This October I decided to embrace the spooky season and watch and read seasonal appropriate stories. (My viewing ranged from the feel-good Hocus Pocus 2 to the very disturbing but compelling Dahmer).
I follow an Instagram account @talespointhorrorbookclub where ‘the host’ selects a classic 90s Point Horror book to read and discuss and I love logging in and recognising books from my childhood, but usually I can’t read-along as I gave away most of my collection (or borrowed them from my local library back in the day, so never purchased). So I was delighted when 13 Tales of Horror popped up as the October read, as I still have this short story collection (see photo below) Co-incidentally I recently read a brilliant post about the Point Horror series on my writer pal, Kirkland’s blog – you can read that here, and that also made me want to read the books all over again. (While you’re on Kirkland’s blog you should check out this post about his new book Sadie, Call The Polis, which was just released yesterday)
What struck me when I delved into the Point Horror short story collection was how classic American the characters were, and pretty cheesy with it. I was obsessed with American books when I was in my last year of primary, into secondary. I binged on an all-American diet of Point Horror, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High (and Twins), and the Babysitter Club. The alternatives at my reading club in my final year of Primary school were offerings such as ‘The Droving Lad’. What eleven-going on twelve-year-old girl wants to read a book about eleven year old Colin, a cattle drover in the Scottish Highlands, when she can read about the alluring and dangerous Bobby Walker? (a character in Christopher Pike’s Collect Call stories).
The 13 collection was a nice trip down a spooky memory lane, and one story I did remember that still wins as one of my favourites in the collection was ‘House of Horrors’ by J.B. Stamper. The award for best writing and subtle chills goes to Caroline B. Cooney’s ‘Where the Deer Are’
Seeing Caroline’s name sent me on a hunt through my bookcases for one of my all-time favourite ‘teen’ reads – The Fog (photo of my original copy below) Cooney has a real knack at building up a tense and creepy atmosphere. I think teen books lend themselves well to horror, and in this story being young and at the mercy of evil adults gives a sense of powerlessness, which builds the fear.
As my Young Adult mystery (not a horror) Promise Me features flash-back scenes to the night of a murder at a Halloween party I decided to create a PDF doc with graphics and a preview of the first few chapters. I’ve posted a pic of Scene 1 below and you can read the rest of the free extract here.
If teen screams aren’t really your thing then you should check out my writer Mum, Rosemary’s contemporary collection of quite spooky short stories, End of the Road which is FREE for the next few days. You can get that collection here
Happy Halloween weekend all!