It was Stephen King’s 70th birthday yesterday. I’m aware he’s a writer that divides opinion (and I’ve had fierce debates about him with several friends over the years). However, love him or hate him, you can’t deny he’s had huge influence over thousands of writers who have come after him… including myself.
Have you ever been really afraid? I’m not talking nervy or panicked – I’m talking full-blown, heart-racing, chest tightening frightened. Most people have experienced this, which is why most find it difficult to believe that fear could ever be funny.
One afternoon, a few years back, my mother and I were discussing bones. Not randomly, I should add – we were actually chatting about some mysterious bones she’d found in her under-stairs cupboard; mostly small bones that looked as though they belonged to birds or rodents.
I thought I’d head further up the country for today’s ghostly exploration – to Dorchester, in Dorset. I’ve got big fondness for Dorchester; not least because my youngest son was born there, and we lived in the town for two years. By day, it’s a pretty market town, surrounded by lush, rolling fields and beautiful coastlines. By night, however… it’s a different story.
It’s easy to become blindsided when you’re writing. There’s the pressure of well-meaning family and friends, telling you that you should ‘write crime, because you’re so good at it’ or ‘you should stick to poetry, because prose isn’t really your thing’. There are the endless articles, explaining why literary agents hate prologues, why telling not showing is a terrible thing, and that adverbs are essentially the Antichrist.