http://www.cattd.com now contains hints about upcoming horror novels. catt dahman continues to make the ordinary quite horrifying as she takes on time travel, Spartan history, the countryside, and family secrets in the next few months. Long awaited novel Smooth is in final editing steps and will be released soon and will chill readers as it pokes at so many phobias we all share: fear of drowning, fear of the dark, and much more. About choices, the novel strips them away and leaves the reader with a frightening emptiness that will thrill S. King fans.
It's interesting how kids and kittens can walk the fine line between being really cute with mischief and being naughty. My kitty, Limmerfer, was in my bathroom and way too quiet; I should have known he was up to something. I found him standing on the seat of the toilet with the sweetest look on his face but around his little body was wrapped toilet paper....over and around all over him. In his innocence, he just looked at me as if he needed someone to save him. Children and animals can be so funny. They find trouble and can be little pests at times. But seriously, animals don't kill for the sport or pleasure....oh...unless you count when the cats catch a bird or mouse and play with it, letting it go and then capturing it again? That makes me wonder. What do cats think about then they play with their prey? What do they think when we feed them dry kibble instead of yummy raw meat?
Of course this leads me to my next thought about cannibals. What you didn't think I would mention cannibals and the fact that people taste like pork? Seriously...they do. Why do cannibals play with their prey? Is it tradition or does the chases and fear lend chemicals and therefore, spice, to the flavor of the meal? Is it a form of "winning"? The Aztecs used to make war on one another so they could capture other warriors to consume. They did it for many reasons. For one thing, the amount of meat fed the people of a village. Secondly, they felt the blood was a tribute to the gods and the genitals encouraged fertility so there was a religious reason for the consumption of other humans.
I'm not sure how eating humans can be a religious tribute, but in times of hunger, I do see the need for it. (in point, the Donner party who was starving) but my question is how does it get started as a formal ritual? When does it go from a need or happening to a specific cultural norm? Is the okay to do it somehow buried within us? We accept many odd cultural things as okay and never question it or if we do, we still go along. (Overly skinny girls are sometimes unhealthy and we should allow people to be who they are but wow....we sure like those skinny models)
In a culture of cannibals, the one who went vegetarian would really be the outcasts, eh? And wouldn't there be not only food reasons, but societal ones as well? Do we as a society still push religious values and morals? Not always. We are more about letting each person have his own rights and adhering to "live and let live". While that is great for us as individuals, it hurts the societal culture. And it really hurts the push for cannibalism. Eh.....just saying....
As a writer, i get odd questions like....where do my ideas come from and are writers rich and is it hard....and I get asked things like..."Is that me in your book?" On one hand, I am flattered that I have written so well that someone identifies with a character! But to be honest, a character may have a few traits that real people have, but no one character had EVER been someone from real life. Why? Take Alice and Friends..... the antagonists are (sometimes cannibals) kidnapping, sadistic, inbred, brilliant men. Do you think I KNOW anyone like that??? The women in the book are generally good, strong females, but Alice, of the title is a spit fire and doesn't break no matter what she endures, DO you think I know someone like HER? Trust me....no one is in my books....well...none are major characters. Now there may be a few very small roles that I put people I know in r/l. They always get eaten or worse. If you are someone i seriously dislike, then maybe some of you will be used for a character, our first name, traits, the way you looks, things you've said,,,,and then i will kill you off in the most brutal ways imaginable. I have a few on my list. But If I like you, you (may) nothing to fear.
It must be very easy to write scary stories and to entertain and move on. I love those books. I like reading and having an adventure and then going on to a new book. Sometimes, I read a book and it haunts me in some ways. I can't get it out of my head. Ira Levin's novels haunt me. Robert McCammon's Swan Song haunts me. I think that it's because I know there is more to the story and yet, they don''t tell it. They leave me hanging and wondering about the characters. But Swan Song also digs into some weighty issues about how we judge others, who people are beneath the surface, love, bravery, sacrifice and the nature of jealousy and evil.
I long to write just a scary book, but I can't seem to get there. In the zombie series, Z is For Zombie, I tackled the right to die by choice, judgement, ethics,and maternal love. I went so deep into some theme that I began to wonder what my story was all about. Yes, there were zombies, but they were a vehicle for so much more I wanted to tell. In Alice and Friends, I thought it was a book about a girl being kidnapped and her struggles, but it is about family and shades of badness and I was reminded about Dr. Frankenstein and the way his creature turned on him. In other words, the book became about more than what was on the surface. Smooth, which is in the works now, started as a book about a creepy town changing and a few heroes trying to do the right things, but the right things became muddled and the book is evolving into something else. It is about the sheer strength of people and the sacrifices they will make and love and bravery.
I have found that each book I write become more than I planned and if asked what a book is about, when obviously it is horror, my answer is something like "It is about hope. Or Love. Or fortitude, Family. Lonliness. Isolation." Maybe that is why we write and read horror. In the midst of fear and dread, there seems to be another message of something bigger. Is it that way in real life? I don't know, but in the wake of recent tragedies, there are heroes involved. Instead of caring about the idiots doing the killings and what is wrong with them, and instead of only honoring the victims, I would like to know the stories about the heroes. What horror did some face and then make wonderful, selfless choices and serve a higher cause?
Again, I am left to wonder.
But I feel, if we can find the hidden heroism and sacrifice, then we reach the real human spirit and who we really are as a species.
Catt Dahman lives in Texas with her Husband, son, 7 cats (Ollie, T.S. Eliot, Murron, Limmerfer 2, Procol, Fin, and Winnie), a dog named Levi and a ferret named Tassels. Catt writes horror, thrillers, spooky stories, and westerns.