I thought I'd have some guest pieces to celebrate the release of Trying To Be So Quiet, and I wanted to feature some writers that I've not had on the blog before. The theme came to me when Claire, who works for Boo Books, was interviewing me about TTBSQ and said she thought it was a love story as much as a ghost story. So a plan was born: I'd ask some horror writers who I especially admire to write a piece about their favourite love story. It could be a novel, poem, song; it could be happy, sad or despairing. Today's piece is by...
Holly Ice. The first thing I read by Holly was the story 'Trysting Antlers' in the NewCon Press anthology La Femme. It was one of my favourites in there, and I was surprised to learn it was one of the author's first publications. She's followed it up with further short stories and the novella The Russian Sleep Experiment.
Take it away, Holly:
What’s in a Love Story?
It’s impossible for me to choose one love story which has stayed with me to shape my writing and my personality. There are simply too many. My parents have been together for over 25 years and rarely argue, and I grew up with an abundance of Mills and Boon books to pilfer and read in the dark. Now, ebooks offer the chance to sneak a romance book onto trains without judging stares and the awkward conversation about what the book is about.
Love is a great starting point for any story from chick lit to the darkest of horror. It is one of the strongest emotions a human being can feel and it branches from the strongest positivity to the sickest depths of despair, hurt, bitterness, and anger. It’s one of the great building blocks of the world: love, sex and death.
In terms of fiction, the most memorable stories to me are the ‘Merry Gentry’ and ‘Anita Blake’ series by Laurell K Hamilton, and the book ‘Lavender Blue’ by Lorna Read. These sets of books came before my eyes when I was still in secondary school, and I loved both for different reasons. In Read’s, we see the nostalgia of yester-year, and witness a cross-class relationship pay off despite the odds. He’s even a musician to boot! With Hamilton’s series, we see love being worked at day to day and lovers respecting each other beyond all else (at least they are when her characters aren’t up shit creek). As much as I love a great romance, the dark side in me delights in the grey, and Hamilton’s series have this in spades.
If pushed, romance is what I’d talk about if asked about love. I love reading stories where one partner fights for the other and the couple comes out on top, happier than before. I enjoy reading about their struggles, only to have their struggles pay off. The idealist in me enjoys the comfort of a happy ending.
But if you know me well, I’d tell you I hate endings involving weddings dresses and the cries of children. I’d much rather see love, warts and all, than the cherubic front often paraded before the public, and I’m inclined to think one size does not fit all.