Monday, October 7, 2013

Horror Dad Writes

Today I bring you a guest post from horror writer Alex Laybourne. Enjoy!

Being a writer isn’t easy, holding down a full time job in today’s economy is not easy, and being a parent is certainly not an easy job at times. Doing all three can, at certain moments, be a recipe for madness. Yet all of us in this position push on.

As a result, I have learned to compartmentalize. I divide my time. Everything has its place. I write when I am supposed to write. I work when I need to write, and when my kids are around, we play, sing, dance and have a riot.

Sure, sometimes things overlap, but only because I want them to. Normally I have my structured approach and it works.

Being a parent and a horror writer, I am often faced with difficult questions from my children. Like when they ask me about the monsters. Should I tell them that old lie, that monsters don’t exist? Do I tell them that monsters aren’t real? That would be a lie. The world is filled with monsters. Or do I sit down, tell them about monsters, that the things they think are monsters is really their imagination? That the monsters are real because they exist inside them, and that likewise, they can control them. Turn them into anything.

Maybe it is unconventional, maybe other people reading this will take me for a fool, but I know that when it comes to the monsters under the bed and the things that go bump in the night, my kids will know the truth, and will allow themselves to believe anyway, because they are the writers of their own dreams.

That being said, it has gotten me into trouble on occasion. One such incident came in the swimming pool with my son as he prepared for his weekly lesson.

We walked into the large communal changing room, and the kids were there with the usual plethora of questions. Can I have an ice cream after swimming? Can we eat chips tonight? Can we go to the playground? I want to go home! I don’t like swimming.

In walks my son, who had been a few feet. “So Dad, let me get this right. Vampires drink your blood, zombies eat your brains, and werewolves just kind of eat everything.”

You can imagine the impression that made. Everybody just fell silent in the whole changing room. All eyes were on us. What did I do as a parent? I did what Horror Dad should do. I clapped my boy proudly on the shoulder and said, “Yep, got it in one, now let’s get ready for swimming.”

Oddly enough nobody sat near me that afternoon beside the pool. 

Born and raised in the coastal English town Lowestoft, it should come as no surprise (to those who have the misfortune of knowing this place) that I became a horror writer.

From an early age I was sent to schools which were at least 30 minutes' drive away and so spent most of my free time alone, as the friends I did have lived too far away for me to be able to hang out with them in the weekends or holidays.

I have been a writer as long as I can remember and have always had a vivid imagination. To this very day I find it all too easy to just drift away into my own mind and explore the world I create; where the conditions always seem to be just perfect for the cultivation of ideas, plots, scenes, characters and lines of dialogue.

I am married and have four wonderful children; James, Logan, Ashleigh and Damon. My biggest dream for them is that they grow up, and spend their lives doing what makes them happy, whatever that is.

For people who buy my work, I hope that they enjoy what they read and that I can create something that takes them away from reality for a short time. For me, the greatest compliment I can receive is not based on rankings, but by knowing that people enjoy what I produce, that they buy my work with pleasure and never once feel as though their money would have been better spent elsewhere.


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  1. Love this interview, flow so beautifully. Ian continues to amaze me with his skill as a writer, and especially as a wonderful person.