Everyone, today we have Amy Christine Parker, author of GATED(August 17th, 2013!) she has an awesome guest post for you guys!
Why I Write From the Dark Side Of Things
Before I delve into the topic at hand, I’d like to thank Emily for inviting me to On Emily’s Bookshelf today! I’m so excited to tell you a little something about myself and GATED, my debut novel that comes out with Random House Children’s August 27, 2013.
Originally when I planned to do this blog post, I was going to write about why I started writing in the first place. But then I realized that at least for me, this is never the question people have when they hear that I wrote a book that deals with darker subject matter. Here’s the conversation I usually have with people.
Person: “You wrote a book? Cool! What’s it about?”
Me: “A girl who’s grown up in a community of people who are convinced that the end of the world is at hand and are prepared to do whatever it takes to keep their people safe, including shooting trespassers and sealing themselves inside their underground shelter for years to come until the world is habitable again.”
Person: (beat or two of silence) “Wow, are they like some kind of cult or something?”
Me: “Absolutely.” I’m usually smiling gleefully here, just waiting to launch into a discussion about all the different cults operating all around the world that I’ve studied and the various disturbing things that they’re involved in.
Person: “ That’s creepy…but then…you’re so…smiley and friendly.” The person’s face wrinkles in confusion here.
And this is where their real question comes in, although they usually don’t come right out and ask it. The unspoken question is: Why would someone like you want to write something like that? They can’t reconcile my basically pleasant disposition and sort of soccer mom-like appearance (but somewhat cooler, I promise…well okay, at least I shoot for somewhat cooler) with a subject that can potentially be very dark and disturbing. In fact, the contradiction between the two seems to unsettle them.
So what is the reason?
I’ve gravitated towards dark topics since I was pretty small. I’ve always loved to be scared and have been fascinated by evil characters and what makes them tick for as long as I can remember. I started out watching what I think they called the Creature Feature every Saturday afternoon after the cartoons were done when I was around nine or ten, graduated to Stephen King’s short stories and then his books in middle school (and a steady TV diet of “Tales From the Darkside”, “Tales From the Crypt”, and “The Twilight Zone”, and then bounced between pretty much every iconic horror movie from the 80s on to books by Peter Straub, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, etc. The book Lord of the Flies rocked my world. So did the movie The Exorcist.
Couple this fascination with horror and my real world fascination with sociology and psychology and you can start to see why my interests lie where they do. And why my first book might feature a cult. I’m fascinated with people’s capacity for evil, all of the varying degrees of bad that are out there and how people justify it. When it came to GATED in particular, I wanted to understand why people give up their free will and hand it over to someone else. How do they put the wishes of one man, no matter how charismatic, ahead of themselves and their families?
By now I’m sure you’ve gotten to the second most asked question that I hear which is: “But doesn’t writing about that kind of stuff mess with your head?”
But I’d say at least ninety percent of the time it doesn’t interfere with the rest of my life. I guess I’m just used to compartmentalizing it. I’m blessed to have a loving, supportive family and lots of non-dark things to occupy the hours I don’t spend writing. Maybe if I were dealing with a lot of horror personally things would be different, but basically because I have a very stable, happy life to insulate me from the topics I write about, I can delve into the dark and not worry about becoming infected by it.
Wasn't that an awesome guest post!(it's Emily again, by the way, sorry to dissapoint :D) if you still aren't convinced her book is going to be INCREDIBLE, check out this cover :
If you’re interested in finding out more about GATED or in pre-ordering a copy, go here:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/
w/gated-amy-christine-parker/ 1113886831?ean=9780449815977 or here: http://www.goodreads.com/ book/show/15752340-the-silo
AMY CHRISTINE PARKER earned her degree in elementary education at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and then proceeded to try out many different jobs, including collectible doll maker, fondue waitress, and inner-city schoolteacher. It wasn't until she became a mom and began making up bedtime stories for her children that she finally realized what she was meant to do. Now Amy writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat. Visit her at amychristineparker.blogspot.