I am a horror author, but I promise I’m not a freak. There isn’t a body hidden beneath the floorboards in my house, and I don’t have anyone tied up in my basement (because I don’t have a basement, but that’s beside the point). I also don’t revel in violence and I’m far from titillated by blood and gore. If anything, I’m as much disturbed by some of what I write as any of my readers are, and I’m even more prone to being afraid of some of the movies and books I read. I don’t know where my desire to write about the dark side of life comes from necessarily, and I’m not sure I want to know. I’m only grateful that it’s there, because it’s given me a career.
In a recent interview, I was asked what’s inside the mind of a horror author and I was later asked to expand upon it. Originally, I said horror authors’ minds aren’t much different from any others but they do have this desire to shine a light on the darkness that lives in all of us. People who aren’t a fan of the horror genre aren’t without this darkness. They just don’t like to look at it, and that’s okay. There are people who like to highlight on the positive and make people feel good, but make no mistake: horror writers like to make you feel good too. Only, it’s more of an inverse process. Anyone who has ever been through a rough time in their lives, be it losing a loved one or financial hardship or being the victim of a violent crime, I think we can all say that when we reach a place of peace and healing, we have a new gratitude for it.
To get technical about it, horror stories try to simulate those events by activating the same parts of the brain that are active during times of peril. It serves the same purpose that minor thrill seeking does, like riding a rollercoaster or skydiving. By the time you put down that book or finish that movie, we want you to feel more alive than you did before. We want you to feel glad it’s over and that you have this otherwise normal and sort of mundane life, but at least you’re not being held captive in a decrepit old mansion by a human spider. Sometimes when I watch movies or read books that are too positive, the opposite happens to me. I look at my life and find it starkly unfulfilling and mundane in comparison, and that can depress me. Maybe that’s just an odd quirk about my mind, but I think it’s why I tend to stray to the darker side of things. I crave that shift in perspective, and I think a lot of people out there do too.
Another thing people assume about dark fiction authors is that we are cynics and pessimists in daily life. Now, I don’t want to fool anyone into thinking that this isn’t the case. Writers can be some of the most jaded people out there. In many cases, it’s why they write. But I also argue that there is a lot of optimism buried in horror, because the underlying message in a lot of it is: “See how much WORSE things could be?” My book STRINGS is probably the most grim piece of fiction I have ever written or will ever write, but it was also written by an optimist who believes that human beings are as equally capable of good as they are of bad, and that even the worst among us have a spark of humanity that can be coaxed into a flame under the right conditions. Of course, it could just as easily go the other way too, but that’s not pessimism. That’s just reality.
Allison M. Dickson is a writer of dark contemporary fiction living in Dayton, Ohio. Though STRINGS is her debut novel, she has been writing for a number of years, with several short stories (including “Dust” and “Under the Scotch Broom”) available on Amazon. Two of her stories were featured The Endlands Volume 2 from Hobbes End Publishing. In 2014, Hobbes End will also be releasing her dystopian science fiction novel, THE LAST SUPPER, and she is independently producing her pulpy dieselpunk noir novel, COLT COLTRANE AND THE LOTUS KILLER to be released in November of 2013. When she isn’t writing, she’s one of the co-hosts of the weekly Creative Commoners podcast. She might also be found gaming, watching movies, hiking the local nature preserve with her husband and two kids who also serve as willing guinea pigs for her many culinary experiments.
At a trendy Turkish tavern one Friday night, astrophysicist Gabriel Diaz meets a mysterious young woman. Captivated by her beauty as well as her views on good and evil, he spends the next several days with her. Soon, however, he begins to notice a strangeness in her–her skin’s abnormally high temperature, her obsession with milk products, her child-like and bizarre behavior as she seems to take pleasure in toying with his conscience.
The young woman, Kamilah, invites him to Rize, Turkey, where she claims her family owns a cottage in the woods. In spite of his heavy workload and the disturbing visions and nightmares about his sister’s baby that is due to be born soon, Gabriel agrees to go with her.
