Jack-o-lanterns, spooky decorations, costumes. Some of us aren’t very excited about this time of drama and make believe. But it’s perfect for writer Alledria Hurt.
“I love Halloween season,” she says, confessing that this year, she’s planning on seeing an Evanescence concert and just handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.
A horror writer, she stamps Halloween on whole chunks of her work. She also dabbles in science fiction and other nerdy genres. But it’s graveside service that she enjoys most.
“Fantasy horror serves a very specific purpose in that the good guys win,” Hurt says, adding, with a dramatic pause, “At least for now. The monster is defeated – for now.”
And being honest, I don’t think we can say the same about a lot of monsters and scary things in the real world. (Health problems and zombie political ideas come to mind.)
“You do have to be a little vigilant because later, it might come back. But for now, you’re safe.” So her books occur in series. One book leads to another and another.
Hurt just wrapped up one series: “Chain of Fate,” “Blades of Fate” and “Ruins of Fate.” The series involves rebirth, madness, power and love – from a fantasy point of view.
And she’s released plenty of other stories with titles like: “Dark King Rising,” “October Sky,” “Wielding His Scythe” and “She Becomes Death.” A quickie is “The Visit.”
A short story written as a promo for a larger series, it involves death, sharply dressed, walking the halls of a hospital, “sometimes to take, sometimes to visit,” she says.
Scary, scary – this death. Then there’s “A Bargain and an Arrangement,” about a headless guest who arrives for dinner. It sounds bloody and violent. But it’s really not.
“If I give you half an idea, you’re going to build the other half,” she says. “And you’re going to build the other half based on what you know, from what’s in your brain.”
And that’s the terrifying part! Hurt doesn’t have to detail everything about these monsters because our minds are just filled with horror, consciously or not.
The same applies to the actual event, our end, the place we’re all going. Needless to say, more than a few people die in her stories. But it doesn’t fill pages and pages.
“My pet peeve is gore for no reason,” she says. “If you’re going to kill someone, go ahead and kill them and move on to the next thing.” So J. M. Coetzee – she is not.
Her ideas spring from a place of intense creativity and inventiveness, where you wonder, How on Earth did you come up with that idea? And then give it your own spin?
Many of her characters, including the heroines, are African-Americans. She’s a fan of Graveyard Shift Sisters and Colors in Darkness, websites about diversity in horror fantasy.
“We write it, we read it, we’re part of it, but so often, we’re overlooked,” she says, noting both old tropes about black people in horror and notable writers like the late L.A. Banks.
“We want to be the leading lady, we want to be the ‘final girl,’ we want to be the face that’s on the poster,” she says.
And in case you’re not aware (I wasn’t), the “final girl” is the last female (and it’s always a “virginal” woman – why?!) in a horror film, the one who survives while her friends die.
Hurt plays within these unwritten rules and breaks others. “A certain amount of behaving is expected,” she says. “But sometimes I stick my head out of the mold and say, ‘Ha ha!’”
I certainly hope your Halloween has “Ha ha!”
Find Alledria Hurt’s books on Amazon.com and read her blog at AlledriaHurt.com.