1) Why did you choose to write horror?
I often say that it was never a conscious choice. When I was a toddler, my mother sat me down to watch old Scooby Doo episodes and I vividly remember seeing my first vampire there, and from that moment on, I was obsessed. I think that horror picked me, not the other way around.
2) What is your fav thing about the genre?
It’s diversity. Especially recently. But with many other genres, protagonists need to look and act a certain way. In horror, you can throw all that you know about characterization out the window. Is your villain an elderly lady who eats children? Great. A middle aged woman who kidnaps and tortures people? Excellent. A child possessed by a demon? Wonderful!
In horror, you only need to do one thing: scare your reader. Make them sleep with a light on. That’s all; it’s your only expectation. I think it makes for a more creative writing environment within your mind.
3) Tell us about your latest book.
My latest release is The Coven Queen, the final book in my YA horror series. Why did I choose to write horror for teens, when I can’t describe the gore or even swear? Because younger audiences deserve to be scared, too. When I was a kid, I read The Demonata series by Darren Shan, as well as the Cirque Du Freak series. Those books were so creepy, adults were scared of them. Yet they were kid-friendly at the same time. They shaped me, and I wanted to continue the tradition of writing horror that readers of all ages could enjoy.
The book follows a female protagonist, Harley, and closes a lot of open gaps left by the previous four books in the series as she has to stop a witch-killing cult from destroying the Coven one member at a time.
4) If you had one piece of advice about writing horror, what would it be?
If you can’t scare yourself, you won’t scare your reader. When I was writing Never Again, my supernatural horror novel, I remember rereading it during the second draft and realizing that I was legitimately creeped out and grossed out. And it made me realize that I am my first true beta reader. When you write horror, you must first freak yourself out. If your story doesn’t give you the willies, go back and think, “What about this situation would/could scare me?” Then add that in.
5) Who are your fav women in horror? (Books, movies etc)
Shirley Jackson, of course. I think every horror writer should read The Haunting of Hill House at least once. I love Poppy Z. Brite as well; she’s very whimsical in her horror and perfect for Goth girls. Some others I love (and have been fortunate enough to work alongside) are Carmilla Voiez and Faith Marlow. Faith and I collaborated on an apocalyptic horror novel that is currently being redesigned to be put back for sale called Soul Syndicate. Carmilla and I have been in various anthologies together, and she can really give you the willies!
“Why am I needed for a murder? Get the Smith boy if you must,” Mahon ordered.
“No, you don’t understand. It’s … we think it might be hunters.”
Caelum’s mouth dropped at the words. Hunters were fairly active in America and many other countries, but the UK had had precious little to do with them in recent decades.
Mahon said, “Text me coordinates. I will be right there.” He depressed the talk button and glared at Caelum. “Does calamity always occur when one of you people show up at the PID?”
Without missing a beat, Caelum replied, “Yes. Sorry. Did he really say hunters?”
Mahon nodded gravely. “Come on. You wanted to see where you’d best fit in here? Let’s see how you do at a crime scene.”
Caelum nodded and followed the director into the lift. He was rapid-fire texting, which seemed odd for a centuries old psychic vampire who spoke like he was living in the Elizabethan era.
There was a car waiting for them, a black Aston Martin, and Caelum got inside with just a hint of trepidation. Mahon could easily pass for a villain who would lure a victim into their fancy car only to drive them to a secure location, kill them, and dump the body into the Thames.
They drove to St. James Park, which was where Caelum holed up the first two days after he had been resurrected. Where he had first met Harley and Nick and the rest of them.
Nick, Roger, and Inspector Linwood were standing in a semicircle around a corpse. One of the magicians had put up a barrier to secure the crime scene.
“Long time no see,” Caelum joked when Nick spotted them.
Roger weakened the barrier so they could walk inside. Caelum took one look at the corpse and nearly lost his lunch.
It was a middle aged woman, conservatively dressed, her khakis now stained with viscous red blood. She had been shot in the chest five times, in the shape of a pentacle. There was a large hole in the centre of the star, where her heart had been cut from her chest. It was a clean job; whoever had done it had been well prepared.
The only way for humans to kill a magician was to shoot them five times with consecrated iron bullets and then cut their heart from their chest, set it on fire, and bury it. It was a labour intensive process, which was why no one did it except for hunters, or PID employees performing an execution. It was a slow, painful way to die.
“Disgusting,” Caelum said. “But definitely a hunter. Or angry creature.”
Linwood sized Caelum up and said, “Astute. Because only magicians can kill other magicians in ways not using this method.”
“So what makes you think it’s a hunter and not someone ticked off at this particular witch?” Caelum asked.
“How clean the cuts are, and how precise the bullet wounds are,” Roger spoke up. “An amateur, even one who had planned this kill so meticulously, would have mucked it up somehow.”
Caelum nodded. “True.” He couldn’t look at the corpse directly. The cuts that connected the bullet holes to make the pentacle were garish, especially encompassing the gaping cavern where her heart had once rested.
“What happens if hunters are actively targeting witches again?” he asked.
Mahon looked at him and gave a joyless little smile. “You wanted to know how you could help at the PID. You did security for the Coven, did you not?”
“Get your badge tomorrow morning. You are now going to man a team that will patrol the area to protect creatures and gather intel on these so-called hunters.
“Welcome to the team, Caelum Lynx.”
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About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”