Monday, October 15, 2012

More from The Mist...

Today...please welcome Natalie G. Owens...

Touching horror

As a person I’m always one to look at the positive things. In fact, I feel saddened when I hear people complain about little things, and when I fall into that trap – for who doesn’t at some point? – I chide myself for not being appreciative and get on a different track. As a result of my optimistic outlook, I always thought that as a writer it’s my duty to make others feel good, to give them a few hours of escapism from a difficult world.

I still believe this. I still want to put a smile on someone’s face and let lightheartedness happily zip through them while they’re reading the words I’ve penned.

Yet, something inside me puts up a bit of a fight because I can’t help injecting the dark into my plots and characters. It is as though an invisible hand is guiding me, and I am helpless in its grip. Horror and romance… darkness and light… are they mutually exclusive?

Which leads me into…

The brand of horror that I gravitate towards. Until I wrote my first story, “A Kind of Judgment”, I’d never written a story of horror before. I also used to think (wrongly, of course) that horror as a genre involved lots of blood, gore and perhaps vampires or zombies. I did always love the old-fashioned gothic tales set in the Victorian era, a fascinating period when the Occult and other mysteries were extensively explored. Based on this, I realized that there need not be blood or mutilated body parts for a story to be frightening… and that the horror genre can be as diverse, colorful and interesting as one could possibly imagine.  

In fact, in the horror I write, there is no gratuitous violence, a throat slit, or a head axed. The stories that come to me are drawn from life and derive from a situation that is completely plausible. For this is the type of horror that I find truly frightening – a lost life, a past of tragedy and regret, a forgettable present, and a hopeless future. It is the tragic circumstance of the human condition that fascinates me in its detail – the failings of the individual spirit, and the consequences of flawed decisions. This is how the “Faustian Fantasy Tales” were born. I didn’t originally intend them to be this way when I initially published the first one – “A Kind of Judgment”. But the name was given to me by a reviewer, and the story included in “Tales from the Mist” – “An Inconvenient Debt” – thus follows suit on that path.

Because when I think about man’s deepest desires, and the fact that some will do anything in this world to fulfill them – I believe that this is something many of us face at one time or other. How many times have we compromised in a way we disliked? How many times have we sacrificed something to get something else that is greater or better in our eyes? How many times would we sacrifice ourselves and our very well-being for someone we love… or a thing we covet? These are the questions asked in “An Inconvenient Debt”.

I find that in any story, having a few ounces of heartbreak, a worthy baggage of misfortune – not silly misgivings – makes for deep, captivating characters.  It doesn’t matter if I am writing romance or dark fiction. When I wrote both “A Kind of Judgment” and “An Inconvenient Debt”, I felt that they were those types of stories that gave me no easy answer. The scariest part for me was the thought that somewhere in this world (perhaps next door or a block down from you) live people just like the characters in these stories, with the same hopes and fears, the same fate, and the same damaged life. What then happens to these people and the choices they make is the true horror for me.

So, what do you consider truly frightening horror? In what way has horror touched you, or have you touched horror? The kind of horror that doesn’t let you sleep at night…

AN INCONVENIENT DEBT is part of the TALES FROM THE MIST anthology, along with amazing stories from 11 other authors I respect.

A mother makes a Faustian bargain for her son’s freedom. But can she truly meet the cost when his real prison demands payment of a different debt?

About Natalie:

Natalie G. Owens got her first taste of serious writing by penning award–winning poetry, as well as feature articles for college and local publications, in her native Malta. She sold her first book to a small publisher in 2007 and is currently indie published. Her favorite stories to write are romances with a dark edge featuring brooding heroes, strong heroines, exotic settings, and a good dash of fantasy. Daydreaming tops her list of hobbies, followed by reading, cooking, traveling, sharing good times with family and friends, and ogling shoe store displays. You can find out more about Natalie and her work at:
Facebook profile page: 
Facebook author page: 
Twitter:!/natalie_g_owens (@natalie_g_owens)


  1. Natalie, I truly enjoyed reading your theories on writing horror. I learned something new about you and maybe something new about the things I write. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you for graciously hosting me today, Todd. It is such an honor!

    Catie, thanks for your very kind comment! :) x

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on writing horror, Natalie. I never thought of it that way, and it really opens up the genre for me.

    1. Thank you, Merry! I do find that "real" things scare me most :). Everyone lives through some sort of tragedy at one point or other, and people who do bad things may be good at their core.

  4. Wonderful job, Natalie. I think those everyday aspects can't definitely be twisted into a psychological horror that is scarier than any gore could possibly be.

    1. sorry...I meant to say "can definitely be..."

    2. Gotcha! Thank you, Rhonda! Psychological horror, to me, is truly scary. It scares the wits out of me :)