Today I'm answering a few more FAQs and sharing a look at my unsettling horror novella, Nightmare in the North.
Who, or what, has influenced your writing?
Although most people think of me as a romance author, I also write short horror stories. The author who has had the most influence on my writing is Stephen King. The first “grown up” book that had a major effect on me was Stephen King’s Night Shift. I read this collection of stories when I was nine or ten, and I was impressed. Up until that point, I’d read the Little House books and Nancy Drew mysteries. They were okay reads to pass the time, but something about horror clicked with me. I was entranced by the way the stories were told, the characters, the descriptions, and the tone.
King creates interesting characters, brings the reader into the setting with sensory details, and sets up unique plots. The telling of the story (regardless of genre) is the core to any good book. I think his On Writing is a must-read for anyone who writes or wants to write.
Once I discovered King’s writings, I was hooked. I decided I wanted to write horror fiction and have my stories published in a book someday. From then on I read every horror novel and short story I could find. Eventually I began writing my own tales of terror. In addition to my horror fiction, I’ve also published a collection of 18 science fiction stories called Extraterrestrial Encounters. Readers can learn about it here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/extraterrestrial-encounters
You write horror fiction, so readers want to know… what’s the most shocking book or story you’ve ever read?
The first horror story I ever remember scaring me is “Wendigo’s Child” by Thomas F. Monteleone. It was in an anthology for children called Monster Tales: Vampires, Werewolves, & Things. I read it when I was in grade school. Anyone who has read it understands the last line: “It was looking up at him.” I’m still searching for a copy of that book and the illustrated version of the story.
In addition to your full-length romance novels, you’re also a prolific science fiction and horror short story writer. What is your key to creating a successful piece of short fiction?
The best advice I ever got for writing short stories is: write tight. Take out anything and everything not essential to the story, such as extra words, details, and dialogue tags. This is especially important when I’m writing sci-fi or horror. Too many words or distractions can break the tension, ruin the suspense, or otherwise distract the reader.
You also need a compelling plot that draws readers into the world of the characters and holds them there. Not everyone believes in ghosts, but if you write a ghost story that sucks readers into that world and scares them, you’ve done your job. A “hook” beginning and a great ending are musts in creating a good short story.
Have you ever started a project, felt it run out of steam and had to abandon it?
Yes. I think most writers have, for one reason or another. I’ve started a few horror stories, then wondered, “Why am I writing this?” and either scrapped what I had entirely, or revamped it. I have lots of story ideas, so if one project isn’t working out, I can start another story. I have more ideas than I have time to develop them.
Want more? Follow this link to read the rest of this blog: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/post/fun-faq-with-author-kelli-a-wilkins-part-2