About Those Scary Stories: Guest Post by David Bell

Being Halloween and all we invited novelist David Bell to share his thoughts on writing scary stories | @DavidBellNovels

We’re giving away a copy of David’s latest novel, THE HIDING PLACE, to one lucky winner today. Just leave a comment on this post to be entered.

David Bell

On the one hand, I don’t write scary books. Not scary the way Stephen King scares us. When they put my books on the shelves in the bookstores, they place them in the general fiction section. They get labeled as suspense novels or thrillers. No one calls them horror. There aren’t vampires or zombies or really even any blood at all. No one runs around with a chainsaw, hacking teenagers to pieces.

But a lot of people tell me my books scare them, and that response makes perfect sense to me. After all, I write about families in peril. And what could be scarier than thinking your family, your loved ones, the people you care most about in the world, might be in some kind of danger? Nothing, right?

THE HIDING PLACE hinges on a mother-daughter relationship. The daughter, Ashleigh, is fifteen. Like a lot of teenagers, she likes to keep to herself. She spends time alone, reading or at the library. She loves her mother, but she really doesn’t share much with her. In some ways, she sees her mother as lacking in something. Ashleigh dreams of getting out of the town she grew up in—unlike her mother. Ashleigh can’t wait to get away and go to college.

But there is one thing Ashleigh places above all else—her mother’s happiness and safety. In the book, a strange man visits the house Ashleigh and her mother, Janet, share in the middle of the night. The man claims to know the real details concerning the death of Janet’s brother, who was murdered twenty-five years before the book opens. Initially, Ashleigh sets out to find this man, to discover what he really knows. She hopes she can find out the truth about her uncle’s death and in the process bring closure to her mother.

But in the process of looking for the man, Ashleigh realizes something. What if this man is dangerous? What if he intends to harm her mother? I’ve been reading this section of the book for audiences in bookstores and libraries, and lately when I get to that line—Could this weird guy from the porch really be dangerous? Could he hurt someone—even Mom?—I’ve been having a personal reaction. I’ve been thinking of my own mom. What would I do if someone ever hurt her? She’s eighty years old and tough, but as people age they seem…so vulnerable. I grew up knowing that both of my parents would lay down their lives for me or my brother or sister. No doubt about it. But as we age, we start to trade roles with our parents just a little bit. We become the caretakers. The protectors. And make no mistake about it, my siblings and I would do anything to protect our mom if we had to.

And that’s what THE HIDING PLACE is about. It’s about a family that is forced to confront things they don’t really want to confront, but when placed in that situation, they come together like nobody’s business. They stand by each other. They fight for each other. Sure, one of the scariest things in life is thinking of our loved ones coming to harm. The only thing scarier is thinking about not having those we love the most around at all.

Want to read this book? Add it on Goodreads.

About Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen is the co-founder of She Reads, mother of six, and life-long reader. She is also the author of two novels with a third out in July: The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and The Guest Book.

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14 Responses to About Those Scary Stories: Guest Post by David Bell

  1. Jayne D. October 31, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    This sounds like a very interesting story about mothers and daughters. I would love
    to read this book.

  2. Tammy October 31, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Looks like the perfect read for a cold winter day!

  3. Laura Kay October 31, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I hadn’t heard if this book, but it does sound very suspenseful! I’m adding The Hiding Place to my goodreads wishlis!

  4. Pam October 31, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds very interesting. I have twin 15 year old girls and my mother has just moved in with us as well.

  5. Paula Dolin October 31, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I love good suspense novels – sounds great!
    Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  6. Kay Green October 31, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like the perfect book to curl up in front of the fire and read this weekend!!

  7. Ellen S October 31, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like a good one. Count me in!

  8. Polly Schneider October 31, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    This sounds like a really good book. Thanks for the opportunity to win it.

  9. Katherine Jones October 31, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Oooh, yay. Love these kinds of stories–especially at this time of year.

  10. Kathy October 31, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    “The Hiding Place” sounds like a mystery that needs to be read. I am a mystery buff and would enjoy reading this genre to satisfy my soul.

  11. Janet Hannah October 31, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    This book sounds very good!! While I have a large collection of Stephen King’s books (from my younger/20-something days), I think this type of story, one that could happen, is much scarier. Look forward to reading this one!

  12. Myra October 31, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    This book sounds so much like something I would enjoy reading. I love suspense and mystery and even scary stories that have a smart plot line. I don’t care for the chain saw killing, bloody horror tales. Thanks for sharing and for the chance to win!

  13. David Bell October 31, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Thanks for posting my guest entry here–and thanks to all the readers for their great comments. I had a lot of fun writing the book, and readers have really been enjoying it. Happy Halloween!

  14. LRF October 31, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds like an interesting read! Thanks for a chance to win it.

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