Today’s guest author has published numerous horror short stories, as well as books like Sleep Paralysis: A Collection, A Debt to Be Paid, and now Dream Woods. Here he talks about what inspired him when he first started writing scary stories.
How My Third Grade Self’s Love of Goosebumps
Helped Spawn Dream Woods
by Patrick Lacey,
by Patrick Lacey,
author of Dream Woods by Sinister Grin Press
It's no secret that I love me some Goosebumps. At least I don't think it is. I've sang R. L. Stine's praises in many an interview, but I'm not sure those that are aware of my existence as an author (there's at least a few of you out there) know to what extent my childhood obsession shaped my formative years as a writer. I'm not just talking about those bad ass covers that I used to stare at for hours on end (which probably explains why I love death metal artwork so much), or the fact that you could blow through several of the books in a single day (something I did on many occasions instead of hanging out with my friends). I'm talking about the fact that those books with the cool covers and the break-neck pacing made me was to take pen to paper in the first place.
I have a confession. Something a lot of people don't know about. I think it's time to come clean, to shout it to the world, to get this off my chest for once and for all. I wrote a Goosebumps novel. That's right. You heard me. I wrote one and it's called The Curse of the Scorpion. Haven't heard of it? You're not alone. See, I wrote it when I was in third grade, huddled over a Power Rangers notebook, the pages of which I carefully tore out and placed into a Batman Returns Trapper Keeper (dating myself here) so as to create the illusion of professional book binding (it didn't work, but it was awesome just the same). I don't remember how long it was. Thirty, maybe forty, pages. But I do remember the plot: girl buys scorpion from strange pet shop. Said pet shop's owner warns her of a curse with the scorpion, yet willfully allows said scorpion to be purchased. Girl brings scorpion home and spooky things ensue.
Simple, right? That's exactly my point. R. L. Stine does not beat around the proverbial bush. He gets you into the story, gives you just enough information, and sets you on a roller coaster. Now, you could make the argument that young adult writing needs to be like that, but Mr. Stine takes it a step further in my humble opinion. Even his adult novels (See:Superstitious) do not deviate far from this formula. It's because of this simple, stripped back style that I decided to give writing a shot. If it didn't inform the style I've (hopefully) developed, it at least set me in the right direction. Later on, when I started branching out, I was drawn to writers like Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum, Richard Matheson, and Graham Joyce to name a few. These authors have a similar, bare bones style that pulls you along by the scruff of your neck and if I wasn't devouring Stine's work as a kid, staying indoors instead of pretending to enjoy playing outside, I probably wouldn't be writing this article on the heels of my first novel's release.
Speaking of which, I wouldn't be a writer if I wasn't trying to peddle my books on you. Just give me a moment of your time. I'll be quick. I promise. The first Goosebumps book I remember reading was A Shocker on Shock Street, which, oddly enough, takes place in an amusement park where many of the rides come to life. Again: simple premise to grab you immediately. Now, my novel Dream Woods is a bit more complicated than that. In fact, even the book's timeline gets a bit dicey as the story progress but my point is this: at its core, Dream Woods is a haunted amusement park novel. That's what it is, plain and simple, when you boil things down.
Even though I've written plenty since that fever dream of a session back in third grade, Dream Woods would not exist had I not penned my Goosebumps (fan fiction) novel The Curse of the Scorpion. So, keeping with the tradition of Mr. Stine's work, I'll keep this article short and to the point. If you didn't grow up with Goosebumps, it's still not too late to jump on the bandwagon. Heck, they're still putting out new books to this day. Not to mention the major motion picture that was released last year. The Goosebumps franchise is alive and well. Go grab one of the books, whether they're from the original series or one of the many spin-offs, and dive in. You just might like what you read, as simple as it may be. Oh, and one last thing: maybe keep away from haunted amusement parks and cursed scorpions while you're at it.
Follow your screams…
When Vince Carter takes a shortcut to work he notices a billboard that nearly sends him into an oncoming van.
The ad is for Dream Woods, New England’s answer to Disney World. It closed decades ago, but now that it’s back in business, Vince is eager to take his whole family, hoping the magic he remembers will save his failing marriage.
His wife, Audra, isn’t so sure. She’s heard the rumors of why the place closed. Murder. Sacrifice. Torture. But those are just urban legends. Surely there’s nothing evil about a family tourist attraction.
The Carters are about to discover that the park’s employees aren’t concerned with their guests’ enjoyment. They’re interested in something else. Something much more sinister.
Welcome to Scream Woods!
Purchase DREAM WOODS at:
Praise for Patrick Lacey
“This collection has it all, showing the world that Lacey can write and do it well. From frightening, eerie, soul-stamping to funny and gross, this book has it all. The man's imagination is incredible. A must read!!!!” – David Bernstein, author of A Mixed Bag of Blood
“It's a rare and joyful thing for me to read a book and realize I'm in the hands of an author who can go absolutely anywhere, who works without a formula and without a net. Such is the case with this stellar debut collection.” – Russell Coy, Amazon Review
“This fast-paced novella has terror on every page and will keep you searching the shadows in your home far more often than needed.” – Russell James, author of Q Island, on A Debt to Be Paid
Patrick Lacey, Biography
Patrick Lacey was born and raised in a haunted house. He spends his nights and weekends writing about things that make the general public uncomfortable. He lives in Massachusetts with his Pomeranian, his mustached cat, and his muse, who is likely trying to kill him. Find him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter (@patlacey) or visit his website.
Want to Feature?
If you’d like to feature Patrick Lacey on your blog or site, or review Dream Woods, please give Erin Al-Mehairi, marketing and publicity at Sinister Grin Press, a shout out at email@example.com
Dream Woods by Patrick Lacey
Sinister Grin Press
Publicist/Marketing: Erin Al-Mehairi
Publicist/Marketing: Erin Al-Mehairi
Follow along the tour with these hashtags: #DreamWoods #ScreamWoods #PeskyBear
Dream Woods, Synopsis
· Print Length: 135 pages
· Publisher: Sinister Press
· Publication Date: October 1, 2016