Autumn is commonly referred to these days as "spooky season", and it's not hard to see why. Halloween looms on the horizon, the air is cooler, the trees are shedding their leaves and the nights are creeping in earlier and bringing with them images of ghosts, ghouls and other folkloric beasts that worship the darkness and have a thirst for blood.
In the seasonal spirit, we wanted to delve into our roster of horror authors and hold up some of them for you to see in a well-deserved spotlight! Today, we spoke with Bethany Kynnersley, author of the weird, wonderful and downright chilling "Tales of Terror from Torment Tower". We spoke about horror films, what makes a good horror story and if she has ever had a paranormal experience.
You can get Bethany's book here.
1). Despite the popularity of the genre, our roster of horror authors is quite small, especially when compared to the likes of thriller or fantasy. What drew you to writing horror, and where did your interest in the genre begin?
I absolutely love horror films and dark, creepy, scary tales. I love Halloween and autumn and winter, thunder and lightning, so writing about these comes easier as I find it more interesting and relatable to compose a story about something that intrigues me. I love the paranormal, which is my favourite kind of horror. I’ve not watched or read much about the blood and gore and slasher side of it, I’ve not yet written anything regarding the slasher side of horror but never say never. From a young child, 8/9/10 years old, I’ve loved horror films. It’s just always been a genre that I enjoy. I do find the paranormal far more fascinating and easier to write about. I love hearing stories about anything spooky and mysterious. The scarier, the more chilling, the more bizarre, the better!
2). You mention being an avid fan of horror films. If you could only watch three horror movies again for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
The first film without a doubt would be ‘Scream.’ I absolutely love ‘Scream’ and would never ever get tired of watching it. It’s enticing from the beginning right to the end and I absolutely love Ghost Face!
Choosing my next film is kind of hard because there are so many I like. However, one I found extremely fascinating was ‘The Others.’ I couldn’t believe when it got to the end and I found out the massive twist! I thought it was incredible. Talking about it now makes me want to watch it again.
The third film, one of the very first horror films I had ever watched was ‘What lies beneath.’ I watched it on holiday when I was about 10, it really stuck with me and I have again watched it many times as I enjoy it so much.
3). What do you think makes a good horror story?
I think it depends which sort of horror you’re into. Some people prefer paranormal, some prefer the slasher side of it. There’s thrillers, action horrors, all different types and I think it depends on the subgenre as to what makes a good story.
For me, I prefer the paranormal type of horror. A storyline with a twist, or unexpected situations arise. I think that even if the story is not totally believable, for the reader to feel genuinely scared or to feel the emotions that the characters are experiencing, then that is the hallmark of a great horror story.
4). “Tales from Torment Tower” is set in a care home, and you yourself are a care assistant for the elderly. Have you ever had any paranormal experiences during your time working, or did you choose the setting simply because it is something familiar to you?
I personally believe in ghosts and everything paranormal. I work in a nursing home and yes, I’ve experienced things which I believe are totally due to spirits. Some people are skeptical and don’t believe, and therefore think of reasoning for the said experiences, however I have experienced some things I don’t think there is any legitimate explanation for.
It’s the same for me at home as well. I know that there is a ghost in my house, and I believe it is my Nan. However, I haven’t seen this person's face, only from the neck down. The spirit is most active in my bedroom and has been now for several years. I can be sat in my room and the TV will come on and start searching through channels. I often wake up to my bedroom fan to have moved locations in the night. I’ve seen this figure in my room on one specific occasion but only from the neck down. So it’s hard to pinpoint who it is exactly, I guess it could be anybody really, it’s just that my Nan would be my immediate guess.
5). If we may ask, what’s next for you in your writing endeavours?
I actually have a story in progress that I began writing after I had finished ‘Closed Doors.’ So its existence was actually before ‘Tales of Terror from Torment Tower.’ However, I have some of it written but haven’t got a final plan or idea about the ending or how to carry it on from the point I’m at now. I’ve not looked at it for a while due to being busy with all the ‘Tales of Terror from Torment Tower’ work. I have no name for the book I’m halfway through either. I will have to read through it and see what ideas I can come up with for the remained of the story. I’ve no plans of starting another book just yet, however I do have some ideas written down for when I have a clearer idea either for a new book, or to carry on the story I have already half-written.