The Act of Laughing, a nearly ten year-old book, had a free day yesterday, and the downloads quickly eclipsed those of Effugium, which is a book I’m probably prouder of than anything else I’ve written. People really seem to prefer novels about cults and child sacrifice to sci-fi, it seems. Maybe it’s just the cool ad I made for it, idk.
People don’t care about my two short story collections, Moon Garden and Grave Concerns. Grave Concerns is horror, though. So that leads me to believe that people aren’t too excited about short stories. Perhaps they would be if I was a well-known author, but not yet. Maybe my next course of action should be to write another horror novel. I want to do something topical though, like I’d do with sci-fi, heavy on metaphor. Maybe something about mass shootings, but with a twist, IDK. I did dream of being the new Stephen King when I was younger, so maybe that’s my calling. I’ll have to do some thinking. Maybe boost myself up with some horror and introduce audiences to other ideas later on, like King with the Dark Tower series or Green Mile.
Act of Laughing is a solid thriller, but it’s very pedestrian and was intended to be from its inception. I hate the characters. I wrote them like real people, the types I don’t like–Evan is a low-T whiny manbaby, and his wife Audrey is a total basic bitch. Grant is your stereotypical lawn-obsessed boomer asshole and he’d probably have worn a MAGA hat if I’d written the book today. The only characters I made intentionally likeable were Daniel the detective, Jacob, and the pregnant teenage girl. They’re all victims of circumstance. The rest were designed to be annoying, and yet people have told me they relate most to those characters. Go figure. I didn’t write them like I hated them, though. I wrote them real and hated them silently. And that’s why they work, I guess. The book presents no bias against people with personality types I don’t like. I just put them out there.
So much horror writing is straight-up junk, and with Act, I aimed for that airport newsstand paperback thriller vibe and then turned that on its head with some truly fucked up shit. Elderly people having an orgy, child sacrifice, an evil old archaeologist presiding over all of it… and the main inspiration behind the entire concept was homeowners associations. The whole book is essentially making fun of them.
Anyway, I haven’t been in the mood to write horror. But maybe I should be. Maybe a person like me who’s terrified 24/7 is the best candidate to write horror. I’ll give it a shot. 🤷🏻♂️