Guest post by Amy McCaw
Although I think of Mina and the Undead as more of a murder mystery than pure horror, there are horror touches and references throughout the narrative.
A combination of things got me into horror. The first was my dad’s video shop. I spent a lot of time there in the late eighties and early nineties. I was supposed to be ‘helping’ him by dusting the shelves (I’m sure I was very helpful) but I was mostly reading video cases. The horror section was the one that kept drawing me back in, probably because I was forbidden to watch any of the films. Those vibrantly illustrated faces, animatronic Gremlins and unnerving children were fascinating to me. It’s no surprise that I started watching horror movies as soon as I convinced my parents that it was a good idea.
Another thing that kindled my love of horror was Point Horror books. They were the perfect blend of creepy, cheesy and heart-poundingly scary and I still love them! The fashion choices haven’t stood the test of time, but there are some great stories by authors like R. L. Stine and L. J. Smith.
So if forbidden horror videos and 90s teen novels got me into horror, why do I love it so much?
The first reason is the visceral reactions. Not much fiction gets my heart pounding and has me racing to turn the pages or clenching the arm of the cinema seat like horror. I like the feeling of being scared, whether I’m soaring around a roller coaster, wobbling on skis or sitting comfortably in front of my television.
Another explanation for my fascination is that horror isn’t just about the scares. Think about The Walking Dead or The Last of Us, one of my favourite games. They’ve taught me more about writing grief, hope and relationships than most other genres put together. You can learn so much about people and characters when they’re put in the most desperate and dark of situations. Horror movies like Scream and Urban Legend are full of humour, smart dialogue and romance. Genre fiction doesn’t always have the best reputation for depth and quality of storytelling, and I think anyone who believes that should give it another chance.
If I had to pick only one genre to watch, read or play again, it would be horror (as long as Buffy the Vampire Slayer counts). What other genre can make you laugh, cry and jump high enough to spill your popcorn?
Mina and the Undead is published by UCLan Publishing, and is available to purchase from all good booksellers.
Any opinions expressed may not truly reflect those of the FCBG