(Design & illustration by Robert Roxby)
By Suzanne Young, author of A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL
What makes a story scary to me…
Short answer: Heartbreak.
Long answer: I grew up with an older brother seven years my senior. We got along great—even skipped school a few times to go to the zoo. But from the time I was in second grade, I was watching horror movies. Like, slasher/demon/MESSED-UP horror movies. So one can say I’m desensitized. But through my own experiences and life-numbing lessons, I’ve found that one thing KILLS me in books and movies—Heartbreak.
I recently read Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon and I won’t give anything away, but it’s creepy and even odd. But more than that it has a mix of contemporary and fantasy, the idea that you don’t quite know what’s real. And in that are elements of true grief and heartache. That’s the stuff that terrifies me. I’m a cautious person emotionally, and the idea that I can love something only to have it ripped away keeps me awake at night. Which is why for most books, I read the ending first—as if I can prepare myself for what’s to come so it won’t hurt as much.
I recently wrote an adult horror novel where fingers were amputated and old witches were killed, and this will make ME sound really creepy—but it didn’t bother me to write. Separating two people who are in love, that scares me. In that vulnerability I find terror.
I’m tender-hearted, what can I say?
Suzanne Young is a brilliant scientist. Not really. But she is a former middle school teacher turned zookeeper (mother). When Suzanne’s not fending off zombie squirrels she can be found in Portland, Oregon, writing obsessively. Suzanne is the author of several young adult novels including A Need So Beautiful and A Want So Wicked.
Visit Suzanne at suzanne-young.blogspot.com.
Follow @suzanne_young 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!
Here’s a sneak peek of some books I’m giving away: