Why Do I Write Horror?
By Yolanda Sfetsos
Most of my life, people have asked me the same pesky question: why do you like horror? They usually follow it up with: How can you watch those gruesome movies, or read those scary books? Unfortunately, these questions circled back to the same thing, to their real question: Why does a girl like horror? Apparently, girls aren’t supposed to like scary stories, they’re supposed to be scared of them.
Sorry to disappoint, but I LOVE horror. Always have. I love listening to ghost stories. Can’t get enough of urban legends. Want to watch any and every horror movie I can get my hands on. As soon as I hear the word monster, I’m intrigued.
I put up with those silly questions and assumptions for a long time, but I still answered, then followed it up with an annoyed chuckle. Because the joke was on them. No matter how I answered, or how many times I said it, they didn’t listen or understand. Didn’t want to hear my response. They wanted to judge and make fun of me. Sadly, for them, it never worked. I’ve never been ashamed or embarrassed about my interests. I never cared about what I was supposed to like or not like.
My fascination with darker, shadowy things started years ago. Horror grabbed my attention from a young age. Even then, spooky stories made me feel cosy. Like a comforting blanket on a cold night.
Of course, I’m a kid of the 80s, so I was exposed to horror pretty early. And I fell in love with the genre. I’ve never looked back, or second-guessed my obsession.
I started making up spooky stories in my head before I ever picked up a pen and paper. So, writing horror was inevitable. Once I got started, I couldn’t stop. During my teenage years, I wrote a lot of horror short stories and novellas.
Even today, my stories manage to dip into the darkness. I can’t help myself. No matter what idea I follow, no matter which characters speak to me, we always end up in the dark. And I’m totally cool with that.
I write in this wonderful genre because I was bound to tell creepy stories. And I’m not fussy about the many subgenres of horror. Or tropes. I love ALL the tropes!
One of the best things about this genre is that it has no limits. It can be tame and subtle, centre around the ultimate love story, can be spooky as hell, so gross it makes you queasy. And I’m open to all of the varying degrees. I love delving into a monster-mash as easily as I do into ghost stories. Psychological horror is one of my favourite places to go because the human mind is such a weird and freaky place. I can’t get enough of demonic possession, and twisting them in my own way is very appealing. Not to mention creepy dolls…
There’s no horror topic I’m not willing to venture into. I like to challenge myself, to read and write about all the fun and grotesque things that live in the dark. The variety never fails to excite me, because the possibilities are endless. No matter how subtle or hard, I’m there.
So, I write horror because I want to, because I can, and because I have no choice.
Yolanda Sfetsos lives in Sydney, Australia with her awesome, supportive gamer husband and neurotic, photogenic kitty.
When she’s not writing or reading up a storm, she’s either out walking, watching a movie or TV show, checking thrift stores for bargain books, or thinking about the new dark ideas fighting for attention.
Breaking The Habit
All Isla wanted to do was enjoy her honeymoon.
She was looking forward to relaxing on the beach and enjoying cocktails with the love of her life.
Instead, she ends up in the middle of the woods in a cosy cabin, where the past she’s worked so hard to bury can find her.
Turning what should be the best night of her life, into a bloody fight to stay alive.