I went to an event for press for Penguin Random House publishers (while the kids were in art class) and it was pretty interesting. Also, totally agree with the speaker, when the merger occurred between Penguin and Random House, they should have called it Random Penguins...
And, I won a book. A really cool book:The House at the Edge of the Night, by Catherine Banner. It's not what I'd normally read, but I'm so glad I got this specific book. The poetic beauty of it, the softness and realness of the language is amazing. Within the first two chapters, I feel like I'm in the remote village. Exotic and still compelling, I'm really enjoying it already.
But, at the presentation, they listed handfuls of books, most by unknown authors, that they've read and loved and predicted success for. In those handfuls, there was one horror novel (two if you're going to be generous about sub-genre). What was there was a unique gruesome crime thriller, probably a great read. But, it's a reminder that what I do is fringe.
And when you tell people what you do, you get to see that look on their face. And then, usually, they'll tell you something about Stephen King.
If you're a little on the goth side, that look that they give you lasts too long. But, horror writers come from all walks of life, and some of us look perfectly normal...I mean, I don't. But some of us do. I think, too, as a woman, as a mom, everyone has a preset image of who you are and what you should be doing.
Actually, no matter who you are, people do that. But jotting down the tragedy of loss and the details of blood and guts and the fear of dark alleyways are not what most people picture a suburban mom doing. After answering what I did, I once even got the response of "So, you must be pretty messed up then, huh?"
I say it often, I think it's scrawled somewhere on my FB page, that "Nothing dark is necessarily evil, and nothing evil is necessarily dark.". More often than not, the worst things you will ever come across in your life will be great at pretending to be beacons of light.
It's not the unhidden dark truths you have to be afraid of. And horror writers, as group, know that.
It's also important to talk about what this genre does for people. It is a shield, it is a constructed panacea for the scariest and most terrible things our world has to offer. In the case of epic horror, it's often a manual on how to be the kind of person you want to be when there isn't hope left.
I can tell you that it has saved me several times.
It's probably one of the most important reasons I do what I do.
So, no, we're not black-wearing antisocial weirdos who hate the world. (We're technically asocial...I'm kidding...). We're the people you want around when nothing is going right, and we're the people who will go head-first into the dark (with no freaking flashlight) to help you. Horror might sell as fringe, but what we do and say is no less important that the romance novel writer who brightens her reader's outlook, or the literary fiction writer who expands your thought processes.