"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Inspirations of a horror writer

By Fiona Dodwell

            Horror has always been my biggest passion in life; I started reading horror books and watching horror movies from a young age. I quickly became enchanted with ghost stories, and learning all about this genre. My earliest memory of knowing that horror was going to mean something special to me and my life, was finding a battered copy of Stephen King's Pet Cemetery in the house. Even at that young age, when many of the issues and circumstances explored in such a dark novel would go way above my own level of understanding, it gripped me, filled me with something that, to this day, I still feel touched by. I literally adore horror.
            Enjoying the genre as I did, it was not long before I realised this was something I wanted to do myself. Something I had to do with my life. I began writing my own story's at home – short stories about monsters, ghosts, the after-life. I entered fiction contests, joined creative writing groups at school, literally immersed myself in the dark works of others.
            When my novels The Banishing and Obsessed were released, I felt like I had finally moved toward something I have been born to do. I enjoyed, was captivated, in fact, by delving into the dark worlds of demons, spirits, hauntings and spiritual battles. I feel, though, (and I have thought this from the very beginning) that without the works of horror that have inspired me, I would not have created my own novels, would not be here writing this today.
            Every writer reads, first and foremost. Every good novel, or movie, can plant seeds of inspiration to others. I am not, and never have been, ignorant of the fact that my novels come from years of being drawn into the worlds and works of other master writers, film directors etc.
            I want to explore some films and movies that I feel have been hugely inspirational to me – for many reasons. It is in both literature and cinema that I have learned and grown as a writer, and here is a list of my favourites! I've picked three books, then three movies. If you want to add your own favourites at the end, please leave yours in the comment box – I'll be interested to read your recommendations!

-        Susan Hill's The Woman In Black
This story, about a solicitor who has to spend the week in a haunted manor by the sea, is absolutely one of the finest scary stories to be published. Not only does Hill manage to make each creak and groan of the house something to be terrified of, she expresses each sentence so gracefully. It's truly a work of art, in my opinion.

-        Stephen King's Pet Cemetery
Most readers of horror appreciate the talent of Stephen King. I feel no “horror favourites” list is truly complete without one of his works. My personal favourite – purely because it happens to be the most disturbing novel I have read to date – is Pet Cemetery. Legends of bringing the back to life from the grave scream from the pages of this novel, and it really is a difficult story to read in the dark. I cannot recommend it enough.

-        The Mall, by SL Grey
This novel, which was written by two people (something I didn't realise at the time of reading it) is so unique, so original, I find it hard to describe. It is essentially a horror story, but so much more. Centered around two young individuals who find themselves trapped in a mall over-night, The Mall is both unsettling, frightening, weird and even at times funny. It seems to have a bit of everything. I fell in love with this work as soon as I read it, and have had several reads since!

-        Inisidious (DVD)
I questioned whether I should include this release, as it has only been out here in the UK for a few weeks. It was a movie that I was instantly in love with – it has all those elements that I love in horror: spirits, hauntings, demons and death. A recipe for something dark and creepy. Although, as it's a new release, I can't say it has inspired anything I have written, it's something I watched and thought “I wish I'd done that!”

-        The Exorcism of Emily Rose (DVD)

            This movie, which was supposedly based on true-life events, really got under my skin. It's about a case of demonic possession, of a young college student, and the meat of the movie is based in court, where we hear lawyers fight over the possibility of the young girl being possessed. It's eerie, unsettling, and the acting of Jennifer Carpenters make this movie one of my all time favourites.

-        The Exorcist
No horror list – in my humble opinion – would be complete without a nod to the master horror movie of all time: The Exorcist. This 70's movie has been considered a classic since it's release all those years ago, and rightly so. The story of Regan's possession by a demon is one of the most famous stories in history, and even now, never fails to scare me when I watch it, which is at least once a year! I greatly admire the novel as well as the movie, both have their strengths.

Thanks for taking the time to read my list – feel free to add your favourites in the comments box!

If you're interested in reading either of my horror novels, The Banishing and Obsessed are both available as paperback and eBook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository and www.damnationbooks.com

By Fiona Dodwell
eBook ISBN: 9781615724864
Genre: Horror
Sub Genre: Supernatural
Novel of 63000 words
Sex rating: 1
Violence rating: 1
Edited by Andrea Heacock-Reyes
Cover Artwork by Dawné Dominique
Print ISBN: 9781615724871


James Barker thinks he has it all, until one fateful morning he witnesses a gruesome suicide. 

Haunted by the death, James seeks therapy for post-traumatic stress. Finding that the answers he seeks don’t lie in the therapist's office, James embarks on a journey. 

Who was this man, and why did he kill himself?
Now haunted by visions of the dead man in his home and in his nightmares, James begins to wonder if he is losing his mind. Surely the dead can’t return?
As his obsession spirals out of control, James uncovers the terrifying truth of the stranger who died at his own hands.
Soon he realizes that his life may be in danger – as well as the lives of those he loves.

He’d heard somewhere that drowning was a nice death that unconsciousness was quick to come, that it was like floating to oblivion. The idea sounded almost inviting.
James recoiled, jerked his body away from the edge of the pier, scared of how easy it was to end it all. What the hell am I doing?
“Go on, then. Do it.” The voice was behind him, close, he could almost feel the warmth of someone's breath against his neck. Suddenly he felt himself being shoved by invisible hands against the railing behind him.
James spun around, gasped. No one was near him, no one beside him, but he watched as a dark figure strolled casually away from the pier. He walked with big strides, a confident looking man. Except he is not a man, James thought, fighting the compulsion to turn back to the sea and jump into its cold clutches. It’s a demon. And I won’t let him win.

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