Crystal Connor knows the challenges of being a writer. She doesn’t see the dark as something to fear. She sees the dark as a piece of clay, something she can use to create a piece of art for her fans. Her latest project, My First Nightmare, seeks out to introduce children to Horror and also to educate them. Crystal hopes this book to introduce children to mythologies from around the world.
DP: What draws you to the horror genre?
CC: I always have a hard time answering this question, because if I try and pinpoint what it was that drew me to the genre I wouldn’t be able to tell you. What I can say is that for as long as I can remember I’ve always enjoyed storied, TV shows and movies that have been dark around the edges
DP: What do you find more effective, gore or suspense?
CC: Without a doubt suspense. If the gore is relative, like with the French movie À l’intérieur, then it’s perfect but unfortunately oftentimes when you have a body of work that is over the top w/gore it’s either to appease fans who love gore for gores sake or it’s to mask a weak story. With suspense it’s not all up in your face, but instead the story stays with you long after the movies ends or you close the book. And I like that better, I like it when a story stays with me like that.
DP: ‘My First Nightmare’ is a horror-themed children’s book. What challenges are you facing writing this book?
Remembering that my target audience is children, lol. ‘My First Nightmare’ is a story within a story. It follows brothers Rodney and Tashaun as Tashaun seeks the comfort of his big brother after experiencing his first nightmare. As the story unfolds he not only learns that monsters are real, but that he is a descent of a long line of monster hunters. The book Rodney gives to his little brother is called The ABCs of Monsters (and what to do if you see one). What I’ve done is collected actual myths, legends, and folklore from around the world, placed them in alphabetical order and instead of following the standard A is for apple format that is used to teach the alphabet I’ve written short stories for each monster featured. This book is meant to be an introduction to the horror genre by introducing children to world mythology, but because a lot of the source material is pretty dark to begin with, tailoring the tales so that they are suitable for a younger reader while staying true to the original legend has proven to be my most ambitious project to date.
DP: Why are some children so drawn to monsters?
CC:That’s a really good question, the thing is, we as children are subjected to horror at a fairly young age. A girl and three pigs being stalked by a wolf. Wicked witches, forced marriages, poisonous fruit, kids locked away in towers, dancing broomsticks and dishes and all kinds of monsters. Sometimes kids are terrified by these stories and those of us who weren’t are fascinated by them. These stories are told to teach kids to stay vigilant, not to be so trusting of strangers and to be aware of their surrounds, I think kids like us who resonated with the darker parts of the tales are … I don’t want to say brave because like my mom always said the only difference between bravery and stupidity is timing, but have a combination of inquisitiveness and maybe at least a tiny bit of rebellion. Because we were all told to stay out of the woods, but some of us go hiking anyway. And there are some of us still who actually go into dark looking for monsters.
DP: As a writer, what topics do you consider off limits?
CC: As a horror writer and fan I don’t consider anything off limits, it all has to do with content. I’ve seen A Serbian Film and didn’t understand what all the hoopla was about. I didn’t find it disturbing or shocking. To me it felt as Srđan Spasojević was trying to see what he could do to gross out the audience. The absurdity was almost juvenile. Reading Marquis de Sade, for me, was like watching Ralphie from the Christmas Story, fantasying about his parents being devastated because they punished his as a kid. It’s just like that, but on steroids. Now, Meagan is Missing? Yeah, to this day is one that still bothers me and that’s not even considered horror.
DP: What writer or writers do you take inspiration from?
CC: King, Knootz, and Cook because they were who I was reading growing up. But as I discovered other amazing writers like Octavia E. Butler, Ann Rice, Linda Addison, Sumiko Saulson, and Kai Leaks, just to name a few I always find myself inspired and learning something new with every book I read.
DP: What future projects are you excited about?
CC: Well, I’m super excited about my 1st children’s book. It’s an ABC book of monsters from around the world but instead of sticking with the A is for Apple format, I’ve written a short spooky story for each monster featured in alphabet. I am working on a project with Michelle Nessk, the founder of Gloomy Sunday Productions and I am going to be a vendor at New York City Comic Con this year!
DP: How do you like to scare your fans?
CC: By providing them with bestselling, award-winning horror and science fiction stories that prevent them from feeling safe enough to go to sleep at night. lol By creating and then sustaining an atmosphere of dread and doom and then leaving them to themselves so that their imaginations can take over. (Insert witches laugh here)
It was great talking to the newest comrade this month. Crystal has much to offer the horror genre. You can see her works on her Amazon page. My First Nightmare has yet to have an official release date. She’ll also be a featured guest at Sinister Creature Con in June of this year. You can find out about Crystal’s appearance at the con here. You can also find more about her upcoming projects on her website.
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Dylan Patton, thanks so much for the post.Really thank you! Keep writing.