Are you all enjoying my birthday blogastravaganza as much as I am?
Today we have my dear friend and fantastic author, Carol Oates...
By the time I turned thirty I already had hundreds of thousands of words of fiction under my belt. I’ve been writing in one form or another all my life. While in primary school I scribbled stories which could be classified as fanfiction, although I didn’t know what fanfiction was at the time. As I got older my writing changed but I struggled to find my voice. I tried different styles of writing and different genres, chick-lit, horror, historical drama and crime. I always seemed to gravitate back to the supernatural, the one genre I wanted to avoid.
I grew up on stories of the supernatural, fairy rings and ghosts. My dad told how he saw Banshee as a young boy before a death in the family. It scared him half to death himself. The day before I started school we moved right across the street from where Bram Stocker was born and I spent years slightly obsessed with vampires, werewolves and zombies, watching old black and whites with my brothers. However, it felt almost cliché to want to write them myself. Looking back that doesn’t make sense.
This unsettled nature of my writing reflected in my real life too. I left behind a string of broken relationships when no one lived up to my ideal for my perfect leading man. It was easy to walk away most of the time. I was accused of lacking commitment and being unsettled. I was. I enjoyed the drama, I flirted with it and if it wasn’t there I instigated it, and then walked away when it bored me. Love was never like my books and life was never as exciting.
Eventually I turned thirty and everything changed. I realized I was spending a vast amount of time worrying what people would think of me, if people in my life would judge me for my monster obsession and how I spend entirely too much time wondering how the digestion system of a vampire works. All you have to do is look at bestsellers in Ireland to see that despite a strong supernatural history, that isn’t what people here read as much as elsewhere. Anything I did write verging on supernatural was hidden away or trunked, as writers say.
Then I discovered something amazing! Internet. Everything slipped into place all of sudden. I found friends online who didn’t think I was weird for liking the living dead or believing in spooks and other things that go bump in the night. I decided it was time for me to do what I wanted to do—bring monsters and other supernatural creatures to life. What do you know? Suddenly I was happier, more at peace with myself and enjoying my writing rather than feeling it was some sort of dirty secret.
I was trying to fit my round self into a square hole. It wasn’t going to work. So that’s what thirty brought to my life and my writing—maturity. Accepting, as far as writing goes, my brain works better in a fantasy place where the weird and wonderful exist and there is nothing wrong with that.
Thanks for having me here today, Hannah and Happy 30th Birthday!!!
Thanks for stopping by, Carol! And I'm with you! I honestly believe that there are creatures that most people call "make-believe".
Tomorrow we have the talented Trisha Wolfe so make sure you come back to read her post.