Today I welcome writer K.M Hodge to the blog. She writes suspenseful stories and today shares her thoughts on the art of suspense. And don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway at the end of the post.
What Happened to the Art of Suspense?
As a young girl with an overactive imagination I was always afraid. The black soulless eyes of the characters my mother painted on my wall would follow me wherever I would go. The Mickey Mouse playing golf hook rug that hung on my wall still gives me chill to this day. What scared me more than anything was anything involving aliens. My parents owned a copy of Whitley Strieber’s Communion, with the creepy big eyed alien on the front cover. Whenever I would pass by the book I would flip it over so I wouldn’t have to acknowledge the alien on the page. Maybe because a part of me believed the claims on the front that it was based on a true story.
As I got older I sought out all things scary. Scary in the 70’s and 80’s was all about suspense. We knew it was a bad idea for the main character to walk into the dark and spooky room alone. We knew the killer was there, but when would he strike? Just when you thought maybe it wasn’t’ going to happen after all, the killer jumps out and attacks the unsuspecting main character. A great example of this is the movie "The Thing", based off the John W. Campbell, Jr.'s novella Who Goes There? Back then it was also about what you didn’t see—the suspense of the unknown. When you see or read the big bad scary right away, something is taken away from the story.
When I was in high school I read every Steven King book that I could get my hands on. He understood and had perfected the art of suspense. While his stories and movies had their fair share of gore and sometimes violence, it was the suspense that kept me up late into the night reading by flashlight. Steven King’s Pet Cemetery and IT were terrifying. Who wouldn’t be freaked by something as simple and intrinsically creepy as a supernatural killer clown? Afraid of heights? Watch "Vertigo" and tell me if it doesn’t give you chills. Playing on every day fears is a simple yet effective way to scare the viewer or reader.
Now, films and books take things in a very different direction. Instead of using suspense and playing on simple every day fears we are exposed to a violent bloody disturbing story that are not so much frightening as troubling. We want to be scared to escape the challenges of everyday life, not be reminded of all the horrible things that could actually befall us. The odds of a psychotic clown stalking my children is pretty unlikely, but a child molester who kidnaps children from their front lawns can and does happen.
I miss the days of suspense. This time of year I find myself longing for a good scare. Toni Morrison once said, “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” So that’s what I do. I write the books I want to read and try to bring back the art of suspense each page turn at a time. I have two suspense series that will be coming out early next year. Check out my blog for more information on my Syndicate Suspense Series and my Book Cellar Mystery Series.
What do you think? Is the art of suspense a dying art?
|K.M. Hodge, Author|
K.M. Hodge grew up in Detroit, where she spent most of her free time weaving wild tales to spook her friends and family. These days, she lives in Texas with her husband and two energetic boys and once again enjoys writing tales of suspense and intrigue that keep her readers up all night. Her stories, which focus on women's issues, friendship, addiction, regrets and second chances, will stay with you long after you finish them. When she isn't writing or being an agent of social change, she reads Independent graphic novels, watches old X-files episodes, streams Detroit Tigers games and binges on Netflix with her husband. She enjoys hearing from her readers, so don't be shy about dropping her a line. Learn more about her and her current projects on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You can sign up for new release emails at: The Land of Hodge.
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