Special Guest Interview Rayne Hall!

Halloween is coming–so this week I have a very special guest horror author and editor, Rayne Hall!

Portrait of Rayne Hall by Leah Skerry

Rayne Hall has published more than thirty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft and more.

Her short online classes for writers intense with plenty of personal feedback. Writing Fight Scenes, Writing Scary Scenes, Writing about Magic and Magicians, The Word Loss Diet and more.

https://sites.google.com/site/writingworkshopswithraynehll/

For more information about Rayne Hall go to her website https://sites.google.com/site/raynehallsdarkfantasyfiction/

Alright, on to the questions: When did you know you wanted to tell stories?

The stories we had to read in primary school were yawnishly dull, so I made up my own. When I was six, I told the teacher the stories were stupid and I could write better ones.  She took me up on it – bless her! – and gave me this assignment:  a story about a letter’s adventures from writing to delivery. When I handed it in, she was startled that a six year-old could write so well. Of course, she didn’t know I’d had the help of my older sister. From then on, when the other kids had to read the dull pieces for their homework, she often assigned me to write stories, and I soon learnt to do it without my sister’s help.

Where do you get your ideas & inspiration?

Most of my horror story ideas come from my own fears – things that frighten me, places that creep me out, nightmares that keep me awake at night. Thousands of ideas flutter around in my head at the same time. Sometimes, two or three of those ideas click together like jigsaw pieces, and that’s when a story starts to form. The location is almost always one of the first pieces to click. I like to set my stories in unusual, atmospheric places.

 

What do you think is scarier in a horror story: tension or gore?

Definitely tension! If the gore mounts up in a story, the shocking effect soon wears off, and the readers get bored instead of horrified.  Tension, on the other hand, keeps the reader hooked. In horror fiction, gore is optional. Some stories need gore, others don’t. Personally, I enjoy reading horror that’s low in violence and gore, but rich in tension and suspense. As a writer, I don’t shy away from gore if the plot requires it, and I have written graphic descriptions, but most of my horror stories are more psychological than gory.

How do you accomplish scaring the audience in your own writing?

I like to make the main character’s experience so vivid that the readers sees, hears, smells and feels everything as if it was happening to them.

I put the character into a dangerous situation – usually something they’ve brought about themselves – and then I take away every chance of support or rescue. The companion storms off after a quarrel, the terrible weather means no one else is around, and then the phone battery goes dead.

If possible, I dip the story into darkness: a powercut shuts off the lights, the campfire burns down, or the wind blows out the candle and clouds hide the moon. With the sense of seeing reduced, the other senses become more intense. The character hears alls sorts of disturbing noises, and she may have to grope her way out of danger.

I have written a book – Writing Scary Scenes – in which I reveal techniques for frightening readers.

What are your biggest fears? (Rational and/or Irrational.)

I have so many fears! The high-pitched whine of a dentist’s drill. Slimy garden slugs. Big spiders in my bathtub. Crowds. Fire. Heights. I’m a real coward, which is a good thing for a horror writer, because I know what it feels like to be afraid, and I never run out of ideas.

Many of my best horror stories are inspired by my own fears. Sometimes, it takes courage to confront that fear in my writing.  Once the story is finished, though, the fear is replaced by a sense of triumph: By fictionalising the fear, I’ve gained control over it. By writing about what frightens me, I can make it less frightening.

Thank you for coming, Rayne!

FYI, Rayne will be watching the comments, so if you have questions for her, please post them in the comments and she will answer them!

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11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Maria on October 2, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Thanks for introducing a me to a new author. I am looking forward to reading Storm Dancer!

    Reply

  2. Excellent interview. And I’ve loved horror since kindergarten when I ordered 13 scary tales in the weekly reader flier. I haven’t outgrown the obsession yet.
    Thanks for the advice Rayne and Congrats on all your accomplishments!!!
    Teresa R.

    Reply

    • Hi Teresa,

      Wow, you developed your tastes early!

      My relationship with horror was a reluctant one at first because I associated horror with gore, violence and bad taste 😀 It was only when I realised that horror fiction doesn’t equal gore that I became hooked.

      Edgar Allan Poe’s stories taught me the delicious thrills of fear, Amela Edwards’ ghost stories guided me to enjoy creepy atmosphere, Shirley Jackson’s stories showed how horror genre can make the reader think, Charles Dickens’ yarns added dignity to horror, some of Stephen King’s book introduced me to terror, Tanith Lee’s shorts initiated me into the joys of the dark and twisted, and JA Konrath revealed that sometimes, gory bits can be just right.

      Between them, these authors convinced me to let go of my prejudices against the horror genre. It was a long learning process.

      Where did your early love for horror fiction come from, do you think? Were you born with this preference, or did your parents get you hooked by telling thrillingly gruesome fairytales?

      Rayne

      Reply

      • Hi Rayne,

        While this question was directed towards Teresa, I also developed a taste for horror when I was fairly young. I did have a book of fairy tales, but I really became hooked because my mom read Stephen King and of course I read the books too. (No, I don’t ever remember directly asking for permission to read anything, I just read them.) I probably picked up my first one when I was about 10ish.

        Anyway I loved any story that made me worry that the characters were in danger. Any one else out there developed a love of horror early?

      • Perhaps this is what attracts us to the horror genre: we root for characters who are in danger?

  3. Posted by Craig McGray on October 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Loved the interview. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to finishing Storm Dancer. It’s great so far!

    Reply

  4. I write scary books and I picked up Rayne’s book on Writing Scary Scenes. Outstanding. I have a Facebook group for those who write and read scary stuff and I recommended it to the group and two immediately bought the book and thanked me for alerting them to it. In my most recent book, Monster in the Closet,I used the book during my rewrite.

    Reply

  5. Thank you for such a wonderful interview! I found so much to think about and apply to my own work – my latest novel (soon to be published with Ellora’s Cave) is erotic horror and those two things are a challenging combo, believe me! But your advice still applies, even more so… Thanks again!

    Reply

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