You may have seen that my next novel, Most Unnatural, will be published this Friday. Like Effusion, it’ll be available on Amazon in both eBook (99 cents) and paperback ($10).
But it won’t be anything like Effusion. First of all, it’ll be quite a bit longer (hence the increased paperback price). Secondly, it’s not an adventure story. In fact I would say Most Unnatural will be very difficult for many people to read because of its content.
In 2015, while in college, I was enrolled in a horticulture class to satisfy my degree’s science requirement. This class introduced me to a concept in horticulture and plant biology that eventually became the seedling (very clever, I know, thank you) that would eventually bloom into Most Unnatural.
I knew from the very beginning that this novel would be a horror/hard science fiction story. But as the writing process went on, the story diverged into the realm of strange/weird/transgressive/speculative fiction. Fans of Robert Aickman, H.P. Lovecraft, Harlan Ellison, Chuck Palahniuk, and Bret Easton Ellis will probably recognize these authors’ influences on my writing. (If you’ve never read anything by these authors, I highly encourage you to.)
When I first started writing fiction when I was in first or second grade, my realm was horror. Over the years I’ve explored different genres and fused some together.
Most Unnatural is the horror novel I always wanted to write. It’s the horror novel my depraved six-year-old self dreamt of writing: the kind of horror novel that would frighten me even as I wrote it.
Writing horror literature is difficult because audiences (readers) want the kind of scares they get from horror movies–I know, I was one of them. But the reality is jump scares don’t work in horror literature. A writer can’t expect a reader to shriek when he reads of a burglar jumping out of a closet at a child.
Therefore, horror literature must depend on dread. Like a pot of water set to boil on a stove, the process is slow but once it reaches its pinnacle, the dread is as potent as rattlesnake venom. Well-done horror literature is capable of piercing your heart, sending shivers down your spine, and entering your brain to find a dark corner to dwell in forever, awaiting the smallest opportunity to enter your consciousness.
Most Unnatural does not have the structure that a Stephen King novel would have. There is no happy ending nor any kind of hopeful ending.
Some will hate it. Others will be sickened by it. Others still will be disturbed by it and not in the good way.
But maybe a few will find something I myself have often looked for and rarely found: a genuinely horrifying story.