Kelly Hashway is one of the most prolific fiction writers around. I was honored to have her as my first guest on this blog back when her picture book May the Best Dog Win was released. But Kelly also writes YA paranormal novels. Touch of Death came out last month from Spencer Hill Press. Today Kelly discusses why paranormal stories have a special appeal for teen readers.
For the Love of Paranormal
by Kelly Hashway
I grew up with an older sister who loved vampires and anything dark. Who knew she’d rub off on me? But she introduced me to The Phantom of the Opera, Nightmare on Elm Street, and of course Halloween. She and her friends would watch scary movies after school and I’d sneak in to watch from the doorway. I’m still terrified of dolls thanks to Chucky, but I couldn’t get enough of all things paranormal. And soon enough, I was watching shows with everything from vampires to werewolves to ghosts. There’s a part of me that thinks I was born to live in a world of paranormal beings. Maybe that’s why I create them in the books I write.
The great thing about paranormal (and horror) is that it’s like our world, only intensified. Every feeling, every emotion, is heightened. The genre seems to prey on emotions, and I’m an emotional person. I love being scared because it’s such a strong feeling. The feel of your heart racing, the sound of your pulse in your ears, the chills of goose bumps running down your arms and legs—these are things we can all relate to. So when I write, I aim for that. For something that will grab the reader’s emotions and not let go. I want my characters and story lines to be memorable, and memorable in a way that makes my readers experience the emotions in my books.
Why do I think teens are drawn to the paranormal? Simple. Teens have emotions like none other. When you’re a teen, everything is intensified. Everything feels like life and death. I envy how strongly teenagers feel. I miss that. Writing YA and especially in the paranormal/horror genre lets me feel that again. I can relive how scared I’d get watching horror movies at night. I remember walking to my car after work late at night and doing double takes at every shadow in the parking lot. I need all those fears and emotions in me in order to convey them in my writing. You can’t show what you’ve never felt, at least not in a way that will make readers feel it, too.
Paranormal has become extremely popular over the years, and I think it’s made a lot of adults turn to young adult fiction. It unites people of all ages because of the emotions it evokes. And I can’t think of anything better than bringing adults and teens together because who among us really let go of his/her inner teen? I know I haven’t.
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Learn more about Kelly Hashway on her blog.