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.
I have been up to my eyeballs busy working with my copy editor and re-releasing all of my books. She is a real stickler for details and while the stories have not changed, the sentences are cleaned up and pristine! Via her view, I have also gotten to hear my writing in a new tone and really love the story all over again. 8 books in, at about 400 pages a book...that's a lot of writing and a lot of character development. In ways, I wish they weren't my books and were new to me and I could enjoy the world created for this long.
How about the Walking Dead series? I admit I am a fan and have enjoyed the twists and turns in the story. I know fans are upset over the loss of some characters, but as a writer, I know that not all survive when chaos hits.
I hate when my own characters die as well.
Back to work I go...happy zombie hunting!
If you haven't read Alice and Friends, you should. It's by far my best book and very scary!
We are doing everything we can to get Alice and Friends released tomorrow for Halloween, my favorite "holiday". I think it's by far the best book I have released and I bet you agree! For one day only, it will be at a Halloween special price.
My books now go through a professional editor who has a sharp little red pen. My agent also had her fingers in the pie as well. With everyone involved, the pie sure has a lot of fingers poking at it! This benefits readers but it does tie my hands at times as I try to move fast and they slow me down. But never fear, I am a busy writer and I produce the horror. I promise, the upcoming holidays won't slow me down...tons of ideas still blaring at me.
Alice is a highly unusual novel. I somehow touched a few genres. There is a mystery here for sure, a psychological aspect (okay, it's chilling, who are we kidding), blatant horror, a cannibal or two, family ties, a nod to horror master Richard Laymon, a snicker and hint about the Z is for Zombie series (but is not part of the series at all but fans of the series will find a HUGE clue to the series mysteries embedded in this book) and it's a thriller. I feel this is a book that once you read, you'll want to go back and read again just to see all the clues given all along as to where this was headed. It's a rollercoaster and I never, ever lie, but ummm...well, I may not tell the reader everything up front...hee hee. What is more fun than those first sharp turns and spins on a coaster? It's having them at the end...one after another...wham, wham, wham....blinding speed and plunging falls...and what's at at the end? A slam into an ice cold pool...that's what's fun!
I think you'll enjoy this one. What I wrote is terrifying, but what you will think about after you've read it? Much worse. I think you'll be haunted and have chills every time you see a dark road, a smoke house, family photos, a basement. a fair,.....(you get the idea).
I write every day, 7 days a week. Last weekend, I took off F-S for a family break road trip to visit my family and to attend the Four States Fair with my husband and son. I was so sad to see that the art exhibit was 1/4 the size as it was years before and I didn't see the Home Ec competition! It's not the same when the old, traditional parts are missing from a fair. On the Ferris wheel, I had this full story come to me (Laymon-like) and my son frowned because even on the ride, I was "working". I felt as if the break was well deserved and a lot of fun for us.
Besides my regular writing (number 7 in the Z series is about to be released), I have been busy! I have been working with my wonderful agent on an audio book deal and a video. I had no idea how popular audio books are! My copy editor ran over the Z wiki and said it was good with a few tweaks and she is wading through G's Terms and then the rest of the series so we'll have a re-release of all books in a second edition after she is finished and okays them. I am working with some fine folks across the pond and they have given me some great ideas and feedback.
In each review I get, I see the same things...that my writing is very "character driven" and I never tire of hearing that. I don't know if readers always want that and many do prefer the plot driven styles, but my brand is "character driven" all the way. Someone once said there are only ten stories in the world and we all retell them over and over in new ways. That may be true. But I think the human mind is the true, uncharted territory, far more intricate and interesting than outer space. I am thrilled that people enjoy the characters of the Z series and have chosen favorites and want to know what they do and say next!
People ask me if writing is difficult. Ummm. Yes. Imagine I have you 15 blank pages and tell you the topic is zombies, to fill them up right then, and to make me love every word. Oh, and develop characters that are memorable, a good story, and transport my mind to another place. While you are at it, make me think and debate some issue but hide it so I don't know. Easy? Nope. That is my world every day. I can do that. I am more in awe of someone who can look at a car engine and make sense of it, or drive in downtown Dallas, or climb a mountain without going splat. I think we all can be amazed by those who do things we can't imagine doing ourselves. When I got my scuba diving certification, I couldn't imagine doing what I did, and yet, I did it all; failure was not an option. We can do many things when we get a plan, have a desire to succeed, and dive (or follow) the plan.
What is the connection here? I work hard. I write even while I don't know I am writing. Not everyone can do all things, Success isn't easy. See? There is a theme here. If you know someone in the arts area (music, art, acting) be supportive because I am positive, they are doing something that some can't do and they work hard to entertain. Entering a jar of pickled peaches in a fair isn't the greatest accomplishment, right? Wrong. How did that person learn to can peaches? What was the plan? How did it turn out? In each jar of pickles, there is a wonderful story involved that may never be told, but I can bet there is an interesting character sketch there. I hope more people share art and peaches with fairs and other people and I hope they tell the stories of how they accomplished their tasks. I hope people continue to amaze me.
Mostly, I just hope.
I like all areas of horror. Now, some of my books are very, very violent and gory. They are splatterpunk. "Jump scares". And yes, violence has sold extremely well for me. However, that said, the violence is another vehicle I use to juxtapose it with beauty and loyalty in situations. I show that even in violent situations, we can find amazing people and that nothing in the physical realm is as horrible as what may lie in our own minds via bad experiences, chemical issues, etc.
Horror can be subtle or in-your-face and I can relate to deciding which to use with supernatural fiction...Violence can be a very real controversy when we must decide how to use it, if to do so, when, in what way...
I can imagine having written a story about a nut dressing like the Joker and attacking a movie crowd. That would be a great story and it could go into the reason he does it and the people there who are heroic and who are cowardly....it would be a good vehicle to tell a story. HOWEVER...my God, it happened! The writer, if he had written such, would feel terrible and be raked over the coals and probably threatened, It is very possible and very controversial as we can all understand.
I think we, as horror writers, don't design or invent the violence, but we simply delve into the human mind and see the possibilities of some terrible things.
A man tells his friend he wants to be on an airplane that is hijacked but that lands safely in the end and the bad guys are caught and no one is harmed.
"How horrible! You would be terrified." The friends says.
"Yes, but it ends ok and then I won't be afraid of that anymore because what are the chances of me ever being on 2 hijacked planes?"
Horror sells because once you have seen or read it, what are the chances you will ever be in that spot again? You have seen the demons and escaped. In some ways, when we read about violence, we are carrying a rabbit's foot after that...a talisman of protection because....what are the odds?
So, this week I had a stalker...unreal, huh? Nut job from a state that begins with a T...and so does her name..hmmm....can only hope she crawls blindly back under her rock but it will make for future good writing! On the positive, my lovely husband tended me while I have been recovering after surgery and made home made potato and then ox tail soup. Heavenly.He sat and rubbed my arm, gave me massages, changed our bedsheets, watched tv with me and was a doll baby. Funny how ox tail soup and crazy people make you appreciate the people who love you. On the other hand, the greeting card industry made a killing on my surgery for the GET WELL cards.(sigh) And the dog hated me for a week 'cause I smelled funny after surgery. And i did learn that during surgery, people don't evacuate their bowels normally; yes, I did ask this question while I was there...curious.That all said, I am working hard again now on the second of the zombie series but have a great novel in notes that may get written,,,submission, Stockholming, cannibals, and a road trip a'la Dick Laymon style! Gotta love my weird brain and how it works; I may be vulgar but ya know I make ya laugh!
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.