Guest Post: A Book That Scares Dawn Metcalf

(Design & illustration by Robert Roxby)

By Dawn Metcalf, author of LUMINOUS

The book still chills me. Here. Now. I re-read Something Wicked This Way Comes recently, having found a copy lying innocently atop a pile of children’s books at our local library’s annual summer book sale. I half-recalled fond memories of the shivers it gave me, curled up beneath several comforters in the bat-cave of my bed. I read it all in one sitting, eyes scratchy and wide. I don’t think I slept at all that night. I’d been caught up in a powerful mixture of awe and wonder and dread. Echoes of it called from across the years. Curious as an all-grown-up author instead of young tween reader, I bought the old and faded paperback and read it again.

I don’t think I slept at all that night.

The strangest thing is, I can’t precisely say why I was so terrified, then or now: it wasn’t any single description of the carnival or the autumn night, or any one of the sinister carny terrors: the illustrated man, the dwarf, the gypsy witch; nor precisely what it was about the dark carnival’s music or the aging carousel that completely infatuated me with horror… in fact, I think it was the opposite: the author left just enough space for my imagination to paint the most chilling details that were personally terrifying. It made the horror mine. I couldn’t put the book down and I couldn’t back away because I knew what it was wouldn’t stay within the pages; whatever had been unearthed by James Nightshade, Will and Charles Halloway, and the incredibly evil Mr. Dark, was part of me to begin with.

I just hadn’t known it yet.

Dawn Metcalf has no good excuse for the way she writes. She lived in a normal, loving, suburban home, studied hard, went to college, went to graduate school, got married, had babies, and settled down in northern Connecticut. Despite this wholesome lifestyle, she has clearly been corrupted by fairy tales, puppet visionaries, British humour, and graphic novels. As a result, she writes dark, quirky, and sometimes humorous speculative fiction. Her debut novel, Luminous, is available now.

Visit Dawn online at

Follow @dawnmetcalf on Twitter.

Comment on this guest blog and you’ll gain an extra entry for the big Halloween giveaway on October 31, containing prize packs of signed books plus books and ARCs donated by my publisher Penguin Teen!  

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