Why do I write Horror?

I’ve been asked many times why I chose to write horror fiction. If there is one genre that elicits a why would you want to do that response it is horror. If I defined myself as a science fiction author (some of my stuff does have SciFi leanings), or a writer of crime thrillers, I don’t think people would look at me the same way, but they do.  I can see it in their eyes, the puzzlement, the slight wariness. He looks so normal, how can he write stuff like that? 

I probably won’t be getting any babysitting gigs any time soon, just incase I grab and axe and go postal or eat the baby. After all, they do say write what you know. I’m not sure that means I must turn into a werewolf before I can write one, or shoot a zombie before my character does the same thing, but none-the-less, the distrust is there. If I was a nice person I’d write cozy mysteries or slice of life stories.

So why do I write horror? Perhaps it’s because I grew up during the heyday of Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers and Freddie Kruger. I have watched more slasher movies than I can count, along with a fair smattering of ghost stories and tales of alien abduction. Or perhaps I just have a morbid personality. Either way, my love of things that go bump in the night is well documented, much to the dismay of my girlfriend, who hasn’t ever made it through a scary movie in one sitting. When I convinced her to watch the Ridley Scott classic Alien, it took us five evenings, and even then she spent most of the time with her eyes tight closed.

But I don’t think it’s any of those things, at least, not completely. Much of my desire to write frightening things can be traced back to my discovery of Stephen King, Richard Laymon, James Herbert and Dean Koontz in the Eighties. I devoured those tales of vampires and monsters and ghosts. I still remember reading IT for the first time, and thinking how cool it would be to get paid to write stuff like that. It would be many years before I would, but looking back now, I realize I owe a debt of gratitude to those writers that filled my head with serial killers, mutant killer rats, and all manner of monsters and ghouls.

They say you should write what you know, and after reading hundreds of horror novels, and watching more slasher movies than I could shake a stick at, I guess that’s exactly what I’m doing.