Of late I have come to realise that I don’t allow myself the pleasure of reading enough. There’s always an internal pressure to “do” something. This isn’t particularly healthy or beneficial to staying creative. So over the past month or two I’ve made more of any effort to stop and read. As a result some of my reading has had me drifting off into other lanes where I find myself planning new projects but the more I read the more I find myself able to think about what children enjoy reading.
One of my concerns about Badtime has always been how children will react to it. The stories aren’t gruesome but there are things like spiders and toenails and clowns in them. So I’m aware that the stories must be pitched just right.
However, fear is such a personal thing. A friend reminded me of dissections in school. She explained (a little scarily, actually) how much she loved cutting into eyeballs and how normal it felt to do this when she was young. There was no fear, at most it felt a bit icky and gross. I think this is a good yardstick for Badtime.
I haven’t gone out of my way to terrify and I’m not a fan of the story of stories which throw adverbs at a scene in order to make it more horrific (‘the creature swung its limbs grotesquely…’). No thanks. I like unsettling stories, ones which toy with the imagination and let the reader store their own fears in the setting. Of the stories I’ve shared here, I think the ‘Father’s Turn To Read’ illustrates this approach. The reader will quickly find themselves wondering where Father is and what is in the urn. I (hopefully) leave enough the imagination to disturb after the dust (or ash) has settled.
Before I cover myself in cobwebs again, I’d like to offer an open invite to Manchester’s Gothic Festival. Carl and I will be there to talk about Badtime Stories but there are lots of other talks going on throughout the day. More details at https://www2.mmu.ac.uk/artshumanities/rah/gothic-manchester-festival/detail/index.php?id=6633
And finally - thank you again. Many of you have been sending emails and shouting loud on social media to help raise awareness for the book. Each time that % climbs, my heart leaps and the children scream.
You can help make this book happen. Please share it, and encourage your followers to share it, too.
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