But nothing, not even the stunning splendor of the Black Sea, can disguise the horror of her nature. In a place where death dwells and illusion and reality seem as one, Gabriel must now come to terms with his own demons in order to save his sister’s unborn child, and ultimately, his own soul…
*Dream Realm Awards Finalist!
What readers are saying…
“Mayra Calvani is a masterful storyteller… Dark Lullaby is complex and compelling…” –Habitual Reader
“Dark Lullaby is an atmospheric paranormal horror that grips you from page one and refuses to let go until you’ve raced, breathless, to the end.” –ePinions
“Dark Lullaby is a page-turner. A horror story from the top shelf! You’ll love it.” –5 stars from Euro-Reviews
“This is a terrific horror…” –Harriet Klausner
“Dark Lullaby will capture you with its rich descriptions, its exotic location, and the need to uncover the dark secrets hidden within its pages.” –Cheryl Malandrinos, The Book Connection
I’d like to announce the release of my paranormal suspense novel, EMBRACED BY THE SHADOWS, now available on Kindle for $2.99.
Here’s a blurb:
In a bazaar in Istanbul one evening, ten-year-old Alana Piovanetti sees a man standing in the shadows. He smiles, and over time she convinces herself that it was just her imagination that placed sharp fangs amongst those flashing teeth.
Twelve years later, Alana is surprised when she is chosen to manage a new restaurant opening in her home city of San Juan. She has neither training nor experience to justify her success. But La Cueva del Vampiro has the kind of ambience she adores, for Alana has always had a penchant for horror and the dark side of life. Yet she is also plagued with dreams of dark sensuality, dreams that take on shattering reality when she meets the stunningly handsome, charismatic Sadash.
For Sadash is the man she saw in the shadows so many years before…and Sadash isn’t human….
You may read the prologue and first chapter here: http://twilighttimesbooks.com/EmbracedbyShadows_ch1.html
The link to Kindle is:
The story features a Latina protagonist and a Turkish vampire. I hope you’ll give it a try!
To celebrate the release of my novel, I’m giving away two of my other books for free. This offer will run until Halloween night only. Of course, I hope you’ll consider supporting my work by purchasing a copy of Embraced by the Shadows, but if for whatever reason you decide not to, the two free ebooks are still yours to download. This is my Halloween gift to you!
The FREE ebooks I’m giving away are: Dark Lullaby and Cat Cellar and Other Stories and they’re available in various formats on Smashwords:
Dark Lullaby https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/94529
The Cat Cellar and Other Stories https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/95031
Enjoy! Happy reading and happy Halloween!
I want to thank all the wonderful bloggers who will be hosting me on their blogs and/or reviewing my novel this October. THANK YOU!
Here’s my blog tour schedule, put together by my fabulous publicist, Donna McDine:
10/10 – Anna’s Book Blog - http://annavivian.blogspot.com/2011/10/guest-blog-with-mayra-calvani-offer-of.html – Guest post.
10/14 – Books, Products and More! - http://booktoursandmore.blogspot.com - Spotlight.
10/17 – The Kindle Fever - www.thekindlefever.blogspot.com – Guest post.
10/20 – Colette, Buckeye Girl Reads - www.lovesromances.blogspot.com – Guest post.
10/21 – Vamp Chix - www.vampchix.blogspot.com – Guest post and giveaway.
10/24 – Book Lovers Inc - www.bookloversinc.com – Guest post.
10/25 – Vamp Chix Read Books - www.vampchixreadbooks.blogspot.com - Excerpt and giveaway.
10/26 – A Book Lover’s Dream - www.abooklovesdream.com – Guest post.
10/28 – Itzel Library - www.the-itzel-library.blogspot.com - Interview.
10/30 – Read All Over - www.read-all-over.net – Guest post, excerpt and giveaway.