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  • Writer's pictureDarryl Dawson

Darryl Dawson answers your questions

Today is a good day to answer some of your burning questions about me, my craft, and my catalog. Thanks to Sara Quelle-Femme for asking via my Facebook page. There’s a whole lot she wants to know (she is a curious one!), so I’ll bust through as many as I can this week and save the rest for next!

1) What drives you to write horror instead of another genre? I blame Rod Serling. Ever since I was a child, horror has been my happy place. It really started with my favorite TV show of all time, Night Gallery, which I saw in syndication when I was approaching my tweens. That and Twilight Zone helped me develop an appreciation for horror in short form, and how a well-crafted idea in an economical space can leave just as much of a lasting impression as one in larger confines. Nightmares are like that; typical nightmares don’t last very long but are unforgettable upon their conclusion. I think horror is the best genre to write in when you take that approach. I admit, though, that I’ve never written in any other genre!

2) Pen, pencil, typewriter, or computer? Computer, always.

3) Your favorite and mine (and every other writer’s): rejection letters. Everybody gets them. How do you handle them? There are some anthologies I really wanted to join for the prestige, only to end up missing the mark with my submission (“I Turned Invisible” in Death’s Dreams is an example). I only deal with the disappointment for about 60 seconds, and then move on. I don’t dwell on rejection.

4) Why clowns? WHY??? Why not clowns? (For the record, clowns don’t really frighten me. Guess I need to see IT, both versions!)

5) What is your first memory of being exposed to horror fiction? How did it initially effect you? I mentioned Night Gallery: up until my mid-20’s I used to have Gallery-themed nightmares with Rod Serling standing in front of a painting introducing my dream to me! First horror book I read was Carrie, after seeing the movie. The prom scene in the movie was frightening as hell, but that same scene in the book messed me up almost as bad.

6) What were the lasting effects? I never take electricity for granted! In fact, every electrocution scene I write is a nod to Mr. King.

7) What are a couple of YOUR nightmares? My least favorite nightmares are the ones where I’m wandering around in a large space or building, trying to escape without success. If you’ve ever heard the Genesis song “The Chamber Of 32 Doors,” it’s that kind of scenario. Every once in a while, I get the old night terrors where I’m paralyzed in bed, unable to scream, pursued by a shadow. But these days my dreams are rather benign and inconsequential.

8) Do you use your nightmares as basis for some stories? Sometimes. Once I had a dream where I saw a child brushing her hair with blood dripping down her smiling face. That vision became the impetus for “The Puppet Show.”

9) Does reading/writing horror lessen or increase the nightmares? Neither. I’d like to think that they’re more influenced by the stress of the day or the anxiety of tomorrow.

And that's just scratching the surface of Sara's interrogation! There are plenty more questions to be answered in next week's post. Meantime, if you have any questions of your own, go back to the home page and scroll down to the "Questions/Comments" section, fill out the form (address is not necessary for now), and send it in!

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