Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The curse of THE EXORCIST - #paranormal postings

The theme of my blog this month is Paranormal/Halloween (surprising, I know). But I love October, because I’m a big fan of anything paranormal—books and movies especially. While I do read horror, the paranormal novels I write aren’t designed to fit into that genre. I aim to create mysterious, spooky, and suspenseful (but not gory) ghost stories. Thankfully, many readers have claimed certain scenes sent shivers up their spine, which is exactly the kind of reaction I intended. Many have also said they stayed up all night reading one of my books--hopefully that was because they couldn’t put it down, and not because they were afraid to turn off the lights!

The scariest book I ever read was THE EXORCIST, by William Peter Blatty, in part because it’s based on a true incident that happened in the DC area, not far from where I grew up (the actual exorcism was performed on a young boy from Cottage City, MD). Part of the movie was filmed in Georgetown (I’ve visited the so-called “Exorcist steps” many’s definitely creepy), and I think the film is even scarier than the book. The terrifying visuals were heightened by the unconventional methods director William Friedkin used to get real reactions from the actors—slapping one actor in the face and firing a gun behind another are just two examples.

Then of course there is the so-called curse surrounding the film. In the early 1970s, not everything was documented for reality TV, so there are conflicting accounts of the strange occurrences. It’s said that between 4 and 9 people associated with the film died during filming or shortly after the release. An unexplained fire destroyed the MacNeil residence movie set—with the odd exception of the character Regan’s bedroom—causing a 6 week delay in production. At the Italian premier of the film, a 400-year-old cross near the theater was destroyed by a bolt of lightning.

The paranormal element in my first novel, SILVER LAKE, is of a less terrifying variety: the ghost, Brandy, is desperate to communicate with her living friends. She has a message to share, and she won’t rest until the secret is exposed. In order to help, Rain and Jason must reunite, and together they’ll face not only a haunted lake house, but their own painful past.

The ghost in GULL HARBOR is much more menacing…this angry poltergeist has driven the owners of the house away with its malicious behavior. Psychic medium Claire arrives in Cape Cod determined to connect with the dangerous spirit, but finding her ex-boyfriend Max in the same seaside town complicates matters. Soon they’ll both discover the danger to Claire extends even beyond the paranormal.

The wonderful thing about the romance genre is that readers can lose themselves in the tension of the book, knowing that eventually a happy ending is in store. If a couple seems cursed, we romance readers know they will find a way around it somehow and end up together. So while I enjoy being temporarily scared by stories of the supernatural, I prefer my “paranormal” to be followed by “romance”, so I can connect emotionally with the characters and rest assured that I will be rewarded with a Happily Ever After.

I hope you’ll check back at the end of October to participate in the Snarkology Halloween Blog Hop! Dozens of paranormal authors are participating, with tons of prizes along the way. In the meantime, what are some of your favorite paranormal books and movies?

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