Please welcome my guest, Catherine Cavendish. Catherine is a fellow author who has the ability to keep you on the edge of your seat. I bought Catherine's book Cold Revenge on Amazon because the dinner party backdrop appealed to me and reminded me of the classic mystery/horror stories. Well, that and the blurb is great. Here it is:For no apparent reason, Nadine, Maggie, Gary, and Nick are invited to dinner at the lavish home of top fashion writer, Erin Dartford. But why has she invited them? Why doesn't she want her guests to mingle? And just what is it about the mysterious Erin that makes them want to run for their lives?Little do they know that as they prepare to eat their first course, an evil as old as mankind is about to be unleashed. And revenge really is a dish best served cold..
I finished reading the book in two nights. If you know me, you are aware that I go to bed really early and found myself reading past bedtime last night. Darn that Catherine! I've added my review to her growing lists of great reviews. For today's post, I asked Catherine to tell us why she writes in the genre she does.
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Why Do I Write Paranormal Fiction? ~Catherine Cavendish
It all started with the classic short story ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ by W.W. Jacobs. We read it in school when I was about ten and I was scared out of my wits, so naturally I had to have more.
Following that, the blame lies with Dennis Wheatley – and a UK (Thames TV) series in the Sixties called ‘Mystery and Imagination’ which introduced me to Oscar Wilde via ‘The Canterville Ghost’, along with Sheridan Le Fanu and Edgar Allan Poe, to name but three. The classic stories from the series were released in a book which I eagerly devoured as a child.
As for Dennis Wheatley, ‘The Devil Rides Out’ scared the life out of my early teenage self, so I naturally followed this up with the equally scary ‘To The Devil, A Daughter’, ‘The Satanist’ and ‘The Ka of Gifford Hillary’. This left me hungry for more, so it was only natural that I would discover Stephen King and, subsequently, Anne Rice, whose Vampire series featuring the exotic and erotic Lestat brought a new dimension to the genre back in the ‘80s..
Reading these authors led me into the world of the supernatural and, still to this day, I collect books on witches, demons and the paranormal generally. However, a scary and unexplained experience with an Ouija board led me to vow never to go near another one again.
I didn’t just read horror of course. My voracious appetite for reading introduced me to Agatha Christie and many happy hours of sleuthing, Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles and lots more writers of historical fiction and I also ceveloped a lifelong love of biographies (borne of a lamentable tendency towards nosiness I suppose!). I also adore history – and have a particular fondness for prehistory, fed by many visits and exploration into the mysterious circles of standing stones dotted all over the British Isles, such as Stonehenge, Avebury and the Ring of Brodgar. Why were these mysterious monuments built? No one really knows. And that lack of knowledge fuels the fascination they hold.
I have written stories since I was a child and have dabbled with crime and became rather more serious about historical fiction but, whatever else I wrote, I couldn’t help but return to my favourite in all its many guises. Horror. Paranormal. Ghost stories. Call it what you will, for there are many sub-genres. I love the tenseness, the atmosphere, the twists, turns, shocks, red herrings, demons, devils and denouements. And then, the final twist in the tale that turns the screw just a little tighter and leaves the reader wondering what happens after the story finishes…
Actually, when you look at it, a classic paranormal or horror story frequently embodies elements of a number of different genres. Many are set in the past or are timeslips. A lot involve a bit of sleuthing to find out who the killer (or demon) is and how to get rid of it. Many are edge of the seat thrillers. Some are lighthearted, comedic, fantasy or fairy stories. Others are erotic or at the very least, contain an element of romance. And some are set in the future and have more than a passing acquaintanceship with sci-fi.
So, for someone like me, who has always enjoyed a broad school of reading, I can get the best of all possible worlds. My paranormal story can be a fusion of genres without having to admit to it!
As with all genres, I believe you have to love it to write it and I love the amount of flexibility the paranormal gives you. I love dreaming up demons of my own or adapting existing ones from legend. And I love being terrified as I write. Yes, seriously! This may be down to my preferred style of writing which is to start off with a basic idea and then commit fingers to keyboard and see where the story and characters take me. Yes, I confess, I am a ‘pantser’ - and proud of it!
It can cause a few problems though. My latest story – ‘The Demons of Cambian Street’ – was initially inspired by a creepy, walk-in cupboard under the eaves of the 250 year old building where we live in North Wales. As my story weaved its sinister and supernatural tale, I became more and more wary of this cupboard, until I found myself avoiding it wherever possible. My 91 year old mother, on hearing about this, has said she is looking forward to reading the story – but not when she is staying with us!
So there we have it. I write paranormal fiction because I love to be thrilled and scared – and believe a lot of other people do too. I write it because I am drawn to the world of the supernatural and because I can blend in elements of other genres that fascinate and enthral me.
Now, what other genre can offer you all this, and more?
Catherine Cavendish lives in the North of England and North Wales with her husband and a slightly eccentric tortoiseshell cat called Mimi. You can find out more about her, and read extracts from her published work, on her website/blog: Catherine Cavendish.
Etopia Press have published her paranormal horror novella, ‘Cold Revenge’ and short ghost story, ‘In My Lady’s Chamber’ . ‘The Demons of Cambian Street’ is currently in production and will be published by them soon.
Gypsy Shadow Publishing have published her short, humorous ghost story, ‘Say A Little Prayer’.
All Catherine’s books are on Kindle and other usual e-formats and are available from Amazon , Barnes and Noble, OmniLit and other online booksellers.