endeavours to find, translate and understand the origins and history of Japanese urban legends is evident from the quality of the stories she recounts in this collection.

Reikan, like the other books she has released, contain many spooky accounts, but this time the book focuses on finding the most haunted locations across Japan and describing their history and the stories associated with them.

Not just content on writing and translating the allegedly true ghostly tales of Japan, Devlin had also written two fictional horror/paranormal novels (Jukai and Kage) both of which are set in Japan. They, too, are high on the creep factor and cemented my belief that she is a solid, engaging writer who can create her own worlds of fiction as well as translate and deeply research the already existing legends of the country she so obviously loves.

My advice to you, if you love ghost stories and urban legends, is to pick up any copy of any of the numerous volumes that Tara A Devlin has released. The books are well written and easy to get into (whether you have an interest in Japan or not), but more than anything, they are seriously creepy – and this is coming from a solid horror fan of many years. Devlin has recounted, in her books, many stories that are full of dark, atmospheric, unsettling and chilling themes. They will satisfy most horror/paranormal fans, I feel confident in that.

I recommend all titles (yes, seriously, ALL!) titles released by Tara A Devlin.

Tara A. Devlin

My name is Tara Devlin. I was born in Australia with predominately Scottish/Irish genetics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men, Nintendo, Xena: Warrior Princess and Resident Evil. When I was 20 I moved to Japan and I lived there for the next 10 years. Japan made me who I am today and remains one of the biggest influences in my life. After briefly returning to Australia I’m now living in Europe with my partner and two beautiful cats.

I’ve been writing my entire life, although mainly for myself. It’s only recently that I decided I wanted to start publishing my works. I’m a big fan of horror, which is the genre most of my short stories fall in, but for larger works I lean more towards fantasy. I also translate Japanese horror stories at Kowabana.net. My dream is to one day make a living off my writing and translating, but I’m also hoping to meet and communicate with other like-minded people, both writers and readers alike.

You can find out more about Tara at www.taraadevlin.com

You can follow Tara on Twitter @taraadevlin

Fiona Dodwell

Fiona Dodwell is a published horror author and freelance writer for several websites and magazines. She has had articles published with Haunted Magazine, Made in Shoreditch Magazine and many more. She has studied Theology, Film Studies and psychology.

Fiona runs a blog which features author/actor interviews, as well as reviews over on Fiona-Dodwell

Follow Fiona on Twitter @Angel_Devil982

The Given

Madison Walter thought she had everything.

A good job. A perfect husband. A baby on the way.

When a terrible tragedy turns her life upside down, Madison knows things will never be the same again.

Intent on saving her marriage, she joins her husband on a luxury trip abroad. However, a week in the sun turns into an abyss of despair and horror.

Can Madison save her life, her sanity and her family before it’s too late?

You can buy The Given from Amazon UK Amazon US

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