Today on the FlipSide, I’m hosting A. F. Stewart as she tours the internet in support of her new collection, Killers and Demons II: They Return. She’s written a very engaging guest post, but before we get to that, let’s get to know A. F. a little better…
A. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, and still calls it home. The youngest in a family of seven children, she has always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She is fond of good books (especially science fiction/fantasy), action movies, sword collecting, and oil painting as a hobby.
Ms. Stewart is an indie author with several published novellas and story collections in the dark fantasy or horror genres, with a few side trips into poetry and non-fiction. She has a great interest in history and mythology, often working those themes into her books and stories.
And without further ado…
Historic Settings for Horror
I love history, and I often use different historic eras as settings for my books or stories. So what do I see in the past that makes it such an effective medium for horror?
First, it’s fairly easy to establish a sense of drama and tension in certain historical settings. London in the Victorian Era for example, invokes an iconic image of gas lamps, fog shrouded streets and Jack the Ripper type terrors lurking in the alleyways, while medieval settings lend themselves well to a more supernatural dread, demons, witches and the like. History brings with it a built-in atmosphere and mood, which can be adapted nicely to fit into the horror genre.
The trappings of an era can establish a tone for the story, too. A reader expects a certain kind of behaviour from a top-hatted, finely dressed Victorian villain, actions far different from a rampaging, scantily clad, sword-welding barbarian, or an evil-minded alchemist in a black hooded robe. Clothes, especially period specific clothes, often make the character.
In my new book, Killers and Demons II: They Return, several of the stories have historic settings, and use the built-in ambience and characteristics to full advantage. I traipse to my favourite era for horror—the aforementioned Victorian era—in two of the stories, One Night in London, and Runner. The pair is a contrast in subject matter, with One Night in London having a straightforward historical background, and Runner bringing in a supernatural element, but both use the dark and surreal London streets and a less than savoury Victorian underworld to create a quality of menace in the story. However, my story How Do You Take Your Tea? does a bit of the opposite. It uses a Regency England setting as a contradiction to the villainy of its characters and plot. I mean, what could be more frightening and disquieting than evil in the world of Jane Austen? Be careful sipping your afternoon tea, poison may be lurking in that cup.
My last two historical stories, Suffer a Witch, and Up From The Ground, play with medieval locales and superstition. Suffer a Witch combines the unjust accusations of witchcraft with a bit of undead resurrection and revenge, leaning heavily on history to form its basis. Up From The Ground does much the same thing, using religion and a slice of medieval life as backdrop for a chilling paranormal horror story of possession. There is something decidedly perfect in the pairing of a medieval setting and a demonic invasion.
So that’s my take on history and horror. An ideal match made in heaven…or maybe in Hell.
Thank you A. F.! Now let’s take a look at Killers and Demons II: They Return… Don’t forget to click on the cover to be taken straight to Amazon!
They lurk forever in the shadows, smile at you in the morning, and haunt your dreams at night. You can’t hide, you can’t run, and there’s no escape. You can only scream when they come for you.
Killers and Demons II: They Return is a collection of thirteen tales, blending short stories and flash fiction, tales where the blood lingers on your tongue or spurts quickly from the swift cut.
The Villainous Roster:
Wade, every parent’s nightmare
Hannah and Mr. Greeley. Who is the victim and who is the villain?
Simon and Zoe, a married couple who are dying to be single again.
Norman and his “cookie” of a wife, Mabel.
Millicent and Jane, a delightful duo you shouldn’t invite to your Regency tea party
Amanda, who literally has a skeleton in her closet
Balthazar, the demon bounty hunter on the hunt once more.
Sarah, a young woman going through some changes and craving new tastes
Emmeline, burned as a witch, now back from the dead for revenge
Gabrielle, a woman haunted by shadows
The Dollmaker, she showers death, and an umbrella won’t help
Nightmare Demons, bent on driving a town insane
And then there’s Alice, a little girl locked in the basement by her Daddy…
Together they form a spine-chilling cadre of predators.
Did I mention there was a giveaway??
Click on theRafflecopter logo to be swept away to enter!