S. K. Gregory
1) Why did you choose to write horror?
I have loved horror since I was a child. My mother would always have horror movies on and we would watch them. I love the whole good defeating evil storyline.
2) What is your fav thing about the genre?
With horror, you can have most other genres thrown in too. You can have romance, action, and more. Horror is about exploring your fears in a safe environment and telling a great story along the way.
3) Tell us about your latest book
My latest horror book is called Hotel Hell: The Penthouse. I was inspired by the tales from the Cecil Hotel and I thought it would be interesting to see what it would be like for an employee working in the hotel. I chose Georgina, a woman desperate for a job who comes to work as a maid at the hotel. Weird things start to happen and they get worse when a guest stays in the Penthouse. A very dangerous guest.
4) If you had one piece of advice about writing horror, what would it be?
Use your own fears to help craft your story. Always think - how can things go wrong, then ramp up the tension. I also like slow build, when small things happen that seem inconsequential on their own, but when you put them together it gets bad.
5) Who are your fav women in horror?
Oh sooo many! All the women who took part in this event! I also love Laurell K. Hamilton and Anne Rice. My overall favorite though is Wynonna Earp. I adore the show to the point I am considering getting a tattoo!
Excerpt from Hotel Hell: The Penthouse Book 1
William Jones stepped off the hansom cab and took in the sight of the Harrington-Smyth hotel. Standing five stories tall, and holding over two hundred rooms, it was a magnificent sight. He had heard his father talk about it, but this was the first time he had laid eyes on it. William was away at school when his father took over as manager of the hotel. The job took him far from home, but with William away at school and his wife long gone, he felt ready to commit to the job.
Last month, his father passed away. William wasn’t expecting the letter he received from the owner, Mr. Smyth, asking him to come to the hotel about a potential job offer. William was quite happy with his job at the bank and had no intention of taking the job but considering how much the hotel meant to his father, he felt that it was better to meet Mr. Smyth in person, to tell him face to face.
After tipping the driver, he retrieved his bag and went inside. The foyer was almost empty, which surprised him. He heard that this was one of the most successful hotels in the city. Or at least that is what his father always said. Perhaps he exaggerated the truth, in order to make things sound better.
He approached the check-in desk, where a man, dressed smartly in a suit, was waiting.
“Can I help you, sir?” he asked William.
“Yes, I’m here to see Mr. Smyth. He sent me a letter,” William said, removing the letter from his pocket.
“Ah, you must be Mr. Jones. Mr. Smyth is waiting for you,” he said. He led William to a small office, close to the check-in desk.
Mr. Smyth was seated behind the desk. He rose when William entered the room and offered his hand.
“Thank you for coming,” Mr. Smyth said, shaking his hand.
William was struck by how different he looked from the photograph his father had showed him a few years ago. He was thinner and seemed to have aged a great deal in a short space of time. Considering the unfortunate events that had befallen him in the last few years, it was understandable. Shortly before his hotel opened to the public, his stepdaughter had died suddenly. His wife passed two years after that. It seemed that no matter how much success a man had, some things in life were irreplaceable.
“Mr. Smyth, I was flattered to receive your letter, I know how much this place meant to my father, but I am already employed so I am afraid I will have to decline your kind offer.”
Mr. Smyth studied William for a few seconds. “Did your father ever tell you about this place? I mean the real truth about the hotel?”
“I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean.” Real truth?
Mr. Smyth sighed. “I was afraid of that. Your father held a very important position here at the hotel. He was a caretaker, of sorts, and without him I’m afraid the hotel cannot function.”
“I thought my father was the manager?” William said, confused. A caretaker implied an altogether different kind of job. Had his father lied to him?
“He was the manager, yes. But his job here was so much more than that. This hotel is…unusual. Your father was able to keep everyone in line and ensure that it ran smoothly, with a limited number of fatalities.”
William was sure he had misheard the man. “Fatalities?”
“Mr. Jones, when I built this hotel, I made additions that you would not normally find in other buildings. Your father discovered what I had done and vowed to keep the evil in this hotel at bay. He made a pact in blood, and I’m afraid as his heir, it is up to you to take his place.”
I opened my mouth, to call the man mad, when a scream echoed through the hotel. Rising from my seat, I looked to Mr. Smyth for an explanation.
“It’s getting worse. I’m afraid you don’t have a choice, Mr. Jones.” There was real fear on his face.
“This is madness. You sir, have taken leave of your senses.”
William stormed out of the office and straight into chaos. A woman lay on the ground of the foyer, convulsing wildly. Two men were attending to her, but she lashed out, striking them both.
“Someone should fetch a doctor,” William said.
The woman suddenly arched back, bending at an unnatural angle. William could swear he heard bones crack.
The woman’s head twisted around to look at William. Her eyes were open, but they were devoid of color. Two white orbs stared at him, sending a chill down his spine.
Her mouth twisted into wide grin, revealing a row of yellowed teeth.
“William,” she said in a deep, masculine voice, “I haven’t seen you since you were a child. We killed your father. If you stay, we’ll do the same to you.”
Her body dropped to the floor and she lay still. William was struggling to draw a breath. The woman was surely possessed.
“Is this some kind of witchcraft?” he asked Mr. Smyth.
Mr. Smyth regarded him with a level stare. “There is evil here. Evil that will spill out into the world if you do not help me keep it contained.”
“No,” William said, hoarsely. “I won’t be a part of this.”
He hurried toward the door, eager to escape this house of horrors. As he attempted to cross the threshold, back into the street, he was thrown back onto the floor.
Stunned, he got to his feet, shaken by the fall.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Jones,” Mr. Smyth said, taking a few steps toward him, “but I’m afraid you can no longer leave. You are a part of this hotel now. You are the new caretaker.”
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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.”