Faith, Writing and a Horror Author’s Intent

This past week I had an in-depth discussion with my friend and author Maurice Broaddus. Maurice is an interesting writer because he’s up front about his faith and infuses it into his writing. I, on the other hand, am pretty private when it comes to my beliefs; they aren’t part of my writer’s platform. Even though we have different beliefs, both of us write genre fiction and enjoy writing horror.

After we finished our discussion, we both felt that you might be interested in following our exchange and commenting on it. I thought we brought up some good points about our “selves” as authors and what we intend to put into our work.

Our conversation started with my asking him a question about Halloween. While I love the holiday, I’ve run into several people who don’t for religious reasons.

MONICA: As an author who intentionally infuses Christianity into your writing, how do you feel about the recent criticisms that Halloween is a threat to Christianity?

MAURICE: Well, I don’t know if I see myself as intentionally infusing Christianity into my work as much as that’s simply my worldview and it naturally comes out in my work (at least, that’s what I hope is happening).

Halloween is always one of those weird times of year for me. I’m not that into Halloween (which sounds counterintuitive coming from a horror writer). It’s just not my thing. On the flip side, it’s my wife’s FAVORITE (except for Christmas) time of year. The house gets decorated; the planning of costumes is like laying out a battlefield campaign. She’s all in.

But we also have to navigate a certain church culture that instinctively reacts against Halloween. This culture reacts to Halloween the same way it does horror: after a cursory glance, it’s dubbed an embrace of evil and the satanic. The rise in Halloween’s popularity is seen as a threat, but yet they still want to have it both ways. So we get things like “trunk or treat” or “hallelujah night” where we can participate in all of the trappings of Halloween, but not truly partake of Halloween. Because that’s not what everyone else is doing – just using the occasion to have dress up parties and beg for candy.

I’m curious, what role does the supernatural, or even the idea of the supernatural, play in your everyday life or is it something to be dismissed out of hand?

MONICA: I tend to look at the world through the eyes of an amateur cultural anthropologist. (I wanted to “be” Indiana Jones when I grew up.) Having said that, I have an insatiable curiosity. I’ve read a lot of books on a lot of different topics – including the arcane. So, I’m of two minds on the subject. The logic part of my brain says that there’s a rational explanation for everything. There’s a lot of psychology and sociology that can be found in the supernatural. The other side of my brain says that I shouldn’t be so sure of myself all the time. I’m only human. How could I possibly have all the answers? Sometimes, extraordinary things can happen and there’s simply no “natural” explanation for them.

So I guess the straight answer is: it depends upon the day and whether or not I’m writing. To get that creative boost, I let my imagination run away with me. Sometimes, when things are clicking, it almost feels like I’m experiencing supernatural so I visualize or get inspired by different muses. Other times, when I can’t hear the voices and the world seems flat and gray, then there’s nothing there except billions of atoms smashing into each other. That’s a place I don’t like to visit very often.

Has anyone ever accused you of being non-Christian because you write horror? How do you respond to something like that?

Maurice will be picking up the conversation on his website, too. I’ll share that thread with you in a follow-up post. Feel free to chime in!

Monica Valentinelli is an author, artist, and narrative designer who writes about magic, mystery, and mayhem. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.

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