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Wednesday 1 October 2014

CREATING THE CRITS - a guest post by Emma Silver

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming fellow Crooked Cat author Emma Silver to my blog.  Her latest novel, Blackbrooke III: King of Queens (the third book in her Blackbrooke trilogy) will be released on 14th October 2014.

Welcome, Emma!  Over to you...

Creating the Crits

I always wanted to write something that would scare my readers. We live in an age where very little frightens people. With the emergence of realistic video games and awesome special effects in movies, we’ve become somewhat desensitised. 

Yes, everyone’s fast to blame the hyperrealism of the media. However, I believe we’re not scared because everything has been…well, done. 

We’ve seen and read it all: ghosts, vampires, werewolves, witches etc. Is there anything left? 

Blackbrooke started out as another tale of folklore. The town was inhabited by all of the above and I wrote the whole book that way. It was only when I sent it to a prominent literary agent that it evolved into what we have now. 

Although she politely turned down the thrilling opportunity to represent me, she gave me the best constructive criticism of my life. Apparently, vampires et al equals a yawn fest in young adult horror. 

I didn’t want to go back to the drawing board, but she was right. Instead I had a good long think about my fears. 

As I child, did I believe witches hid under my bed? Were werewolves lurking at the bottom of the stairs when I turned the light off behind me? 

Of course not. So, what did scare me? 

When I woke up in the middle of the night and screamed for my parents to come, I always rambled about the same thing: 


Different for every child, but every bit as scary. 

With this in mind, I created my own monsters for Blackbrooke and they became an amalgamation of everything I hated: 

Sharp teeth. Check.
Long necks. Check.
Red eyes. Check.
Hunched shoulders. Check. 

I made my own fears come to life and the reaction from the readers has been incredible. Some told me they felt genuine fear going to bed after reading the books, with others even having nightmares.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not proud of terrifying my good reader folk, but I can’t say I’m not pleased I’ve managed to reawaken the fear of the monsters under the bed. 

I sometimes wonder whether I could have evoked the same reaction if the Crits were still vampires. 

I very much doubt it. 

Blackbrooke III: King of Queens is released 14th October, courtesy of Crooked Cat Publishing.

You can follow Emma on Twitter @emma_silver or head to her blog

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