I’m a horror writer. I write about vengeful vampires, almost human zombies, sadistic witches, evil scarecrows, spiteful soul-stealing dolls; you get the idea. And I am about to have my first novel published. What is it about? Well, that’s the funny thing. I think that I accidentally wrote a romance instead. That isn’t what I necessarily set out to do. I simply wanted to tell my story. And it just so happened to have a heartfelt (albeit unusual) tale of love at its centre. Nobody is more shocked about this than I am.
So, how on earth did that happen?
I would like to investigate this further. And, it being Valentine’s Day, it seems an appropriate time.
· I already had my leading lady in mind. A young, pretty and sensitive redhead. I wanted her to experience love and affection because she didn’t get any at home.
· As soon as I created the character of Dylan, there just had to be romance and tingles and yearning. He is rather a romantic figure, he is quite old-fashioned in some ways and his gypsy lifestyle is just one starry-eyed element of his life.
· Whitby. I knew that I wanted to set this book in the quaint old Yorkshire seaside town. It is known for its gothic links and eerie ruins but I also think that there is something dreamy about the place.
· Teenagers in love. God, I was once one of those forlorn creatures too. I can (all too easily) recall that all-consuming feeling, that boy I met on holiday, being apart from the person was painful. I think we can all identify with falling in love and the associated hormonal emotions.
· I once read that a good romantic novel should contain as many obstacles as you can manage to wedge in there. It absolutely can’t be easy for that couple to be together. The harder it is for them, the sweeter and more satisfying the eventual happy ending will be for the reader. Hmmm, I guess I like a challenge.
· Love is angst. I may be new to romance writing but certainly not to angst, fear and dizzying emotions – all these things are mighty handy if you’re writing a horror story too.
I like to think that Black Eyed Boy manages to capture the essence of several genres within one book. There is some darkness and hardship at its core. There is also an epic teenage love story. But there isn’t much fluffy about this story. I still feel that it was a happy accident that I have created such a romantic book, but now I see that all the pieces were there, ready and waiting for me.
You know, I think I do feel a little mushy this Valentine’s Day. For my characters, who I continue to write about as I am not quite ready to let them go. I can imagine them in my mind. Shyly swapping cards for the first time, toe-curling kisses, lost in the tornado of hearts and happiness. I suspect that I may be more of a romantic than I thought …