#FallIntoHorror Why Characters are so Important by Alexandra Christian

It’s time to kick off Mocha Memoirs Press’s Fall into Horror event! REMINDER: Tonight is also the facebook party, so drop by this evening to talk to all of us! I’m also in love with Lexxx’s post today, because it’s an issue near and dear to my heart, so let’s check it out!


Welcome to Fall Into Horror with Mocha Memoirs Press!

Mocha Memoirs Press is celebrating the new Fall season by showcasing their love of horror and the authors who write it. Please welcome ALEXANDRA CHRISTIAN as they share their thoughts on fall and horror.

Why Characters are So Important


So I’m known for writing romance and I’m okay with that. Romance has given me a lot in the last several years. Even if it’s tragic, I love a good love story. Which surprises a lot of people who know me personally. I’ve been described by my family and friends as weird, morbid, and dark. My bookshelf looks like some kind of monument to Stephen King. So to the outside world, the fact that I write and read romance novels probably seems slightly off-kilter. Shouldn’t I be a horror novelist? I’ve often asked myself that same question. But truthfully—the procedures are quite similar if you think about it. Both horror and romance are fueled by the love between the characters. At least, they should be.

Take Stephen King’s The Shining. On the surface that story is about a man who is half-crazed with desperation losing his mind in a haunted hotel. That is NOT what The Shining is about. It’s about a little boy who loves his father and knowing that something terrible is happening to him. It’s about a man who loves his family so much that he’s willing to go to any length to support them. It’s about a mother who is at the end of her rope but still praying for a miracle because she loves her husband. In fact, Wendy is almost as perceptive as Danny. She knows something terrible is happening to her husband but because of her love for both him and her child, she’s trying to make the best of things. The love between those characters is what holds that story together. Without it, the whole thing would just be bland.

So many people think that horror is about scaring or hate or monsters and to an extent it is. Horror is often dealing with our deepest fears and the monsters are usually outward personifications of those dark things within ourselves that we’d like to forget. But at the center of any good horror story, there has to be a complex character(s) that the reader can care about. At least to some degree. Otherwise, what’s the point? Who cares if the monster eats Johnny’s face if Johnny is a flat character with no relationships and no personality? That’s why the climax of Dracula is Lucy’s very gruesome death. Once Dracula kills Lucy—devoted friend of Mina—the intensity of the story grows to a fever pitch, making it imperative that they slay the vampire. And then at the end of the story when Dracula is ultimately destroyed—we actually feel bad for him. Stoker spends all that time building the characters through those journal entries so that we care when bad things start to happen. And that’s what makes a good horror story.

This month I get to make my debut as an editor with the release of An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It’s a collection of Sherlock Holmes mysteries that are also horror stories. There’s a wide variety of stories there. Everything from zombies to werewolves and even a vampire story, but the one thing they all have in common are great characters. Beyond the mystery, Holmes and Watson have an interesting relationship that really plays into putting them in horrific situations. Not only that, but my authors have introduced some original characters that add depth to the stories that rival Conan Doyle’s—in my humble opinion. A pair of scheming old lady novelists, a brother and sister desperate to retain their immortality, a fallen nobleman who is so frantic to regain his former glory that he’d resort to extreme measures—these are just some of the characters that you’ll encounter.

So when the autumn chill is upon us, curl up with a cup of tea and a great horror story. Mocha Memoirs Press is spotlighting their horror titles this month and I’m sure there’s something there to tickle your fancy. Vampires, aliens, werewolves, or real-world monsters—there’s a book for every taste! Happy reading!

An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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Mocha Memoirs Press, LLC is a genre-oriented publishing company. Their vision is to provide an outlet for outstanding speculative and romance stories that often fall beneath the radar of traditional publishing houses. They seek to provide quality stories that invigorate the reader’s literary palette like a good, strong coffee. Like great coffee houses, they offer a variety of flavors. They publish stories in the following genres: science fiction, fantasy, horror, and romance, including the sub-genres of steampunk, cyberpunk, diesel punk, alternate history, weird westerns, and mash-ups.


One thought on “#FallIntoHorror Why Characters are so Important by Alexandra Christian

  1. I never thought about horror stories and romance having something in common, but you explained the idea of the importance of character development so the reader cares about what happens to them. Well said.

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