Horror is a bit of a polarising genre, when you step outside of circles that enjoy it. Horror titles often make their way onto banned books lists, and are subject to outrage online. We love it, and we personally think that it's a much deeper, smarter genre than those on the outside looking in make it out to be.
Today, we had the pleasure of speaking with Sarah Harrington, author of the chilling novel 'All the 7s', which keeps a foot firmly planted in reality with its themes of sleep paralysis. We spoke about her initial interest in the genre, favourite horror authors, and why exactly we love horror as much as we do.
Check out the book here.
1). Our horror roster here at Pegasus is significantly smaller than the likes of our fantasy or romance catalogues, but it’s always a joy when we get to publish something in the realm of the sinister and chilling. What initially attracted you to writing a horror book?
I have favoured horror books and films since I was very young. I found a book of ghost stories in my older brother’s bedroom and was hooked from around the age of 7 or 8. Romantic novels hold zero appeal to me personally. Fantasy novels can be enjoyable but my heart lies with horror. I find it exciting and intriguing. They say you should write what you know, and horror is all I know.
2). Despite the inclusion of supernatural threat, ‘All the 7s’ deals with the terrifying and all-too-real subject of sleep paralysis. Do you think it is important for horror stories to always have ties to reality? If so, why?
I personally feel more afraid of horror stories with roots based in reality. I remember as a young teenager watching Clive Barker’s Hellraiser at the cinema and feeling a little disturbed by one scene that was set in a very suburban North London looking street and that stayed with me. I feel that there are enough horrors in real life situations without having to resort to the completely fantastical.
3). Which authors- in the realm of horror or otherwise- inspired your writing, and which horror books have spoken to you the most throughout your life?
I am a lifelong Stephen King fan and have also enjoyed novels by James Herbert, Graham Masterton and Dean Koontz, but my heart lies with Stephen King, the master. I have read everything Stephen King has written and have now started to read and enjoy his son’s books - the great Joe Hill.
I couldn’t choose a favourite Stephen King book, but “IT” and “The Shining” hold a special place in my heart as I thoroughly enjoyed the films that accompanied the books.
4). ‘All the 7s’ fits snugly into the psychological horror sub-genre. What do you believe are the key ingredients in a good psychological horror story or novel?
I believe the key ingredients to a good psychological horror story to be a sprinkle of realism, a sprinkle of the occult and, most importantly, character development. Also, I believe a little bit of the mundane helps, as I struggle with horror stories where the horror is constant, with no normality. I hope that I have achieved this with All The 7’s.
5). From the outside looking in, some are appalled by the enjoyment horror fans derive from the media they consume. Why do you think we truly enjoy horror? Do you think there is more to it than “It’s fun to be scared”?
I would say that the majority of my friends and family are not horror fans and they don’t understand my preference. I can only speak for myself, but I find horror quite relaxing , which I know is strange to some. It’s kind of comforting. There’s nothing better, for me, than snuggling up on a cold winter’s night with a good horror story. On occasion, when watching a horror film, I find myself laughing out loud when the horror really ramps up, so it must, in some way we don’t understand, cause a spike in certain individual’s dopamine levels, or horror wouldn’t be as popular as it is.
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