“Do You Not Get Scared?”
My Life as a Horror Book Reviewer and Writer.
By Lesley Ann Campbell
“Do you not get scared?” Does it not freak you out?” “It would freak me out!”
I hear this all the time from my day job. I read horror books, I review horror books and I’ve just started writing horror books. I am currently working on my first novel, tentatively titled ‘Quicksand’. I am also excited to say that a short story I wrote has been recently accepted for publication, my first acceptance. I can’t say anything else about that at the moment, but I will say that I am very excited.
The outsider opinion people seem to have of me is that I am some kind of iron-stomached soulless demon, because you know, if you love horror you must be like that. Non horror fans, and by that I mean people who turn green at the sheer mention of a haunted house story, seem to have this distorted view of us, the horror lovers. They just can’t understand the enjoyment that arises from scares, the intense thrill of the unknown, and the building excitement as the tension rises to critical. It is a fantastic feeling, I love to be scared witless by a book. I love reading horror. I love writing about it too. I can’t wait to sit down after I finish a book and type out my review. I relish going back over my favourite parts, telling anyone who will listen to me just how much I loved a particular character or a specific storyline. It’s truly a passion of mine. Yes I haven’t been doing it long, about eight months now actually, but to me it feels like it’s a huge part of my life. Reviewing horror stories, being offered a story from an author to read and to give my opinion on, is a dream come true for me. This, along with writing, has been something I have wanted to get into properly for so long now. I just never did it. Whether it was a form of fear, a lack of self confidence, maybe self doubt, or all of the above, I just could not bring myself to begin. Until last year when I finally did, I reached out, created a new blog where I would post all my reviews and I started contacting publishers. I soon built up a wonderful network of people, some of whom I am proud to say I now call friends.
My book reviewing really aids me in my writing, every time I would read something that really spoke to me, inspired me, it gave me a little push in the right direction. I finally began writing. I actually wrote the short story that has been picked up for publication while on my lunch break at work. I work as a legal cashier for a conveyancing firm; my job gives me a lot of inspiration. The office setting, the high pressure, fast paced environment is a breeding ground for ideas and inspiration. I have developed quite a good habit of typing out some short stories, blog posts and articles on my lunch break. I can then go over them and edit them at home at a later date. I find it quite therapeutic too, it can be a stressful job that I’m not always particularly fond of, and so writing is a little bit of self therapy for me halfway through the day. It breaks the mundane up and adds some flavour to my 9-5 life.
My life as a horror book reviewer and an aspiring horror writer has really taken off in a great way. I have so many horror books from so many talented writers in my queue to read and review. I have now submitted a second short horror story with the hope of publication, and I am working on a third. I have also recently taken up two courses in fiction writing, both giving me plenty of assignments to crack on with as well as huge amount of much needed writing experience. I have wonderful tutors who of course are writers themselves and I feel the extra tuition and work is really paying off for me.
I am determined. I want to be a writer. I am a writer. I am a horror writer. I would say to anyone out there who wants to review books or movies, or who wants to write, just to do it. Get out there, put yourself out there, get in the mix, and as long as you put the time and the effort in, it will happen for you. You hold the keys to your own life. Don’t let anyone hold you back, especially yourself.
Lesley-Ann Campbell was born and raised in Southport, Merseyside. She still lives here today with her soon-to-be husband Andy. Horror is her passion; she loves reading, watching and writing horror. She finds inspiration from authors such as Tim Waggoner, Hunter Shea and John F. Leonard. She is currently working on her first novel, Quicksand, and hopes to have finished her first draft by the end of 2019.
You can follow Lesley’s work at: https://horrorhousewife.net/