I think, to be a successful Paranormal writer, you have to still believe in the unbelievable. Unfortunately that doesn’t just mean Santa Claus and fairies in the garden. If you’re going to believe in the light, the dark has to be just as real because one cannot exist without the other.
I believe in many things most people start to give up as they get older. Even now as I approach an age I care not to give voice to, I sometimes worry about standing too close to the edge of my bed for fear of the monsters living under there. I feel the cool breath of air as they crawl to the surface, the scratch of claws as they reach their gnarled fingers, coming ever closer to my ankle, ready to pull me into the abyss.
An ax wielding maniac does little to raise the hairs on my arms but an unseen specter, ruffling the curtains, brushing their icy fingers along my neck, now that will send me screaming for the protection of my covers.
I have always said that I am not afraid of the dark, but rather what is in the dark that I cannot see. So when I set out to scare my readers, I do not throw a bunch of blood and guts on the wall and expect them to stay up at night, afraid to go to sleep. After all, slasher movies don’t scare me, they just gross me out. Maybe it’s different for you, but for many, when we turn our eyes away from the sight of a machete cutting through flesh, it has nothing to do with fear of that happening to us; it is just shock factor of things that were never meant to see the light of day.
Ask me to walk down a long, dark hall with the narrator warning us of the unseen bend up ahead. Tell me about the possibility of something creeping up behind me, fingers just grazing the back of my shirt and no matter how fast I walk, it’ll never be fast enough. Put that invisible hand on the small of my back and push me into a run. That is what scares me.
That is what I try to tap into when I want to scare my readers. I want to send them to bed, clutching the covers over their heads, knowing if they give up the magical protection of their covers, there just might be something waiting in the dark.