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Why I Write Dark Fiction by Kateri Stanley

I am thrilled to welcome British novelist, Kateri Stanley to the website today to explain why she writes dark fiction. Thank you for your time and expertise, Kateri.

Why are your stories so dark?

This was a question a friend asked me recently. It was a compliment and so was the look on her face. Well, the answer is really simple. I’ve always been attracted to dark things. I consume dark themed books, movies, documentaries, music, video games and so much more on a daily basis. I’m like a kid running rampant around an arcade.

Fun fact for you: when I was online dating years ago, a potential suitor read a vampire novella I wrote called Eat Her Alive. The story made them so uncomfortable that they didn’t know how to talk to me afterwards so… they blocked me. Haha! You can read the novella on my website if you’re interested.

Dark themed fiction doesn’t just live in the houses of horror and the spooky, oh no. I’m a multiple genre writer, my work crosses categories, you won’t find any of my work (novel, short story or otherwise) constricted to the walls of one particular genre. Dark themes can be interlaced no matter what you read, whether it’s sci-fi, crime, thriller, fantasy, drama, romance, you name it.

Dark themed fiction has given us some wonderful stories over the years such as Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (which became the internationally acclaimed movie, Blade Runner), Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, Thomas Harris’s Hannibal and Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games series. I found these dark works were potentially fuelled by real life world concerns such as environmental conservation, inequality and mental health.

I like writing stories that explore unusual situations or a character’s emotional state, these could be really sinister or slightly taboo subjects to others. When I’m creating, I’m on the same ride as the reader, to see how it turns out, wondering how the main character(s) are going to unravel themselves from what’s going on. Writing dark fiction has also acted as a vehicle for me to explore negative experiences and emotions I’ve engaged with in my life. It could be from a deep depressive spiral I had in my teenage years, dealing with a lifelong health condition and going through harrowing break up after break up. Through writing dark fiction, I have been able to gain a higher perspective and understanding by looking through the eyes of someone else in order to create a unique, cross genre story.

I find writing incredibly therapeutic, like a form of self-medicating. I think a lot of writers feel that way, it’s in our blood, we need to do it so we can get it out of our system. I love creating my own scenarios with my own rules and laws. When it comes to the realm of fiction, I can become the engineer of my own world for a reader’s escapism.

The author

Kateri Stanley graduated from The Open University with a degree in Arts and Humanities and worked for the National Health Service for eight years. She started off writing fanfiction as a kid, moved to short stories, created some audio plays and eventually sat down to write her first novel. When she’s not writing, you can find her binge-watching films and TV shows, making tons of playlists and dabbling in the occasional video game. She currently resides in the West Midlands, United Kingdom with her partner, they are hoping to be cat parents.

About her debut novel: Forgive Me

Kateri Stanley released her debut novel, Forgive Me on Tuesday 20th April 2021.

Investigative journalist, Susan ‘Stripe’ McLachlan, is constantly hounded by eager documentarians for interview requests about the Night Scrawler murders. One of the victims of the mysterious serial killer was a member of her own family, her father.

At the peak of her career, her services are sought by Isaac Payne who commissions her to write an article for his website. Usually, her projects delve into more uncomfortable, questionable topics, but there’s a deep, almost hauntingly familiar pull about her new client that intrigues her.

As she learns more about Isaac, Stripe digs up fresh secrets about the murders, arousing her suspicions. After an awkward confrontation, she wakes up in Isaac’s bed — with a chain around her ankle.

Isaac shows her harrowing footage on an old VHS tape. The contents hits close to home…closer than Stripe ever imagined. Now, she has to wrestle with her own moral compass and unpick the truth from the web of lies that turn into a crescendo where memories created from misery and suffering cannot be silenced.

Will Isaac ever lay the past to rest? And how will Stripe cope with the revelations that challenge everything she has ever known?

Forgive Me is a sci-fi horror which focuses on societal issues such as violence in entertainment, our fascination with the serial killer and our love of everything evil.

It was published by darkstroke books and is available in ebook, paperback and Kindle Unlimited on Amazon. Kateri is hoping to produce an audiobook of the novel soon.


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