Sunday, July 10, 2011

Why I Write Supernatural Thrillers

I don’t have the answers to my questions about life and forever, but I do know why I love writing supernatural thrillers. For starters, I think many people have some sort of curiosity about the supernatural. At some point, most people wonder about heaven and hell and life and death and spirits and monsters, if at no other time than in their youth.

I have always been intrigued with things that freak people out: Eternity, Ghosts, Aliens, and spirits of the unknown. And to be honest, I'm using the word intrigue in place of the word "afraid". If I were to tell you some of my real life experiences you'd know why. 

I'll save those for another post.

It’s normal for us to be curious about our body’s natural course, that is, to die, get buried and then enter eternity. You don’t have to believe in anything to question or fear the possible realms and dimensions that may or may not exist in this vast and endless universe. You will eventually, however, discover the truth. And if that truth means that your spirit floats endlessly through my living room late at night, I for one want to understand what the hell your doing there and how I can properly dispose of and/or exorcise you from my presence!

The supernatural: ghosts, spirits, apparitions, they are the things that we often hear about, but rarely see for ourselves. Those of us that have experienced something, something eerie, something malevolent, or something gently watching over us, know that there is more to this life than what we can see. The rest of the world either chooses to disregard the supernatural until they look at it with their own eyes, or fear it too much to desire investigating. Either way, it makes for great literary fodder.

I have had a few supernatural experiences in my life. These are the experiences that have formed my inner drive to create tales of frightful delight for the reader who needs a regular fear-fix. In some ways you could say that I’m a literary drug dealer, injecting my bookish narcotic into the veins of the paranormally addicted. If that’s the case, I’ll apologize on behalf of all suspense, horror and supernatural authors everywhere. We don’t mean to make your life miserable, leaving your forearm with jagged tracks from your literary lusting. For that, we are sorry.

Of course I don’t want to scare you at every turn of the page. I want to climb into the human spirit and lay out the facts. I want to reach into the fears that we all have and place them under the skin of my characters so that you feel as much like you are living the story, the exhilarating and intense moment that you thought was only fiction. That’s all I want. I hope I’m not asking too much.

Here’s a short excerpt from Reunion, my supernatural thriller…

.…Paul changed his tone. He had to get to the bottom of the rumors that were circulating about the building. 
“So, have you guys seen or heard anything unusual?”
“Nope!” responded Tony.
“Aaaap!” wheezed old man Joe.
“You okay there, Joe?” asked Paul.
“What are you saying, Joe? Did you see something unusual or not?”
Paul threw his hands in the air. “For God’s sake, what is he saying, Tony?”
“Hell, I don’t know. Sounds like he’s saying…Aaaap!”
“What the hell does that mean?”
“I think it means yes. At least, that’s what I think he means when he makes that sound.”
Paul thought for a second and asked, “So, what did you see, Joe?” 
Joe pointed behind the two men. They both followed his finger with their eyes.
“What the—!” shouted Tony. He tripped on the mop bucket, causing the wax to spill all over the floor. He slipped and splashed in the slippery solution.
“Oh, God!” cried Paul.
When Paul turned to look at what old man Joe pointed at, he saw a mirage of children walking to and fro. The images looked like an old-time movie where the picture faded in and out, but the same frames played over and over. Paul and Tony stood there frozen, watching the images emerge and vanish again as if their broadcast depended on a weakening signal. Old man Joe just kept on gliding his squeegee across the floor. The flickering film continued, smoky and translucent. Paul stared right through the children, across the cafeteria.
The kids seemed to be trapped in another dimension where they walked the same path over and over. Their spirits appeared lost and searching for the life that was cut way too short. One of the spirits resisted the pattern and stared back at them, looking deep into the place that he could no longer enter.
“Do you see that, boss?” asked Tony as he rose to his feet, dripping with wax.
Paul stepped back and said, “Yeah,” then turned toward Joe. “Why didn’t you say something, Joe? Why didn’t you tell us?”
Joe kept on working. “Reckon, you’d see it all by yurself, just like you done.”
Paul and Tony looked at Joe in disbelief. Paul began pacing in circles, trying to make sense of the mirage as it slowly disappeared.
He looked at the men with eyes clouded in fear. “Just finish the floor and get the hell out of here. You hear me?” They nodded and continued cleaning up. 
Tony looked over his shoulder and gripped the mop handle tight.
“I’ll check on Mike,” said Paul. “Hopefully he’s done by now.

-Jeff Bennington  
Author of REUNION
Creator of The Writing Bomb


L.J. Kentowski said...

Hey, Jeff! I've been intrigued by the supernatural since I was young. Seems that most of my favorites when it comes to books, movies, and TV shows always ends up there. It's the thrill for me.

Great post!!

Jeff Bennington said...

Thanks LJ, I think that inner fear in us makes a creative writer type drawn to exploring our dark feelings....i.e. psycho-babble...but so true.