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I recently published a series of novellas collectively titled Jane the Hippie Vampire, in which the protagonist suffers sexual abuse from more than one antagonist. One of them, the vampire who unintentionally turned Jane back in the ’60s had initially kidnapped her not only for a sustainable food source but also to satisfy his sick desires. This resulted in fleeting scenes of, for lack of a better word, torture-porn, and some of it is pretty horrific.
In real life, I do not participate in S&M. I don’t equate pain with sexual pleasure, and while I’m not going to judge anyone who does, I just thought I’d throw it out there that I’ve never fantasized about being raped with a red-hot poker. With that out of the way, I’d like to try to explain why Jane survived such a terrible event.
We writers work hard to make our characters as three-dimensional as possible. Sometimes that means creating characters that fall far outside our comfort zones. Sometimes that means creating characters capable of actions we’d never dream of in real life. I know an author who admitted to vomiting after writing a particularly sick torture segment. I’ve personally had to step away from the computer, take a breather, and shift gears for a while before I can continue past a particularly demented scene. Writing isn’t always about happily playing make-believe in our heads. Sometimes it is, and those are the fun parts, but writing isn’t always fun. Sometimes, writing is a sacrifice, and we make that sacrifice for the sake of our art.
This particular character, the vampire who tortures Jane in numerous unthinkable ways, is a true monster. I wrote him to represent not only the fictional creature in the shadows but also the predator that hides behind a charming, handsome face. They’re out there, the real monsters, and placing them in fiction in such a way serves to delineate them from us.
I dedicated Jane, Volume 1: Revival to all the survivors out there. I did this not only because Jane is herself a survivor but also because I’m a survivor. I suffered domestic abuse at the hands of a human monster for nearly five years before I made my final escape. I also was the victim of an even bigger monster—a disgusting, pathetic excuse for a human being who dosed my soda and did only God-knows-what to me while I was out cold. Perhaps it’s empowering to write about their fictional counterparts. Perhaps I would have written about them anyway. Regardless, I created them so I could banish them back into the darkness, where they belong.
And that’s what writing horror is all about.
More Coffin Hop tomorrow!