When I was a younger man I couldn’t imagine writing in any genre other than horror. Now I think I had to make up boogey-men back then because I hadn’t experienced the real monsters of loneliness, depression, and loss. There’s nothing scarier than the human condition.Steven E. Wedel
The above is a post I just made on social media. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while. This year I finished my second literary novel, revised the first one I wrote, and am 34,868 words into my third novel without werewolves or ghosts or fallen angels. Not even a frisky demon.
I still love horror. I enjoyed returning to the genre and writing Mother last year. I’m sure it won’t be the last one I write. But I hope that even it contained something more than just kids having sex to feed babies to a blog of slime. I hope it carried real human emotion. I’ve always tried for that, but there was definitely a time I was more about the sex and violence and trying to create a clever take on the monster.
I’m not sure where the shift came. Maybe with Amara’s Prayer. It was gradual. I know I surprised myself with the idea of Inheritance because there was no supernatural element at all. That book is more thriller than horror. And then A Light Beyond came and I think it’s the better story and I played with structure and liked telling the story in three distinct pieces.
And then I was writing a Western and erotica and romance and children’s books … Okay, Shim and Shay’s Wish and Songbird both have monsters in them, but they don’t win.
Yeah, that’s another thing. The good guys seldom won in my early work. And they really don’t win now. The literary novel I completed earlier this year, The Lost Pages Bookstore, has the most upbeat ending of anything under my real name with the exception of the children’s and young adult books. Because there are still monsters. Maybe not as hairy, but still there and still scary.