Fear & The “Tremblay” Feeling You Get From It!
What is fear to you? Is it when you accidentally drop your brand new iPhone on the concrete floor or that eerie, abandoned house around the corner that you try not to look at when you must walk past it? No matter what fear it might be, everyone experiences fear the same way: your heart begins to pound, your breathing begins to hasten, and your skin becomes riddled with goose bumps and for some reason there is always a chilly feeling that comes over you. There are people in this world who can incite these feelings merely with words. We know this group of individuals as writers! Award-winning horror novelist, Paul Tremblay creates stories that are equally terrifying and thought-provoking.
As a person who loves a good horror read, Paul started writing in the late 90s as just a hobby. His stories were dark but contained humorous aspects as well. “The first novels I published in 2009 and 2010 were actually these sort of quirky crime novels set in Boston that featured a narcoleptic private detective.” Later he developed more serious novels like A Head Full of Ghost, a story about an American family going through a tough time when their teenage daughter is diagnosed with a mental illness but the family brings in a reality TV crew to document an attempted exorcism. This novel gained notoriety as Paul’s first full length horror novel and even caught the attention of best-seller and award winning author Stephen King. King wrote on Twitter, “Paul Tremblay’s Head Full of Ghost scared the living hell out of me, and I’m not easy to scare.” Upon reading the tweet Paul said, “I’m not ashamed to admit, I got emotional. I became a reader, never mind a writer, partly because (a big part) of Stephen King’s work”. Paul and his wife share a love for the author and it was actually his wife who got him into reading Stephen King. “For my 22nd birthday she bought me a copy of The Stand and I thought ‘Oh my gosh this is amazing’ and spent the next two years reading all of King’s books.”
Paul’s most recent novel, The Cabin at The End of The World, has easily become a favorite amongst the horror community. What started as a doodle in a notebook unfolded into another hit for the famed author because of its modern adaptation to, as Paul would put it, “Sins of horrors past”. He noted, “The story began in the summer of 2016 and I definitely wanted to have a thematic subtext or to reflect our sociopolitical anxieties.” The story follows a young family, Eric, Andrew and their adopted daughter, Wen, on what seemed to be a typical family vacation that goes completely awry when their cabin is invaded by a cultish group of four people who are driven by a shared vision: that the world will end unless this family makes a terrible decision. “The cabin I doodled in my notebook made me think of the home invasion subgenre; that’s my least favorite sub-genre of horror. I tend to like the quieter, psychological and supernatural kind of stories. For me the home invasion stories in the movies can rely a little too much on the violence and cross the border of sadism. So, I wondered how could I write a home invasion story that I would want to sit through and that was my starting point.” Throughout the story, as the reader you are kept on the edge of your seat with many emotions running through your head. Paul’s use of real life disasters tie in several communities as plot points including the Santa Clarita Valley.
When he’s not creating psychological horror novels he is simply a dad, husband, and high school math teacher but still holds true to his craft. “I’m proud to be playing what I think is a small part in what some are calling the Golden Age of Horror and I think there’s a lot of interesting, diverse, literate work being done, hopefully to combat the attitude of “Horror can’t be taken as serious literature.”
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