Author Guest Post With JG Faherty

JG Faherty has kindly agreed to guest post here about his work, and share his inspiration for becoming a writer in honor of his newest release, The Burning Time .

 

 About The Author:


JG Faherty grew up in the haunted Hudson Valley region of New York, and still resides there. Living in an area filled with Revolutionary War battle grounds, two-hundred year-old gravesites, ghosts, haunted roads, and tales of monsters in the woods has provided a rich background for his writing. A life-long fan of horror and dark fiction, JG enjoys reading, watching movies, golfing and hiking with his wife and dogs, volunteering as an exotic animal caretaker, and playing the guitar. His favorite holiday is Halloween (naturally), and as a child, one of his childhood playgrounds was an 18th century cemetery.

Find JG Faherty on the Web:
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 Guest Post:


Love Amid the Horror

One of the staples of horror fiction is that somewhere in the book or movie there is always a love scene – or perhaps several. I’m sure people are always asking ‘Why interrupt the scares for the love/sex scenes? Doesn’t it slow down the action?’ Heck, I’ve asked myself this question more than once.

Here is the simple answer:

Sex and love are a part of human existence. Horror novels and movies tell stories about things happening to people, things that interrupt normal everyday life. And that everyday life includes sex. So including sex is no more odd or disrupting than including it in an action story, or a spy novel, or a western.

Of course, there is much more to consider than that, which leads us to the complex answer.

First of all, in order not to be a story interruption, the sex has to be pertinent to the story, not just included to stretch out the number of pages or give everyone a cheap thrill. In most novels, sex is seen as part of the lives of characters – a husband and wife, two lovers, etc. It shows us the type of bond they have, adds dimension to their characters, makes them believable. And this is good, because it helps us feel for them later on when they’re in danger.

Sexual/romantic interludes also help heighten the suspense, if done correctly. Things seem to be going well for the couple now, so you kind of get the feeling that it also means bad things are coming down the road. After all, it is a horror story.

Another aspect is that sex can be used to tell a cautionary tale, even if that tale is a silly one. We all know that in every teen slasher movie the couple seen having sex early in the movie is probably going to get the axe – or knife, or hook, or chainsaw – first. Especially back in the 1970s and 1980s, there was a clear reminder happening that teen sex is going to lead to nothing but trouble. Trouble of the deadly kind.

On the other hand, there are plenty of times were sex/romance does interrupt a good story. More than one author or producer has decided to toss in some gratuitous sex scenes just for the hell of it. And then there are books where the sex outweighs the horror. A good example of this is the later volumes in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton. The series starts out with lots of action and some chilling scenes, and a few romantic overtones. Then Anita starts to have sex. By the middle of the series, sex and romance take up like ¼ of the scenes in the books. And by the most recent volumes, sex makes up close to 75% of each story. That would be fine, too, if the books didn’t also still try to tell a supernatural adventure in the process. But with so little room devoted to the adventure aspect, those books end up as nothing more than 50 Shades of Grey with a paranormal twist. (50 Shades of Grey Werewolf??)

In my books, I’ve always strived to use romance and sex for specific purposes. For instance, in my latest novel, The Burning Time, two of the characters, John Root and Danni Anderson, fall in love. But I use this as a method of bringing out more of John’s history. He was once married, and lost his wife and child. Since then, he’s been a loner. Now, however, his feelings for Danni have him confused. Does falling in love again tarnish his love for his dead wife? Is it even possible for him to have a relationship after so many years? On top of that, it puts him in a situation where his love for Danni could expose him  – and her – to deadly threats. It forces John to make decisions that drive one of the secondary plots in the story, decisions that would be different if he was still alone. Most importantly, there are no sex scenes in the story to interrupt the action that takes place. It wasn’t necessary. The important thing here was the forces blocking their love, rather than several pages of naked, writhing bodies.

Romance and sex figure in similar ways in my previous novels. In Ghosts of Coronado Bay, my YA paranormal romance-adventure, Maya is a virgin and determined to stay that way, at least through high school. But there is peer pressure from all sides. And then two ghosts show up – one who wants to take her virginity so he can return to life and complete the evil spells he was working on when he died, and the other who wants to take her virginity because he loves her, and also because it will prevent the first ghost from completing its deadly plan. Maya is faced with a tough choice – give up her virginity to save the town, or keep it and try to find another way to stop the dark magics that are looming. The wrong choice could mean her death.

In Carnival of Fear, sex and romance are entwined throughout the story because it involves several couples. Carnival of Fear is a story about teenagers, and the number one thing on almost every teenager’s mind is sex, so it has to figure large in the book. On the surface, the emotions and sexual play are used to give us an idea of what the characters are like: Amy and JD have a loving, romantic relationship; Ricky and Traci simply bang and roll away from each other. Unrequited love is used as part of the doomed relationship between Neil and Josie. Demonic rape is used to strip away the fake shells from some of the characters and expose the good or bad hiding beneath the surface so that everyone else can see.

Cemetery Club, which came out in 2012, has the least amount of sex. There are a couple of quick scenes between Corey and Marisol, just to show how their relationship is advancing, and there is one between the Mayor and his secretary to show that he’s a vile jerk. But none of these is more than a couple of paragraphs, and there is nothing graphic at all – it’s stuff that you could see on network television. And the reason for this is that there was no reason, no need, for sex to further the story. Adding it in would have simply been for shock value, and all that would do is interrupt the flow of the book.

That’s my take on sex and horror, anyhow. And I’m sure at this point someone will say, “What about the idea of people using sex as an affirmation of life after a near-death experience? We see this all the time in horror books and movies.” Yes, you do. But for me, that doesn’t seem real. I’ve been involved in several potentially deadly experiences – car accidents, health scares, threats of violence from strangers – but I’ve never felt a tremendous desire to have sex afterwards. A drink or two to calm my nerves, definitely. But you don’t see many people totaling their cars, getting cut out by the jaws of life, and then rushing home to have sex. So I don’t do that with my characters in my books, either; at least not normally. Maybe if I had a couple who believed their lives were about to end, so they have sex thinking it’s going to be their last time…that’s at least plausible. I can see me writing that.

In any case, I hope this has given you some food for thought.
  The Burning Time:


Title: The Burning Time 

Author: JG Faherty
Publication Date: January 18th 2013
Publisher:
JournalStone

An ancient evil has come to Hastings Mills, and only one man can stop it.

Wherever The Stranger goes, evil follows. Wild dogs roam the fields. Townspeople turn on each other in murderous fury. Innocent women throw themselves off bridges. Swimmers disappear, victims of a deadly beast that haunts their waters. And the worst is still yet to come. The Stranger plans to open a gateway to the nether realms and release the Elder Gods to bring forth Chaos on Earth.

Only one man knows the truth, a country mage whose family has fought The Stranger before. But can he defeat his ageless enemy before Hastings Mills is nothing but a smoking ruin and the townspeople become unwilling blood sacrifices to the Old Ones? With only the help of a young woman and her teenage son, he will have to use all of his arcane knowledge to thwart his adversary and prevent the final apocalypse.

In Hastings Mills, The Burning Time has arrived.


Find The Burning Time  Online:  

Happy reading until next time!