So, why a horror novella?
Ever since I jumped back into writing, it’s been mostly crime fiction. That’s where my head was, and still is most of the time. From reading, novels and short stories, to writing, I’m still writing shorts, and am in the middle of a novel, crime fiction feels like home.
Sometimes, my head jumps to the supernatural. When I was writing Hill Country, coming next year from Snubnose Press, I kept having these ideas about forces lurking just behind the action. There is a thread in the book about a cult and the use of it and rituals to mask more grounded criminal activity. But, I wondered what it would look like if, at the same time, real forces were at work.
And so, Merciless Pact was born. Set in the same town, at the same time, the story follows a man trying to understand what has happened to him, and then forced to decide between power and responsibility. The goal here was to explore the choice and the consequences. It’s not a gross-out story, nor is it designed to have you locking all your doors.
So, is it horror?
The tension is driven by fear. Fear of losing control. Fear in others by what they go through due to choices. Fear of the unknown. These are the sources of the drama, so, yeah, it’s horror. It’s also about many of the things crime fiction is about to me. The reaction to a personal invasion of some sort. The struggle to either survive or thrive. But this story is more about the personal terror.
So, (yes I like that word) will there be more horror?
Probably. At least in short form. I’m doing a series for Trestle and the next in that line will be out soon. There will also be other genres. I’m working on a novel that feels like a mix of Scanners, Minority Report and the office setting of Joe vs The Volcano. That’s likely to feel more like crime fiction with exploding heads, though as opposed to horror.