Archive for April, 2010

The Whitney Awards, and the power of Horror

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

As I said yesterday, I recently won an award. Specifically, I won the Whitney Award for Best New Author of 2009, which is an award for LDS authors–not for LDS fiction, but for fiction of any kind that happens to be written by LDS people. A lot of people don’t know that the LDS community has a very large, very healthy publishing market, covering everything from Romance to Thrillers; there are also a ton of “mainstream” authors who are LDS, including people like Tracy Hickman, Brandon Sanderson, David Farland, and Stephenie Meyer. The Whitney is relatively new (this is only its third year), but it is gaining a lot of traction and the competition is very high. This year I was up against people like John Brown, author of the incredible fantasy Servant of a Dark God, and Aprilynne Pike, author of the NYT bestseller Wings. I’m incredibly pleased (and, frankly, quite surprised) to have won.

The thing is, I write horror. Horror gets really stigmatized, even in mainstream circles; every year at the World Horror Convention we have at least one panel where we talk about how and why horror gets so marginalized, and what we can do to change it. Most major bookstores don’t even have a horror section anymore–Barnes & Noble shelves me in General Fiction, because there simply isn’t anywhere else to put me. So in a famously conservative religious community, I figured the reaction would be even worse–right after the nominations were announced, in fact, John Brown and I congratulated each other, laughed about how the voters wouldn’t give us a second thought, and went merrily on our way. Then last week I won for Best New Author and John won for Best Speculative Fiction. What the what?

The thing I’ve learned over the last several weeks, touring around and talking to hundreds of people about what they read, is that no matter how much we say we don’t like horror, most of us secretly love it, even if we don’t realize it. Horror as a word is stigmatized, but horror as a concept is why we love reading. Every story has a conflict–every story has something wrong that must be changed, or conquered, or survived. In thrillers, you face the horror that someone is lying to you, or means you harm. In historical fiction you face the horror of a dangerous or unconscionable situation. In romance you face the horror that you’ve given your heart to someone who doesn’t want it, and you will have to live your life alone. Horror is central to literature because it is central to life; these themes are universal because we have all experienced them, and they are valuable because experiencing them makes us stronger. Good overcomes evil, even if the only character who survives is the reader.

As my book makes the rounds, and comments trickle in through email and Twitter and in person, the most common comment I get is this: “I never read this kind of book, but I loved it.” Most people have a horror-lover somewhere inside of them, they just don’t know it. If my book can convince a few people to try something new, hooray.

Yes, I intend to start blogging again.

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Wow, it has been a loooong time. In my defense, I am lazy and easily distracted. Speaking of which….

Just kidding. Seriously, though, I have a lot of stuff to write. I was blogging every day before my tour started, and I think I’ve only blogged twice in the last six weeks. I WILL get back to the every day schedule, starting today, but if the first few posts aren’t the photo-laden retrospectives of my trip to England, don’t kill me.

The good news is, things are going awesome. Since last we talked I’ve sold Italian rights to my series, gotten an offer for French rights, and won a very cool award. Which award? Well, I have to have something to blog about tomorrow.

The US tour begins!

Monday, April 5th, 2010

In just a few minutes I leave for Seattle, commencing my 11-day tour of the West Coast for the US launch of I Am Not a Serial Killer. Things have gone really well so far, and I’m very excited for the tour. I’m trying to arrange a couple of extra authors to sit in on a few of the signings, so watch my twitter feed for news on that.

For full info on the tour, check out the calendar in the left sidebar. If I’m signing anywhere near you, please drop by and say hi!

Las Vegas Signing: Borders

Monday, April 5th, 2010

7:00pm
Borders
6521 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89119

San Diego Signing: Mysterious Galaxy

Monday, April 5th, 2010

7:00pm
Mysterious Galaxy
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
Suite 302
San Diego, CA 92111

Los Angeles Signing: Dark Delicacies

Monday, April 5th, 2010

2:00pm
Dark Delicacies
4213 W. Burbank Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91505

San Francisco Signing: Borderlands Books

Monday, April 5th, 2010

7:00 pm
Borderlands Books
866 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

Sacramento Signing: Barnes & Noble

Monday, April 5th, 2010

7:00pm
Barnes & Noble
1725 Arden Way
Sacramento, CA 95815

Portland Signing: Powell’s Books

Monday, April 5th, 2010

7:00pm
Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd.
Beaverton, OR 97225

Seattle Signing: University Bookstore

Monday, April 5th, 2010

7:00pm
University Bookstore
4326 University Way
Seattle, WA 98105