BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Guest Post: "Why Horror?" by Author Derek Clendening

Today we have Horror author Derek Clendening joining us as part of his blog tour for his new book, "Breeding". It was released on October 26th of this year, by Mausoleum Press.

Derek is the author of adult and young adult novels. He likes to hear from his readers so drop him a line at derek.r.clendening at gmail dot com. He personally answers every e-mail.


Book Blurb (from goodreads):

It began in New York. Then it spread. Zombies outnumber humans ten-to-one and they must retool the Earth to suit their needs. Capitalism has survived the Apocalypse and a billionaire zombie plans to cash in by opening a human breeding farm near Buffalo, New York. He will provide sustenance to his fellow zombies . . . at a price . . . . Remaining humans have been imprisoned, paired, made to breed and have been treated like the lower form of life that they have become. A deadly ultimatum forces their darkest family secrets and worst fears to surface. The strong will survive. The weak will perish. 


A few years back, I read a rather pretentious article regarding Stephen King’s apparent inability to write (both plot and prose, I presume) and how kids who read Harry Potter books might as well have read nothing because they’ll never discover Kipling’s The Jungle Book or Just So Stories. The author’s punch line here is obvious: Stephen King novels have no literary merit. I feel that, by extension, he is making the same argument about the horror genre.  

I’m not saying that mindless hack and slash offer a tremendous amount to the world either, but I prefer to think that the horror genre is so much deeper. Horrific things happen all the time. A rule I abide by is that if it can happen in real life then it is fair game to tackle it in fiction. Given the state of the world (depending on how you view it) that leaves a broad playing field. 

 At this point I should add that I’m sometimes asked why I write horror because, as they questioner asks, ‘Isn’t there enough horror in the world?’ Well yes, there is, but it’s how we deal with it as people that matters. That’s where horror’s literary merit kicks in. The scary things that happen in a book or short story set up the situation and some of the consequences, but what follows represents how a person could or should act in such grave circumstances. 

 I wrote a long fiction piece titled The Business about a retired, crippled professional wrestler whose life literally depends on his ability to become a better person. There is some hack and slash in it, and I understand that some people get off on that, but I think enough people would miss the point. The blood and gore alone would be enough to write it off as a work of serious fiction. 

 My character’s inability to change makes his situation all the more horrific for him. I’ve written other works that I hope can be considered to be scary that involved not a hint of gore or even violence (I.e The Employer). This is where I believe literary merit in horror fiction is very prevalent. Of course, it’s definitely not just my work. Some great books by writers like Rio Youers, John Langan, Robert Dunbar, Lee Thomas and Peter Straub are great examples of how much literary merit horror has. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

To enter to win a Kindle Fire, leave your name and e-mail address in the comment form below. You can enter once per blog stop. Visit each blog stop to increase your odds of winning. If I crack the Kindle Top 100, I will give away another Kindle Fire. E-mail me for the tour newsletter including a full listing of tour stops at derek (dot) r (dot) clendening (at) gmail (dot) com.


  1. It's always tricky when writing in a genre that so many get the snobby nose for. However theres a lot that can be done for the reader and to be honest with you, the option of payback is always a biggy.

    After all how many people haven't wanted a zombie apocalypse just so that they can blast thier boss with a shotgun etc. LOL

    Incidently one thing that's never made any sense is to have close combat bludgeoning weapons especailly when the infection is transferred with the "liquid." Just wonder why its become so popular and yet the people concerned never seem to get infected.

    Perhaps something for you to muse over Derek. LOL

    Email addy:
    Gareth Wilson (I'm UK based.)

  2. I find it unfortunate and always a bit disheartening when anyone disses one genre. While I may not love a certain genre, I think ANYTHING that gets people to reading is a good thing.

    I've enjoyed following the tour, Derek! I can't wait to read your books.


  3. I admit, horror is not one of my favorfite genres but there are some books and movies in it that I enjoy. I think that most genres of entertainment have some vaklue to them and I hate to see them put down or disparaged, especially by someone who doesn;t know enough about the genre to discuss it intelligently.

  4. I love horror stories - always have and always will! I haven't read these books but I do look forward to them, especially The Breeding. A good zombie story keeps you on your toes and I live a few hours from Buffalo, NY so it's even more interesting!

    Thanks for the offer and best wishes! Happy holidays!!



Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing from my readers. Let's talk!