Guest post by best-selling children’s author R.L. Stine.
I always tell people that my job is to terrify kids. Someone has to do it, right?
But the truth is nowadays when I do a book signing, I see almost as many adults as kids who are reading my books. There is something about horror that cuts across all age groups. That’s because everyone likes a good scare—and we all react the same way. We scream, we cover our eyes, we gasp, and we laugh. Yes, laugh. Horror and humor are very much alike.
Try this experiment. Sneak up on your friend and say, “Boo!” Your friend will jump and shriek. But I bet you also make your friend laugh.
The next time you are at an amusement park, stand near the roller coaster. You will hear screams of terror—and gales of laughter. When I write my scary books I often think of them as being like a roller-coaster ride. I want the book to have twists and turns, scares and screams—and laughs.
Another way my books combine humor and horror is in the cover art. Take my new eBook Zombie Town. The cover is funny. It shows a movie theater ticket-booth where the prices are $8.00 for adults, $6.00 for children, and $7.00 for Zombies. Seems fair to me; although with all the success zombies are having lately, maybe zombies should pay more, not less!
Speaking of zombies, they are everywhere: zombie books, zombie movies, zombie TV shows, and zombie eBooks. Actually, it amazes me how popular zombies are—because let's face it, they can’t do much except stagger around and look hungry. But maybe that’s their appeal. They are just plain scary. They’re not complicated and tortured like vampires. They don’t go invisible on you like ghosts. They don’t have secret identities like werewolves. And best of all they are undead. You’ve got to love something that is not alive, not dead—but undead.
I hope you enjoy Zombie Town and all my other books. For me, writing horror is always a scream.