When people ask where I get my story ideas from, my response is usually: “From my childhood.”
This might be considered fairly disturbing since I mostly write dark fiction. After a moment or two, I explain that my mother was a diehard mystery novel fan, my brother loves horror movies, and my sister is a thriller aficionado. I guess you could say it’s a family thing.
It’s been a long time since my brother and I sat in a dark room with flashlights under our chins and told each other eerie tales of murder, ghosts, and monsters. Yet after all these years, my love of creating and reading such stories has never been stronger. From teens in a notoriously haunted house in The Haunting Season, to a young 22-year-old actress who discovers that gargoyles are real in Of Shadow and Stone, I like to throw characters into worlds or situations they don’t see coming.
But writers are readers, too. In my opinion, there’s no greater bang for the entertainment buck than a book. Movies take away too much of my own imagination. With movies, I’m part of the audience. With books, I’m actually there, in the story.
Here are some books for the older teen and new adult crowd that satisfy my craving for the dark, the paranormal, or just good old-fashioned creep factor:
Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater. For fans of her trilogy Shiver. Stiefvater’s portrayal of werewolves speaks to me in this often poetic novel. It’s a love story at heart, both moving and touching. It’s also a tale of isolation and second chances.
Asylum by Madeleine Roux. It’s like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, only darker. The photos of asylums alone are creepy enough but Roux piles on the suspense. I love a good horror story!
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. Nothing supernatural terrifies me more than the human monster. This is a page-turning thriller with twists to spare. Let’s face it: stalkers are creepy and young Mia has no idea of the consequences when she leaves a bar with a stranger after her boyfriend doesn’t show up.
Saint Odd by Dean Koontz. The character, Odd Thomas, is a standout even among Koontz’s characters. In fact, he’s one of my all-time favorites. The dead come to Odd for help. Never one to turn his back on those in need, he helps right their wrongs—often at great personal cost. You can’t go wrong with the Odd Thomas series. It’s a personal favorite.
Photo credit: Pimthida https://www.flickr.com/photos/pimthida/