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Would a genre by any other name...
People are often surprised when I tell them what genre I write. I think they expect horror writers to be some shady, slightly warped weirdo who hides in a dark room and only ever wears black. Because, on the surface at least, I seem like a fairly normal mother of two, people just don’t expect the word ‘horror’ to come out of my mouth.
I can see it in their faces, the slight adjustment of their initial assumptions about me, and, unless they are horror fans themselves, I think they do wonder if I have something sinister and freaky lurking behind the scenes.
But the truth is that I do. Since I was a teenager I have had a basic obsession with anything scary. I’m an avid horror film watcher. There’s always that slightly dark, twisted part of me just dying to get out. Instead of falling into a depression, I escape into my writing. Nothing makes me feel better than listening to some music (30 Seconds to Mars, Live, Kings of Leon) and writing. It’s like a cleansing process, an escapism, and when I’m done I can turn my attention back to the piles of laundry, and small sticky fingers clambering for my attention. It makes me feel as if I’ve reclaimed a little piece of myself again.
So do we choose what genres we write, or do they chose us?
I never felt as if I had much choice in writing horror. There was never any time I wrote anything else, and even my novel Alone, which is technically an urban fantasy/paranormal romance, certainly has plenty of horror elements. Its sequel, Buried Alone, which is scheduled for a mid 2011 release, definitely goes far more down the horror road.
Despite this, the majority of my books also have a romance element to them. If I could coin the term, ‘romantic horror’ I would be spot on. For me, having a romantic thread through the scary stuff gives the stories an element of hope, and makes the characters come alive.
However, this November, during NaNoWriMo, I attempted to write a completely different genre; that of women’s fiction. I had debated about whether to go ahead with it, but a number of different writers and editors I respect told me it might be good for my writing to try something else, I may even find I enjoy writing something else! So I gave it a shot, and at first it was hard. I desperately wanted to add some action, even though it was a completely character-driven novel, and to have any zombies/ghosts/vampires appear on the scene would have been frankly ridiculous.
But you know what, towards the end of NaNo I turned around and discovered I was actually enjoying what I was writing, and even more, I actually liked my novel. Now I’m looking forward to getting back to it and seeing if there is something special lurking beneath all the edits.Deep down, our genres do choose us. It’s the same as any other personal likes or dislikes—the type of food we enjoy, the style of clothes we like to wear, the music we listen to. But every once in a while it is good to break the mould and try something a little different. You never know what you’ll discover about yourself.
ABOUT ALONE Caught in a violent and abusive relationship, Serenity thinks there is no escape. Then she meets a stranger, Sebastian, who shows her the possibility of a different future. ...Only Sebastian has a dark secret; he is a vampire. ...As Serenity’s life takes a terrifying turn, she finds herself drawn into a world she never knew existed; one of murder, love, and immortality. She is forced to confront her own weaknesses to save both her own life and that of the vampire she has come to love. But in the end all that matters is; can she find the strength to be Alone ?
ABOUT DARK ROAD When a group of backpackers are thrown together on a bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap, Cambodia, they have no idea of the journey ahead of them. Shortly after crossing the Cambodian border, one of the group disappears off the side of the road, and they quickly discover they have more than the threat of land mines to worry about. They are plunged into a terrifying world of ancient temples, curses and long-dead kings and, one by one, they start to lose both their minds and their lives, as what was supposed to be an adventure turns into a fight for survival.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marissa Farrar is a multi-published author in both horror and paranormal romance. She was born in Devon, England, loves to travel, and has lived in both Australia and Spain. She now resides outside of London with her husband and two children. She has a degree in zoology, but her true love has always been writing. Marissa’s debut novel, Alone, is a dark twist on the traditional vampire romance and was published by Vamplit Publishing in 2009. Her second novel, The Dark Road, was published in November 2010. Her short stories have been accepted for a number of anthologies including, Their Dark Masters (Red Skies Press), Masters of Horror: Damned If You Don’t (Triskaideka Books) and 2013: The Aftermath (Pill Hill Press). If you want to know more about Marissa, then please visit her website at www.marissa-farrar.blogspot.com.
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