For me, truly horrifying tales involve a hidden evil within normal, everyday life. Imagine: there’s an unsettling spirit entity watching you read this RIGHT NOW. Can’t you feel it, observing you? It’s right here, just at your shoulder, willing you to turn around… look. Look now. LOOK!
Nothing there? It doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist… and that’s how The Beholder arrived in my head. As a reader and viewer of horror I’m always at my most terrified before the ghost or monster presents itself. The prospect lurking deep in our imaginations is often scarier than what might really be there… and hints at how we see ourselves and our precarious place in the world. To feel watched can make us feel frightened, but also validated: we look around to reassure ourselves and to discover how we might be seen by someone… something… else.
Hannah, a young teenager, recognises the danger of the Beholder’s lascivious gaze and yet she’s also thrilled. He marks her out as special, just when he seems to lose interest in her mother. And look what happens to the woman who is no longer noticed…
As well as writing fiction, I direct factual television films and documentaries. There, character and story are just as important as in fiction but everything must be journalistically-proven and illustrated, right before the viewers’ eyes. Perhaps that’s why, when writing fiction, I’m drawn to the unseen, the hidden, and the ambiguous. It’s no less real… and often feels closer to the truth at the heart of things. I’m really enjoying exploring these ideas, as I work on more stories and a novel.
So thank you, generous and talented Twisted 50 writers. I’ve learnt a lot from reading your brilliant stories through their various drafts, and your keen eyes and perceptive thoughts have increased my confidence in my own work. This time last year I’d never have dreamt that my writing would be included in this superb anthology, and that I’d be ranked alongside Stephen King as a bestseller on Amazon! And all the time, the awesome people behind the intitiative (Chris, Cristina, Elinor… to name just a few) have been there, supporting us and pushing us on. Sometimes it’s rather nice to feel watched.
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