Last week we blogged about our earliest writings. This week we’ll take a look at things that have led us into the paranormal genre.
Catherine’s mother loved good old-fashioned monster and horror movies. In fact, she got so scared watching a monster movie when she was pregnant with Catherine that she got goose bumps. Later, when Catherine developed what appeared to be permanent goose bumps on her arms, her mother said she had “marked” her by watching such a scary story during pregnancy. One could say, based on this story and the old wives’ tale her mother’s explanation came from, Catherine’s destiny to write about the paranormal developed in the womb. In reality, the steady diet of supernatural themed movies and television shows she viewed as a youngster had the biggest influence. Vampires, werewolves, things from outer space, Frankenstein, zombies and ghosts whetted her appetite for the paranormal and made her run like mad past the graveyard when she had to walk home in the dark, wear a cross at all times, and avoid going out alone on a full moon. Thanks Mom.
Her grandmother also contributed to Catherine’s taste for fantasy. Grandma’s favorite scary story, which she told to her grandchildren at nearly every visit, was about an old woman who accidentally dug up a monster’s big toe, while hoeing her potatoes, and ate it for dinner. (Why the toe was not attached to the monster is lost somewhere in Catherine’s memory, but the gist of the story remains.) The monster, naturally, was upset and haunted the woman every night, moaning, “I want my big toe.” The haunting drove the old lady crazy and the monster gobbled her up in revenge. Catherine also reread Mary Poppins and Grimms Fairytales, two of the books on Grandma’s shelves, every time she visited.
And of course, we can’t forget Walt Disney. His romanticized tales of fairy godmothers, men under curses who could only be released by true love’s kiss, and evil witches have primed children everywhere to love the paranormal. Catherine was no exception.
Aside from his science-fiction fantasy Tom Swift books, Donald’s other genre influences have been television shows like The Twilight Zone and comic books—a reading choice of many boys. His favorites included supernatural heroes like Superman, Flash Gordon, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Aqua Man, and the Justice League of America. Lois Lane, with her unrequited love for Superman and inability to see the value of Clark Kent’s love, influenced his taste for romance. Donald also attributes his foray into the paranormal to Catherine. Having spent two-thirds of his life with her makes it hard to ignore what she’s interested in … and makes him a smart man for paying attention.
Can you attribute your love of the genre you write in or read to a childhood influence? If not, is there another instance you can point to that started you down a particular genre path?
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