Which of the stories in Thirty Scary Tales are based on real events?
Many contain a grain of something that happened to me, but in much-changed form. I’ve often visited the ancient stone circles in Cornwall, but I never witnessed a human sacrifice like in Druid Stones. The train journey across the Swiss Alps happened, but unlike the story Night Train, there were no vampires on board. My experiences as a bellydancer and museum guide inspired parts of Turkish Night and The Painted Staircase. The events in Black Karma, with the shaggy dog pursuing me night after night, occurred almost exactly as I’ve written them. As a young woman in London, I was really molested by a would-be rapist and had the wits to pretend I was a dominatrix – but the rest of Only A Fool happened only in my imagination.
Where do you write?
I live in a seaside town in the south of England. My writing desk faces the window, so on sunny days I see the sun dancing like diamond sparkles on the sea surface. In the autumn, I watch the storm whip the water into a dark frenzy beneath angry clouds. Often, the view is mist-veiled or streaked with the rain’s silver drizzles. I love the sounds of the wind lashing against the wall, raindrops drumming on the glass, and seagulls screeching in the wake of the dawn fishing fleet.
I also write outdoors when I can, taking pens and a notebook with me to parks, gardens or the beach. Coffeeshops are also inspiring places to write – I confess that I often eavesdrop on other people’s conversations and use them as inspiration for the stories I write.
What’s your favourite social media network?
Twitter. I’m very active there, sharing #writetip tweets and interacting with my fans. Unlike many people, I’m genuine. I don’t use any kind of auto-tweet, auto-thanks, auto-retweet, auto-response and such, and I don’t post constant buy-my-book tweets. I respect my followers, and they appreciate it. I have over 40,000 followers, and I value every one of them. If you tweet that you’ve read this interview, I’ll follow you back: @raynehall.
What scares you the most?
I have so many fears! The high-pitched whine of a dentist’s drill. Slimy garden slugs. Big spiders in my bathtub. Crowds. Fire. Dark tunnels. Heights. The worst is always the one I’m thinking about. I’m a real coward, which is a good thing for a horror writer, because I know what it feels like to be afraid, and I never run out of ideas.
Many of my best horror stories are inspired by my own fears. Sometimes, it takes courage to confront that fear in my writing. Once the story is finished, though, the fear is replaced by a sense of triumph: By fictionalising the fear, I’ve gained control over it. By writing about what frightens me, I can make it less frightening.
What’s your greatest character strength?
Genre – Horror
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
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