‘I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries.’
~ Stephen King
Oh, but don’t we love a Big Mac and fries?
Okay, some of us don’t, but when you think about what he’s saying, he’s absolutely right. A Big Mac, both when you break it down into its components and consider it as a whole, is disturbing, scary, and to some delicious. So, you might say, is a good Stephen King novel.
I’m a huge fan of his early work. Cujo, Christine, ‘Salem’s Lot (shiver), Pet Cemetery… The Shining, the first horror novel I ever read, by the way, gave me nightmares and inspired me to hide all of my stuffed animals in my closet after the topiary scene. (I was sixteen, so it was probably time anyway.) Misery had me so enthralled that my husband at the time left for work and came home to find me in the same spot on the couch two days in a row. (I’d spent the time in between taking care of our brand new baby, cooking, cleaning and doing laundry while he was gone, but it didn’t look so good from his perspective.) It was simply a period self-torture because I, like lots of other people I know, get the big-time willies from clowns, even when they’re just supposed to be funny.
I’ve never been a big reader of horror novels in particular, but I like to shake myself up every so often. I love Richard Kadrey and Chuck Palahniuk's dark and twisty minds. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the scariest vampire novel I’ve personally ever read. Period. I’ve got a dog-eared copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as well. I didn’t get very far into her vampire series, but The Witching Hour and The Mummy (hubba hubba) are two of my favorite Anne Rice novels. Neither of those is particularly scary, but they're loaded with lots of love, angst, and drama, drama, drama.
And whether we write it or just enjoy reading it, who among us doesn’t like a little of the paranormal in our romance novels? I bet there aren’t a lot of hands up right now.
The world of romance can be a murky bog to wade through - especially if you head into it hunting down the vampire/witch/fallen angel you’re meant to love forever and ever - but there’s always sunshine, or moonlight, when you make it to the other side. Do you find you like to travel out of the traditional romance world and into the dark on occasion? If you do, what are some of the books that take you there?
And whether you like it squeaky clean or bone-chilling, I hope your weekend has been fun!