First in Category-Young Adult Fantasy

First in Category-Young Adult Fantasy
Dante Rossetti Award

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


How is it that an upbeat, naturally optimistic person like myself, sometimes chooses to write Dark Fantasy or even Horror—where do these thoughts and images come from.

I believe we draw from our own fears. Fears we think we've hidden so well, because we're grown-ups after all, and we're pretty good at repressing/ignoring these terrors in the bright light of day until something makes us feel vulnerable—goes scrabbling across the floor in the dark...

When creating fiction, we tap into the shadowy depth of our psyche when writing on the Dark Side.

Stories can take us to scary places, be it physically or psychically. Since the times of myths and legends,  it’s been human nature to desire to shuffle forward and spit into the abyss, never knowing what we’ll arouse…all the better, though, if we can live the experience vicariously from our favourite reading chair. 

Anything I write has a speculative element in it—epic fantasy, magic realism or paranormal—I love to stretch boundaries that way—does that makes my darker pieces more “dark fantasy” than horror? That precise boundary is always blurred... My own stories tend toward female protagonists struggling against the constraints or conditions around them, who become empowered by either the revelation of an alternate side of their psyche or an actual channeling of some potent force/ entity. The victims in these stories are usually characters that I, and I expect my readers also, will little mourn. There’s something cathartic about doing them in…who hasn’t imagined themselves strangling that obnoxious petty bureaucrat, or arrogant and insufferable boss?

So what dark thoughts do scare me...Possession by Evil. The thought of being compelled/driven against one’s will (or possessed by evil) horrifies me. I’ve toyed with the theme of possession more than once. The antagonist in my novel is a Mage who uses mind control for his own ends; my protagonist has some defences against this and is horrified that one would so abuse their power, their gift. She sees the evil that can be done. There’s types of imprisonment beyond physical confinement. Perhaps that’s why I find circus’ disturbing too…bears in tutus, etc—the distortion of a creature’s natural behaviour.

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