Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Paranormal Week - The Attraction

What's J. Morgan's attraction to the paranormal?

JMO: I like being scared! No not really, but it has a certain appeal. I think all paranormal authors start out as scared kids with big imaginations. There's a ghost behind the chair that turns out to be a shirt. A boogieman under the bed. That one I still believe in. They're called mutated dust bunnies. I still have an unnatural fear of wood paneling. As a child, the swirlies looked like monsters to me. Don't ask. I'm sure there's a psychologist somewhere dying to get a peek under my hood. My point is my imagination has always liked to be scared. That fear turned into a need to make it palatable to my brain. Palatable being making it where I don't sleep with crucifixes under my pillow and stakes hanging next to the garlic on my bedpost. The only way I could see doing that, was to write it in such a way that I didn't jump at every shadow I saw. Just every other one.

So when you read one of my books, they're funny because that's the only way I can write them. Not because I like being funny, but because scary is something the real world is. Come on, just watch the evening news for five minutes and see if you don't agree with me. Paranormal romance isn't about those things. It's about a world of fantasy surrounding us that anything is possible inside of. Instead of orcs and elves, we make our heroes or heroines vampires, werewolves or any of the other bumpy things. I myself would like to see a vampire elf. Those might be cool.

What attracted me to write paranormal? The undeniable fact that inside those whispery walls of fantasy, I controlled the things that made me hide under the covers as a kid. What better form of therapy is there? Okay, probably lots but this is way cheaper and a whole lot more fun.

What's Stephanie Burkhart's attraction to the paranormal:

STEPH: I grew up being spooked every Saturday. My parents would watch a show called "Creature Double Feature." I must have been 6 or 7. Lon Chaney aka Wolfman and Bela Lagosi aka Dracula gave me a cheap scare. When I went to bed that Saturday night I heard noises under the bed (the booeyman aka mutated dust bunnies) and I scrunched up my blanket around my neck so Dracula couldn't bite it. –smile-

And let's not forget Godzilla. Okay, I'll save Godzilla for another time.

Creature Double Feature planted the seed. As I got older, my inner goth grew toward the darker side of literature, such as Victoria Holt (gothic romance) and Anne Rice. I devoured Rice's Interview with the Vampire and The Witching Hour.

What I liked about Rice's characters were they weren't perfect. They had flaws and struggles – just like little ol' human me. So I started to wonder – how cool would it be to be a vampire, werewolf, witch, ghost and to have very human problems?

The paranormal is just beyond our reach on the fringes of our imagination, yet myths such as vampires and werewolves have come down through history with us. What I find interesting is how they linger and how they challenge us to look at our own humanity.

You can find me sitting next to JMO in the dark corner while watching Salem's Lot and eating Oreos.


  1. Interesting blog Steph. I watched the movie The Diaboliques at the age of ten. It was terrifying. I had so many nightmares that for years I couldn't sleep without an anti- anxiety medicine that my father surreptitiously changed to a placebo of sugar and water, but I stayed away from scary movies and books.

  2. Great interview, JMo and Steph! You guys rock!

  3. Great interview, you two. I loved being scared as a kid, I still do. I can remember hiding behind my mother's chair and watching Dark Shadows. I couldn't sleep for a week after I saw American Werewolf in London.

    Sadly, my niece and nephews don't have these monsters. Their monsters are all humans who do bad things, i.e. pedophiles, kidnappers, Jack the Ripper types.

  4. Mona,
    Thanks for popping in. I think it just takes one scary movie, you know.

    You did it! Good to see you posting, Sweetie.

    I never saw Dark Shadows. :( I agree, it's sad those monsters aren't around anymore and sadder that our kids have different kinds of monsters which are just as terrifying.