Horror readers get funny looks and questions about why they read that.
Horror writers, of course, get funny looks and questions about why they write that.
Big, famous, award-winning horror writers, naturally, do more interviews than the rest of the tribe and have to field the question way, way more often. Along with other such standbys as, “Where do you get your ideas?”
Peter Straub turned a bit snippy (to my reader ear) in 2009 when Salon asked him to respond to people who ask why anyone would read or write horror. His answer, like so many other statements I’ve read or heard him make, made a ton of sense to me. It’s the undercurrent beneath the story I’m writing now. He said:
I have no patience with people like that. They are deliberately not looking at something right in front of them that they should look at. In my novel “The Throat,” Tim Underhill says, “The world is half night.” You have to appreciate that, and if you do there is a kind of beauty to it all. There’s nothing beautiful about violence and savagery, but there is in the human response, that we can feel ourselves deepened by unhappy things that happen to us. Grief is a very painful emotion because it depends on love. It’s the price you pay for love. If you live to have actual experiences, you come face to face with real darkness.