If you check out the titles of my books or the themes of my writing, vampires, ghosts, scares, and thrills pop out at you. I label myself an author of speculative fiction/horror, so those genres of writing often define me.
However, and I think this is true of a lot of genre writers, the motivating influence on my writing is to explore humanity. I delve into the good, the bad, and the ugly. I want my stories to entertain – but I also hope they prompt contemplation and reflection.
I mention the above because I recently experienced one of those moments in life where emotion and human connectivity roar to the surface, in both shocking and comforting ways.
First, the bad and the ugly. My aunt died. She had battled breast cancer valiantly for a long time. Paul and I traveled to be with family, to celebrate her life and to mourn. The death of a family member is such a sad time, and the sorrow hovers in the air, even in brief times where you talk about something different or remove yourself for a minute to take a breath.
Yet remarkable connection occurred, too. I had not seen my family for quite a while. In going to be there with them, we had a great deal of loving time together in a short burst of two days. My mom also flew in to be with us. The love and caring swirled around our family. I grew closer to them, as did Paul, and I hope they feel the same way.
And therein I find inspiration for writing, to make sense of our humanity. Why, at such a sad time, did the love and togetherness also become so powerful? How do we make sense of feeling great loss while also remembering binding ties, no matter how often we see each other? I don’t have a great answer to include in this blog. But I know my writing today and in the future will search for the answer, and to express these profound and contradictory emotions for myself; and, in the process, maybe for you, too.