Hi Sarah, tell us a bit about you and your writing.
Firstly, thank you very much for inviting me onto Horror Scribes. I’m always happy to talk about horror – it’s kind of where I live. After qualifying as a nurse and specialising in psychiatry, I started writing about 15 years ago. I had hundreds of short stories and serials published in magazines, followed by my first novel in 2013. However, I have always been drawn to the supernatural, the ghostly, and downright spooky, so it was inevitable I would end up here on the dark side. To date I have four novels in this genre – The Father of Lies trilogy (Father of Lies, Tanners Dell and Magda), which is very dark and highly disturbing stuff. Then this year I wrote The Soprano, which is more along the lines of crime and witchcraft. Readers do like to be terrified out of their wits though, so currently I’m working on The Owlmen, an off-shoot from the Father of Lies trilogy and my darkest work yet.
What in your opinion makes good horror?
I think it’s very hard to find. I used to love James Herbert’s books but so far, with the exception of Susan Hill’s creepy ‘Woman in Black’ I haven’t found anyone to seriously scare me. James Herbert’s The Shrine has a scene I can still recall and it gives me the creeps to this day, which is the mark of excellent horror. If I had to analyse it I’d say he managed to succinctly convey abject terror and atmosphere in an ancient church with rain battering the windows and a howling wind rattling the latch on the door. Even though his protagonist did not believe in the supernatural he was scared without JH ever telling us he was…superb writing with roots in the highly possible! And that old English landscape I love so much…. All that history, all those ghosts…. In films, again not many, but as a teenager The Exorcist kept me awake for a week afterwards! And The Exorcism of Emily Rose freaked me out , as did a small English film called The Borderlands – again we’re talking churches and real possibility and atmosphere….To sum it up? I’d say ‘as real as possible.’
How do you feel about flash fiction as a medium for horror?
I’ll be honest – I’m not a fan of flash fiction!
What is your favourite horror short story?
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe
What scares you the most and what is your favourite horror scene/passage/novel?
My favourite horror scene is as above, James Herbert’s old church scene in The Shrine. What scares me the most is what I researched for The Father of Lies. I gave the books to a friend because I didn’t want them in the house and she burnt them! Seriously – I had to read in daylight hours only because something started to affect me while I was doing this… I had some frightening experiences. Suffice to say it was about people who had demonic experiences and those who tried to help them. Shudders….
Please give us a one sentence horror story!
‘Alone in the house she woke at three in the morning… bang on… to find all her covers had been piled into the corner of the room, and the dressing table now blocked the door.’
Thanks for taking part Sarah and all the best with your Father of Lies trilogy and other books.