Friday, October 21, 2005

Romance Meets Horror, or "Can You REALLY Be Nora Roberts and Stephen King At the Same Time?"

I'd like to start by thanking author Meljean Brook for the link to this Science Fiction Romance Online article by Joyce Ellen Armond. Armond has many good things to say about combining true horror with romance/eroticism. For example:

Author Mort Castle reminds horror writers, and now romantic horror writers, that, "When the ordinary is invaded by the terrifyingly extraordinary, horror happens." That's why in romantic horror, character and setting must be drawn as realistically as possible. If you want your readers to believe in, and be horrified by, your masked murderer who doesn't die, they first have to completely believe in your heroine, your hero, the street they live on, the taste of their coffee, the frost on their windowshield in the morning and how they're going to be late for work because they have to scrape it off, how there's a run in her pantyhose or pit stains on his white shirt -- all the details of their literary world must ring absolutely true, so that when you introduce the discordant note of the supernatural, it rings true by association. Stephen King is a master of creating a world that, if taken from the pages, could translate without hitch into reality. Except, of course, for the evil clown living in the sewers. When you read the premise of IT -- evil clown living in the sewers – you tend to laugh. Pshaw. How unbelievable. Evil clown, indeed. But King pulls his readers into the alternate reality of his story by making the characters and their secrets so real, and the town and the sewer underneath so believable, that when the evil clown comes along, the reader believes in that, too. As Mr. Castle says, "It's reality's 'what is,' not imagination's 'what if"' that can transform horror premise into horror story.

All I can say is YES. And YES again. And throw in a little blatant self-promo...

In writing my upcoming erotic horror release, "Moondance," I strove mightily to capture exactly what's described above -- that verisimilitude of mundane detail that makes the creepy shit kick the reader in the gut that much harder.

Armond goes on to say:

I think that the cornerstone of romantic horror is the premise that romantic love, complete with expressed sexuality, is the best weapon we have to defeat evil. Paula Guran believes that "the deeper, transformative aspects of sex are still taboo" in horror fiction, and in Western culture. When a heroine accepts the vampire's kiss, she's transported out of humanity. Even when she willingly bares her neck to her vampire lover, she's stepping outside of cultural norms and transforming our definition of what love and sex can be. I suppose the cynical path is open, and our monstrous heroes can be dismissed as just the ultimate "change the bad boy" fantasy. But I prefer the more romantic, and more introspective, perspective. Horror stories, from The Brothers Grimm to The Ring II, ultimately are about how we deal with Lovecraft's "weirdly horrible" situations that challenge our understanding of consensual reality. Fiction has pitted maternal love, fraternal love, love of country and love of deity against those challenges. It is the task of romantic horror to convince readers that romantic -- and erotic -- love is the best answer to fear. And to me, that's one of the most moral message we can send.

Amazing. I wish I'd read this article before writing "Moondance." I might not have struggled so much with the over-arching premise. Armond's nailed it -- the redemptive power of Eros in the face of paralyzing terror. Ultimately, it saves my heroine's sanity, and maybe her life.

Fascinated? Intrigued? Mildly interested and got ten minutes to kill? Check out my webpage for "Moondance," which will be released next week in ebook form by Phaze. (WARNING: site not necessarily work-friendly.)

Have a marvelous weekend!


Blogger Eva Gale said...

I loved that article. I get the newsletter, and every month is great.

10/21/2005 4:34 PM  
Blogger Eva Gale said...

Read your excerpt! Wow, that is great! I can't wait to read the rest. Deliciously hot and scary.

10/21/2005 4:40 PM  
Blogger Selah March said...

Thank you! I could've gone with something hotter as an excerpt, but I decided to keep the really good stuff under wraps for now, shameless tease that I am. :p

10/21/2005 5:31 PM  
Blogger meljean brook said...

I agree -- wonderful excerpt. Oct 24? And today is...the 23rd. Well, maybe I'll get lucky at it'll be midnight on their server :)

I have read quite a few horror/erotica anthologies, but most of them were so tongue-in-cheek that it ruined any sexual or romantic aspect of it, and undermined the horror.

What I'm writing now isn't horror, maybe more on the 'creepy' side a few times...I would love to go there at some point, but more, would love to READ it. Your excerpt sounds like a great jumping off point for me :)

10/24/2005 12:41 AM  
Blogger Donald Francis said...

Excellent article! I do, however, hope that you aren't planning to be Nora Roberts and Stephen King at the same time, because...CREEPY!

Just kidding. The thing I love about your work is that verisimilitude. A lesson well learned.

10/26/2005 3:42 PM  
Blogger Selah March said...

Yeah, not so much "released Oct. 24" as "released the WEEK of Oct. 24." But thanks, Meljean!

10/26/2005 5:04 PM  
Blogger Annalee Blysse said...

Bernadette was posting about N.Roberts today. This one is interesting too. Nice web page.

10/26/2005 7:31 PM  
Blogger Haven Rich said...

Wow that was good. Very spicy hehe.

10/26/2005 7:42 PM  
Blogger Bridget Midway said...

Moohaahaahaa! You've been tagged! You can check out my blog or cut and paste from what I posted below. It's all about threesomes! ;) Enjoy!


Three screen names that you've had:

Three things you like about yourself:

Three things you don't like about yourself:

Three parts of your heritage:

Three things that scare you:

Three of your everyday essentials:

Three things you are wearing right now:

Three of your favorite songs:

Three things I want in a relationship:

Two truths and a lie:

Three things you can't live without:

Three places you want to go on vacation:

Three things you just can't do:

Three kids names:

Three things you want to do before you die:

Three celeb crushes:

Three of your favorite musicians:

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeals to you:

Three of your favorite hobbies:

Three things you really want to do badly right now:

Three careers you're considering/you've considered:

Three ways that you are sterotypically a boy:

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Three people that I would like to see post this meme:

10/27/2005 7:05 PM  

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