The Scary Reviews is proud to have Carol Davis here to talk about what scares her and how she came to love the horror genre. Looking for a good scare? why not check out Carol’s book Dead in the Water.
On Halloween, My Thanks to a Master
How did I come to love horror? To write horror?
I blame it all on Rod Serling.
Sure, as a child I was interested in ghost stories—along with superheroes and Greek myths and everything Walt Disney produced—what kid isn’t? But it wasn’t until The Twilight Zone hit syndication that I discovered how wonderful scary stuff could be. Phone calls from beyond the grave, homicidal talking dolls, invading aliens, monsters lurking on the wing of a plane—that’s some eye-popping stuff for a ten-year-old. I loved it all so much that when I spotted a book called Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone: 13 New Stories from the Supernatural Especially Written for Young People, I insisted that my mom buy it for me. (And it still has a place of honor on my bookshelf.) I was too young then to understand the psychology of horror, to pick up on why a devoted reader’s broken glasses were as horrifying in their own way as the threat of a killer doll. I just knew it was fun to be scared.
And it still is.
All these years later, it’s Serling’s type of storytelling that still appeals to me: the eerie, the mysterious, the unknown, rather than “there’s a guy lurking around the neighborhood who’s going to dismember you if you have sex.” It was his storytelling that taught me…
We’re all afraid to be alone.
We’re afraid to discover that we’re not who we think we are—or that a loved one isn’t who we think he or she is.
We’re afraid of losing control.
That’s the truly frightening stuff, the stuff that was Rod Serling’s meat and potatoes even when he wasn’t writing The Twilight Zone. He demonstrated to me that the darkness inside us is more terrifying than the darkness out there, that our own emotions can be our deadliest enemy. So when I write horror, I write about fear and love intertwined—not about guys with chainsaws. That’s what I seek out in fiction, as well. For me, scary is I’m not a real person…I’m a department store mannequin come to life. I’m an android my father created to keep him company.
I’m alone in this place, and I don’t know how I got here, or how to get out.
I have time enough at last.
I’ve written about a young man whose worst torment isn’t the ghosts haunting a small mountain town—it’s that his father disappeared some years ago without a trace. And about a man determined to hunt the werewolves lurking in the forests of the Rockies because one of them murdered his wife…even though it threatens the safety of his son. And about a man who discovers that escaping to the bliss of another place at the “theater” can mean disappearing entirely.
I love twist endings, because of Rod Serling. I love knowing that a jukebox that starts playing on its own can be scarier than a chainsaw, and that one of the worst moments in life is discovering that all the assumptions you’ve made are wrong. That what you assumed about yourself and the people around you is wrong.
I love the intricacies of storytelling because of Rod Serling, a man who grew up in a small town not far from where I live, a man who went to high school with one of my former bosses. A man who never quite believed in his own abilities and spent most of his life running.
A man who maybe felt most at home in that place “as vast as space and as timeless as infinity.”
A man who made some scary magic.
Thanks, Rod. I owe you one.
Carol Davis, Biography-
Picture an 11-year-old girl with pen in hand, spiral notebook in her lap. That was me, back in the beginning: a shy little girl with glasses, who wanted more stories about her favorite characters…so she wrote them.
And nothing ever really changes.
What’s been most important to me throughout my life is FAMILY, and that’s what I write about – whether the story involves a couple of investigative reporters digging into a series of mysterious drownings, or a young girl who discovers that her colony’s alien “staff” is being mistreated and killed, or a harried woman searching for “something simple.” It all comes down to FAMILY, the one we’re born with, and the ones we build through marriage, friendship, and shared experiences.
I was a secretary for 38 years. Now I’m a full-time writer and editor. I work on a laptop, but at heart I’m still a little girl with a pen who’s anxious to share her stories.
Connect with Carol Davis at the following links