In Which Doors Make A Great Analogy Tool
In author interviews, one of the most frequent questions I receive is, “What got you interested in writing horror novels?”
Before December 2012, publishing horror novels—as in printed books that are available in Indonesian bookstores—was the furthest thing from my mind. My long fiction gravitates more toward fantasy and adventure. Then I heard that a certain publisher was going to accept horror novels for publication in 2013. For the record, the publisher is widely known for their romance novels, movie tie-ins, and gorgeous covers. I thought, why not? After all, it’s one of my favorite genres. So, during that December, I wrote a horror novel for the first time.
Since the novel is YA, my main concerns were—in no particular order—how to make the story scary, and how to depict relatable and fairly realistic teenage characters. (My own teenage days being a long, long way behind me) K-pop was extremely popular in 2012, so I peppered the story with K-pop references in the hope that it resonates with today’s teens. (Reading the novel, you could probably tell I had a casual interest in Super Junior)
The overall response to the novel seemed quite positive, considering I was an unknown. Since then, I’ve had four more novels published, not all of them of the supernatural bent. Thus, by challenging myself to write something I never had before, I opened a door of opportunity while expanding my writing repertoire.
I peeked through another door in 2015, when I dared myself to submit to paid English-language publications. That part of the publishing world had always seemed vast and intimidating to me (it still does). What’s the worst that can happen? I asked myself. Rejections, right? Okay, and maybe a bit of bruised pride.
Unlike my novels, my short stories for English-language publications are based on local legends. Because why not use the opportunity to introduce Indonesian legends to a wider audience? Different medium, different purposes. For instance, what if those legendary figures are still alive today? What do they do, and do the events that once changed their lives still affect them? Exploring these themes was a new experience for me, and turned out to be a heap of fun.
In short, what got me interested in writing horror novels was an opportunity. Ditto about submitting to English-language publications, since many publications are open to the types of stories I enjoy writing. Walking through these doors has been eye-opening, and I’m ready to search for the next door.