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  • Writer's pictureblaine daigle

Audiobook Release, Imposter Syndrome, and Why I Don't Think Horror Always Has To Be Ugly

It's been nearly six months since The Broken Places was set upon the world by myself and the wicked team over at Wicked House Publishing. During that time, I've seen my name mentioned in reviews on sites I never dreamed I would be on, in groups filled with writers I have respected and admired for years. Now, I can add another happy first to the mix, as the audiobook of The Broken Places will be released on September 19th through Tantor Audio! This is an amazing opportunity for readers who prefer the audio experience to consume my little "cabin in the woods" story through their favorite medium.


I've heard samples of the narration, and to hear the story brought to life in the way Tantor and narrator Jason Vu were able to...well, it made my heart soar. I feel they absolutely nailed the tone and atmosphere of a book that I know (probably better than anyone) is heavily reliant on tone and atmosphere. So, check out the audiobook on September 19th!


With that said, the upcoming release of A Dark Roux has me beyond excited. So far the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive with people connecting to the characters and setting. Seeing as how Rhiannon and Rhett LeBeau are my two favorite characters I've written so far, and that I am from the area portrayed in the story, there is a feeling of accomplishment that comes with the kind words of strangers.


But with that feeling comes something else as well. It's very hard for me to read my work and not feel underwhelmed by the product. I know many writers have talked about how after the editing process, when you've read your own book cover to cover for what seems like forever, there is this tendency to feel as though it's not good. And this can be attributed to writers not getting the same novelty from a book that readers experience.


But there's more than that, at least with me. I am currently in the process of revising my third novel for submission, and I find myself constantly upset at every sentence. This story is a bit of a risk and is indicative of me stepping out of my comfort zone. And so the entire process is laced with fear over whether it stacks up to the other two, and whether I am actually capable of continuing this journey. I don't want to settle for safe, I don't want to write cookie-cutter stories. I want to take chances, take risks. Try story structures and ideas that feel unique to me.


But any author's work is ultimately for the reader, and I struggle with the notion that my risk might result in the loss of their enjoyment. And is my risk, a step really far into things personal and internal, an invitation for ridicule and criticism of me if it doesn't pay off?


I just try to remind myself that I had the same...well, not exactly the same but pretty close...apprehension of both The Broken Places and A Dark Roux. That voice doesn't always win, but occasionally it eeks out a victory. Celebrate the little things, right?


But on a more positive note, one of the early reviews of A Dark Roux specifically mentions the emotional connection between Rhett and Rhiannon as well as another connection that I won't comment further on at this moment. It is comments like that that justify all the hard work and effort. Because I want an emotional resonance within my stories. Honestly, the plot is secondary for me. If you aren't feeling something, then I'm not doing my job.


Which brings up a specific point. Horror has the stereotype of being exploitative and gratuitously violent, the "ugly" side of the world. But what I have found, in both my reading and writing, is that horror does not HAVE to be ugly. Is it necessary at times? You betcha. But I think of things like Mel Gibson's character reaffirming the love for his family in Signs, or the mother finally helping orphaned children in The Orphanage. Not to mention the work of Mike Flanagan. The Dudley's final moments in Hill House. What happens when we die in Midnight Mass. Jamie waiting patiently for her lover's return in Bly Manor.


These are unequivocally beautiful moments filled with the deepest and most touching pieces of humanity. And looking forward to the future as I plan my future stories and do my best to fight off imposter syndrome, I want to focus heavily on that. I want my work to be unflinchingly dark while possessing a flicker of hope in the darkness. Something to reach for. Something to strive for. Wish for. Pray for. Atonement. Redemption. Forgiveness. Throughout all the subgenres found in horror fiction, I think this is where I find myself wanting to plant my roots. Because I don't think horror has to always be ugly. I think there's a time and a place for it, just as light and dark must work together to ensure the survival of the human psyche, so too must the ugly and beautiful work to highlight both the horrors and humanity present in these stories.


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