Horror and paranormal is not something I read or watch. I get spooked easily and have a very active imagination. As I teenager I would be plagued by nightmares for weeks. As I grew up I knew to stay away from anything like that.
These two subjects are very big in the book world and there are plenty of people who love a good horror film. Personally I can’t understand why a perfectly sensible and normal person would enjoy being scared or frightened. If that’s you, perhaps you could explain what drives you, I’d really like to know.
I wrote a story called Embers of Webster Street and it was about a girl dealing with her mum who suffers from dementia. It’s a difficult subject seeing someone you love forgetting things, and ultimately not always recognising you.
My Nana showed signed of it for years before it was recognised. We thought she was just a bit batty. She was a joker, liked to have a laugh, and I remember the day she was trying to get out of the car, stumbling or struggling and we laughed. She asked if we were laughing at her, we stopped when we realised it was a serious question. Normally, she would have laughed too, and it was at that point I knew something had changed.
My auntie, her daughter, took her in when she could no longer care for herself. Eventually she was admitted to hospital and my sister and I went to visit. By this time she was no longer our Nana, just a shell of a person who couldn’t even speak. It was the strangest thing because she looked like Nana, she had the same eyes, nose, and mouth, we knew so well. She was a funny lady, always talking, always joking and yet the woman in front of us stared at us with blank eyes. It was heart-breaking.
So when I wrote Embers of Webster Street, this was my main topic, only my pen took on a life of its own. It was supposed to tell the story of Jen, who felt tremendous guilt over having to put her mum in a home. But my pen introduced the ghosts of all the people who had lived in the family home. How her twin sister didn’t see them and and how her mum couldn’t accept it.
It turned out to be my first paranormal story.
It’s just one of the stories in my book The Magic of stories.