Guest posts

Monday, December 26, 2011

Guest post by Majanka Verstraete

First of all, I would like to thank Brenda for letting me post this guest post on her blog. So, I’ve written a supernatural horror novel. Two, actually. The first one, The Blood That Defines Us, dealt with family and the cruel things family can do to each other. It dealt with loss, tragedy, the feeling of being forgotten, abuse, confinement and prisons built by misplaced love. It also dealt with guilt, and how the mistakes of our ancestors can affect us, even today.
My second novel, Mirror, Mirror, deals with guilt as well, but another form of guilt. It focuses on those of us who are unable to deal with our guilt, which they hide away in the darkest corners of their mind because they can’t cope with it. Additionally, Mirror, Mirror talks about friendship, and about how important friendship truly is, and how messed up it can get when something goes wrong. But it also deals with letting go, forgiving yourself and moving on. On the other hand, there is also a strong theme of vengeance going on in my second novel.
I write supernatural horror novels because I enjoy writing them. But I don’t just write about ghosts, mirrors, hauntings, demons, curses and the likes. Contrary to what some people believe horror is all about, in my opinion, horror focuses on people. More even, it focuses on people at their worst. When we are being threatened by invisible opponents, when we are being banished out of our own home, when we are being terrorized by forces of the supernatural. And that's why I  enjoy writing horror so much. Because it looks at humanity in general, and one single human (or a group of humans) in particular, and judges us by how we behave at our worst. Some go crazy, others try to run, and some of us are brave enough to stay and fight.
If I were to write a story about a house being haunted for no particular reason, by a ghost of whom we know absolutely nothing, I wouldn’t enjoy that story myself. I want to know reasons. I want to know the deep, dark secrets that caused spirits to be stuck on this plane, unable to move on. I want to know how they behave and interact with us, humans. And when the reason of the haunting lies in the evil of humanity, I find that all the scarier.
For me, blood and gore movies don’t cut it. I laugh at them. Saw doesn’t even make me remotely scared, nor does Texas Chainsaw Massacre or From Dusk Till Dawn. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t be scared if I were in such a situation myself, but I don’t consider that terrifying. What I do find terrifying is the more subtle kind of horror, gothic horror if you want, that drips into the story from page one, but by the time you very well realize it, it’s already too late. Take the movie The Others with Nicole Kidman for example. Although you might not exactly be terrified by the ending of it, I certainly felt uneasy. Why? Because it told a story. A story about suffering, regret and guilt. And those are the kind of stories that make us both uneasy and scared, but intrigue us beyond belief.
What do you think makes a good horror story? Should it focus on the horror only, or should it provide a backstory as well? What elements do you think are necessary to make something really scary? Do you believe in ghosts or hauntings? If so, do you think guilt and regret might be a possible factor to keep spirits glued to this plane? Please let me know. 

Synopsis ------Genre: Supernatural Horror, Thriller, Young Adult
Piper is nearly as obsessed with antiquities and century-old houses as her mother is. It's no surprise that she immediately falls in love with the old mirror she discovers on the attic of their new home. Despite the warnings of her best friend Alison, who senses something isn't quite right about Piper's newest discovery, she puts the mirror in her bedroom. 

Tormented by nightmares and haunted by eerie voices in the middle of the night, Piper realizes she has made a terrible mistake. But is it really the fault of that antique mirror, or is her imagination playing tricks on her? Maybe the truth is even more terrifying...

You can find the book cover as a separate file included in this email.
Author Bio
Majanka Verstraete is a twenty-one year old female from Belgium. She’s currently studying law at university. Her greatest passions in life are writing and reading. She especially enjoys writing books in the young adult genre, ranging from young adult horror novels to epic fantasy and paranormal romance. She has currently published two books, The Blood That Defines Us and Mirror, Mirror. She’s working on a collection of horror short stories, The Thirteenth Hour, which is due for release on June 1st 2012. Her current writing project is a paranormal romance series under the working title “The Angel of Death Series”. Volume one will be entitled “Soul Thief”.
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