An Interview with DemiLouiseBlackburn

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Interviewed by DonnaSharples

What are your Horror influences?

Now, many of my influences are coming from Stephen King, specifically 'Pet Semetary' and 'IT'. Though a number of my horror pieces take influence from Edgar Allan Poe. And after studying 'The Wasp Factory’, I've had quite a bit of inspiration from Iain Banks - an amazing author. They might be a very typical couple of authors to choose, but there is no doubt they have had a big impact on my work.

Ooh two of my old favourites. I doubt Pennywise will ever get old, forever immortalised by the wonderful Stephen King. What was your first introduction to horror and what made you choose to write in this genre?

The first piece I ever read that could be considered horror, was 'The Yellow Wallpaper' by Charlotte Gilman, I studied it for my AS Level Literature course when we were looking at gothic horror, so I came in quite late as an author for the genre. What I love about horror and what attracted me to writing it is just how open this type of writing is. You can discuss a thousand issues and really get experimental with your literary skills when describing scenery, emotions and it's very easy to create some interesting plot twists within the text. Plus, it can complement many other genres such as comedy and romance so your options are endless.

Do you ever research real events, legends or myths to get ideas?

I put in quite a lot of research for my on-going zombie horror 'Septic' as I really wanted the idea of how a person was infected to be original or unusual, so I did look up medical conditions to try to plan the infection realistically. Also, I tend to research on myths considering demons quite a lot, especially when writing paranormal entries to 'The A to Z of Horror', so I can implement types of hauntings or behaviour into my work, the real scares come from the idea of what people have documented and what could actually happen - for me anyway! And as of late, I have to put more and more research into things such as lycanthropy as I branch out my content, gives plots a lot more bulk to them.

Have you ever come up with anything so wild that you scare yourself, which leaves you wondering where it came from? And what scares you?

One story that really scared me for weeks was created loosely on a dream - it creeped me out so much! It was called 'Pretense' and was one of the first pieces of work I posted onto this website. It was the mix of it being partly made up by my own dreams and the fact that it was pretty much a psychological horror that really freaked me out. Because in a way it was almost realistic, the fact that this girl who was based around a person like me (another scare factor, putting yourself in the story's shoes) could just be mentally ill - an all too tangible reality that's horrifying in itself. I really did not know where the bulk of it came from, what started as a flimsy plot line based on the fading memory of dream just turned into something really sinister. And I'm one of those people who find realistic things scary, so for example I'm horrified of scapegoat-style horror where it's interlaced with mental illness. I also really love, but am frightened of, paranormal stories. Anything to do with ghosts just really freaks me out.

What does Horror mean to you and can you tell us a bit about your work and any current projects.

Horror is something that has just managed to hit a chord with me. It lets my head run rampant with ideas and plot lines and has so much work put into it for various reasons, like: symbolism, detail, character building, tension, emotions, twists and unusual conclusions that are vital, to me, for a good piece of horror fiction. I've never been able to push myself as much as what I do with this genre or produce work as well as I do with horror - simply because it is such a powerful scope of writing. This genre to me is what really spurs me to produce work altogether and get better at what I am doing now. Everything it entails just strikes me and draws me in, it's an amazing genre of writing.

As for my own work, ever since I wrote the short piece 'Black Book' which had a lot of praise, I've expanded into a few short stories and projects with horror themes, such as 'Elude' and above all, my most current project: 'The A to Z of Horror'. The reason I'm enjoying it so much is that the stories are short, but there's something for any horror fan. There are even the starting bits of some poetry after crossing and being inspired by some of Emily Dickinson's work through college, something I've never really dabbled in but enjoyed. It has also given me a good chance to develop my writing style a hell of a lot, being descriptive and literary in the sense there is a lot of hidden symbolism and often-ambiguous endings in the A to Z. From these, I plan spin-offs of fully-fledged stories, so it's been a really useful project to set off a bigger piece of work and bury myself further into the horror genre. Not to mention nearly every entry gives me the creeps.

The A TO Z of Horror sounds interesting; I will have to check that out. How do you feel about wattpad’s platform for writers? Has it given you the push to possibly approach a publisher or even self-publish?

Thank you!

And with the community and abundance of helpful users available, it's given me a massive confidence boost to pursue a career as a writer, definitely. For a while, I've known it was something I'd love to do to make a living, but on Wattpad you are given any amount of help you try and look for. If you want critics, someone is always ready and willing to offer advice. If you want inspiration, a user will have something to suggest. Along with the many competitions set up, it gives you a bigger and better aim than writing with no feedback or confidence boosts. Wattpad is definitely the next step to becoming a better author, and maybe deciding to try and publish whether by pursing already established companies or trying to go for it yourself. Definitely a worthwhile platform, if just for the aspiration boost to move on to bigger things.

Thank you Demi, wattpad is most definitely a great starting point for everyone. Before we end the interview, what has been your favourite horror movie to date? And how do you rate recent horrors to those that made in the earlier days? What kind of horror film would you watch?

My favourite horror movie above anything has to be The Exorcist. I have watched it so many times and it still absolutely scares me to death, and it has a brilliant plot around the main fright - it's absolutely fantastic. Everyone should have seen that film by now, I couldn’t explain how great it is. The Shining is a close second, though!

I am definitely part of the "old horror is the best horror" crowd. I haven't been truly freaked out by any recent releases for horror films. They are getting worse and worse every time I see them, as cynical as that sounds! Obviously, there has been a few exceptions, there always are. But not many! I would definitely pick old horror movies before anything, I mean I just bought a copy of the movie 'IT' this Wednesday, so that says it all! Earlier produced horror is the way to go.

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