This week we have author of The Bones of the Earth, Scott Hale. Welcome to Horror Scribes Scott.
Tell us a bit about you and your writing
My name is Scott Hale. By day, I am a Licensed Independent Social Worker Supervisor (what a mouthful) who works with individuals with disabilities. By night, I write. I have been obsessed with horror for as long as I can remember. Before I was even in Kindergarten, my aunt used to put on Night of the Living Dead, and I would fall asleep to it. If a school project didn’t have anything to do with Halloween, then what was the point? In high school, as any “responsible” teenager would do, I spent most of my pay check on building a collection of horror movies. My love for the genre has never waned, and combining it with my love for writing has created something very fulfilling; something which I hope others can enjoy, too.
Horror is the predominant genre in my writing, but I like to mix genres and take them to unfamiliar places. Body Horror is currently my favourite sub-genre. But all that grotesquery isn’t always all that fulfilling without a solid story, interesting characters, and an engrossing writing style. I like to think of writing as a meal. Each part of it should be satisfying and memorable. Genre fiction can be just as relevant and respected as “literary works” without betraying itself. I want my writing to reflect that.
What in your opinion makes good horror?
I love horror because you can do so much with it. It can be intellectual, and it can be trash, and both can be satisfying in their own ways. I think good horror, like any genre, is horror that is genuine and creative. Tropes are tools, and they can be used to great effect. I respect those creators who are willing to deviate from them, not to be self-aware or satirical, but because they want to put themselves in a corner, away from the comforting course of events we’re all familiar with, and see what crazy things they can come up with to get themselves out of it.
How do you feel about flash fiction as a medium for horror?
I think flash fiction is a great medium for horror. It really encourages authors to carefully consider their words and the story they are trying to tell. In some ways, it can have more of an impact than longer works because of its immediacy. It’s a challenging medium, and I think the genre needs to be challenged from time to time.
What is your favourite horror short story?
Oh, no. I hate picking favourites. I’m the worst at this. Confession: I don’t read as much as I should; I watch way more movies than I read books. So I’m going to wimp out and say I love the short stories of Clive Barker and Junji Ito.
What scares you the most and what is your favourite horror scene/passage/novel?
I have watched way too many horror movies to be scared by anything anymore. It’s a bummer. But what tends to get me more than anything else is that feeling of creeping dread. The idea that something is nearby, in the walls, or just out of sight. You can feel its presence, and that alone is maddening. Not a scare followed by a jump scare (though I don’t have a burning hate for those like some), but an atmosphere of something not being quite right, and because of it, the surroundings themselves almost seem to come alive.
My favourite horror novel is Clive Barker’s The Books of Blood. My Top Five horror movies are, in no particular order, the following: Alien, The Thing, Halloween, Hellraiser, The Fly.
Please give us a one sentence horror story!
It’s been years since she fed her father, and still he calls her name.