SCREAM QUEEN: Dawn Kurtagich

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I write and collect books (they are my precioussssessss) and have been known to keep lengthy and obsessive journals as my characters. You can imagine the hilarity this inspires in my house for a few weeks, when I both get upset over imagined traumas or giddy over impossible happenings—or terrified by unseen monstors! I also have an obsession with obsessions—I’m addicted to them. Ask me at any time what my current obsession is and I will be able to tell you. Right now? Haitian vodou.

Why horror?

Horror is the juiciest, most fascinating genre to me. It can be so many things, all at once: romantic, gothic, tragic, comic, subtle, repulsive. You name it, horror can be it. Horror is the genre without the veneer, and that appeals to me. Nothing is taboo in that space, and all bets are off. Horror is about the visceral, the dangerous and it tends to linger. I really, really like that.

What horror scene stayed with you and why?

Because Psychological Horror is what I would call “my space”, I enjoy niggling ideas, especially when they play with perception and paranoia. Because of this, Mark Z. Danielewski’s HOUSE OF LEAVES left me utterly trapped for about a month and a half (and much longer once the book was closed. In fact, I’d say I’m still lost in this dark endless rooms). I remember reading the following line: “Here then at long last is my darkness. No cry of light, no glimmer, not even the faintest shard of hope to break free across the hold” and thinking “Oh nooooooooo.. . . . I shouldn’t have started this book.”

The first line isn’t “This is not for you” for nothing.

Another book, rather than scene, that I am loving right now, is THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson. FANTASTIC read. Playing with the mind in a horror setting and tilting perception is my cup of tea.

Are there any horror projects you’re looking forward to?

I am absolutely dying to read SHUTTER, INSOMNIA, MARY, A MURDER OF MAGPIES, PARANOIA, NIGHT OWLS, CREED and SECRETS SISTERS KEEP by our very own Queens! I also picked up DOCTOR SLEEP and NOS4R2, so I am thrilled about those!

Are you writing horror currently or will you be? If so, tell us about it!

I am! Could it be anything other than a psychological horror that bends reality and perception so you have no idea what’s real and who is telling the truth? Of course not! It’s about sisters, obsession, madness and demonica of a less-than-typical sort. There are splashes of Haitian Vodou and good old Hoodoo thrown in for good measure. Think Skeleton Key and Diary of Ellen Rimbauer and you’ll know what I mean.

Categories: Introductions

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6 replies

  1. Both HOUSE OF LEAVES & THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE were pivotal reads for me as well. Your WiP sounds right up my alley, too!

  2. Ooh wow. Your WIP sounds awesome! Hoodoo, sisters and madness? Oh my. 😉

  3. Thanks so much, Sarah! I simply adore the play on insanity in The Haunting of Hill House and the use of language to convey something so troubling in House of Leaves! 🙂

  4. Jenn! I love you so muchly for that 😀 I am closing in on final edits! YAY!

  5. Just in time for Halloween! I love this season, and I love scary movies and everything horror… it’s so fun to indulge. I don’t see how some people don’t like it… I guess they just aren’t quite as twisted as us! Ha!

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