“YA Horror – Loving the Scare Factor,” a Guest Post by Nicky Peacock

Your heart is thumping against your chest like an impatient visitor. You can’t breathe, no matter how much air you seem to drag through your trembling lungs. A creeping tickle tap-dances over your spine as the fight or flight response takes hold of your thoughts. In front of you is un-imaginable horror. It dragged itself out of your secret nightmares and now reaches out toward you – it wants you. It needs you. Without your fear, it’s nothing…

Just about everyone has a fascination with horror – not because we like blood and gore (although I’m sure some do!) but more because we like being scared. We enjoy the safe romp between the blood soaked pages of a good horror novel, to go on adventures in dangerous worlds with supernatural characters, to face down evil and see good triumph.

This isn’t a new phenomenon; cavemen drew paintings depicting violent red splattered hunts; you can just imagine them huddled about the fire telling stories of daring escapes from the jaws of ravenous beasties, or the pursuit of their tribe’s enemies; I doubt very much that they would have sat around talking about one crazy summer when they learnt how to love and had an embarrassing swimwear incident! No, whether it’s a penny dreadful, campfire ghost story or family legend the scare factor is there; it’s the syrupy scarlet goo that binds a great story together, and that people, young and old, just can’t get enough of.

How do I know all this? Well I write horror, both adult and YA and I’ve always had a fascination with it myself. The first horror novel I read was Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. I was 8 years old and found it in my school library. I curled in the corner and started to read. It felt wrong. It felt like I was being naughty, finding something out that was reserved purely for adults. My school would have frowned on my reading material – even though Dracula is now on the British curriculum. From that day on I was hooked and my family gave me full support to dive head first into the dark side – swimming gear optional.

Now, as much as I like being scared, I prefer scaring other people more – hey, it’s actually in my job description! So two years ago on Halloween, I did some research into fear. I became an actor in a pop-up Halloween attraction. I spent night after night scaring adults and children alike and although hard work, it gave me some of the best memories and skills I BadBloodhave today. I’d watch as people would gladly pay their money, grab the ticket in their sweaty hands and then run like hell from me and all the other dressed-up deviants playing ‘who can make them scream the loudest’. Children would burrow into the crooks of their parents’ arms. Girlfriends, and boyfriends, would grip onto each other like limpets on rocks and all would scream and recoil at my gruesome presence.  People like being scared – And a select few of us like to oblige.

YA horror has grown in strength through the years and offers young readers safe passage through their fears. My vampires VS zombies YA horror, Bad Blood gives you, the reader, a protector for the time you spend in the undead ridden London streets, Britannia, a centuries old vampire, tells the story and takes you by the hand as you lurch from one disaster to another with her. She will keep you safe from the foul-smelling zombie hordes reaching out to taste your tender flesh. She only asks for your blood in return – I mean, is that so bad?

About Nicky Peacok:

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Nicky PeacockNicky is an English author living in the UK. She writes both YA and adult horror and paranormal Romance. In her spare time she runs a local writers’ group and can be found online through the links. She is the author of the young adult vampires VS zombies horror, Bad Blood. Set in England, this fast paced story sees Britannia, a 4 hundred year old vampire having to work side by side with her sworn enemy and maker in an attempt to keep human survivors safe from a sudden zombie uprising. She has always been a revenge-fueled, human drinking, patriotic vampire on a mission, but now, fighting alongside humans, she starts to gain things she never thought she could: friends, love, family and something to fight for. Bad Blood was released 8th May through Noble Romance Publishing’s YA imprint, Noble & Young as an eBook and paperback.

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