MFT Guest: Katie Alender and “The Terrifyingly High Price of Writing Horror” + a Giveaway!

Today Katie Alender is on for My Favorite Things.  She’s provided us with this delightful post (which I can SO relate to!) and I’ll be giving away both of her books!  Make sure you read to the end for all the info. 

“The Terrifyingly High Price of Writing Horror”
I didn’t know my first book was scary. You see, I don’t like scary movies. I never read Stephen King books. I got as far as the poem at the beginning of “The Tommyknockers” and had to stop because I was too scared. So it never, ever occurred to me to write a scary book.
My agent (before he became my agent) read it and said, “Wow, there were a couple of really creepy parts!” And then my editor complained that it kept her up all night. Since then, when I meet people who have read “Bad Girls Don’t Die”, at least half of them comment on the spookiness first thing.
I’m often asked what other scary stuff I enjoy, since I’m obviously such a horror buff. And then, when I admit that I have no tolerance for anything even remotely eerie, I get laughed at. True, one my favorite movies is “The Others”… but that’s as much as I can take. I tried to watch “Poltergeist” the other day and had to turn it off after the first shot.
What’s more, when it came time to write my second and third books, because I don’t like scary stuff, I was at a bit of a loss. I knew my agent, editor, and readers were expecting me to bring more of the spooky stuff from the first book. I just didn’t know how on earth to make that happen!
So what I did was, I started looking for ways that things could be scary. I would think, “What would be the scariest thing that could happen right now?” And the answers would be things like—I could turn and look at the window and there could be an old woman standing there, staring at me (which actually happened to one of my friends, by the way… I would have literally died of fright). Or I could look up and see a strange spectral creature tucked in the corner of my room. Or I could be lying in bed and hear a window break somewhere in the house. And then I would use these scary moments to play up the scariness factor in my books.
But there’s just one little problem—in coming up with all of these ways to scare my readers, I ended up turning myself into even more of a scaredy-cat. For instance, in From Bad to Cursed, there’s a scene that takes place in the deepest, darkest night—so dark you can hardly see your hand in front of your face. Now, to be honest, I wasn’t really positive nights could get that dark. But I figured a little exaggeration in the name of creative expression would be okay.
Cut to: a few days later, I’m outside at night with my dog. We reach the end of the street, where there are no street lamps. And suddenly, I’m thinking: OMG IT IS TOTALLY THAT DARK. And naturally, I assumed something scary was going to pop out of the bushes and eat me.
So, yeah… if my books scare you, I’m sort of sorry and sort of not sorry. Because they scare me a little, too!
Thanks so much for having me as a guest!
Thanks so much Katie!  I have to say I’m afraid of horror too.  I don’t watch scary movies and I don’t read Stephen King (I tried, it freaked me out too much!) but I’ve discovered I can do horror in young adult books. It depends on the story of course, but some books that people say have freaked them out haven’t really affected me at all.  So when it comes to YA I’m willing to try it out!

Bad Girls Don’t Die Description:

Bad Girls Don't DieWhen Alexis’s little sister Kasey becomes obsessed with an antique doll, Alexis thinks nothing of it. Kasey is a weird kid. Period. Alexis is considered weird, too, by the kids in her high school, by her parents, even by her own Goth friends. Things get weirder, though, when the old house they live in starts changing. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in. Kasey is changing, too. Her blue eyes go green and she speaks in old-fashioned language, then forgets chunks of time.
Most disturbing of all is the dangerous new chip on Kasey’s shoulder. The formerly gentle, doll-loving child is gone, and the new Kasey is angry. Alexis is the only one who can stop her sister — but what if that green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore?

The Giveaway:
I have a copy of Bad Girls Don’t Die and an ARC of From Bad to Cursed to giveaway.  
Must be 13 or older
Open to US/Canada only
Ends July 5th, 2011

To Enter:
What scares you?  Are you a fan of the scary or are you a little wary?  Tell us your thoughts!  Remember to leave contact info.

For the schedule and list of Giveaways for The Favorite Things event check out the schedule post.  And make sure you head over to My Bookish Ways to see what she has going on today as well!
Thanks for subscribing!


  1. I love horror novels! The scarier the better for me. Usually, they don’t really scare me, but if they do, it’s awesome. What really scares me are more practical things like falling to my death or being attacked or going blind, not supernatural things.

    I would love to read this series. I had heard of it a while ago, but it kind of fell off my radar. I’m definitely adding this to my reading list!


  2. I welcome nightmares, which although sounds a little off, I can promise you is because of a good reason. Nightmares and things that go bump in the night, things that are showcased in horror novels, allow me to open my mind and remember that there are always things bigger and badder than human beings. I really enjoyed Bad Girls Don’t Die (and unfortunately, I don’t own it because I read my friend’s copy) because it was really, really fun to see the characters realize horror isn’t in just movies.

    Wonderful post. I want to get my hands on both books and have them on my bookshelf. Bad Girls Don’t Die has stayed with me since I read it last year. Thanks for the chance to win!

    shyluck13 AT hotmail DOT com

  3. Many things scare me. Death, being alone, sometimes confrontation.
    And yes, I’m a fan of horror even though it always creeps me out.

    Thanks for the chance!


  4. Horror movies scare me. The one that scares me the most is Halloween (the original, not the remakes). I saw it for the first time when I was maybe five and it has scared me ever since. Just the thought of Michael Myers will give me nightmares. But that doesn’t stop me from loving it!

    Thanks for this awesome giveaway, I would love to read these :)


  5. Ahhh I love Katie Alender and her books! I finished From Bad to Cursed the other day and I loved it. I can’t get enough. Now I understand why I love her books so much: she doesn’t like being scared either! I don’t do horror but I can read Katie’s books because they’re not so much horrific as they are subtly creepy and spooky. These are scary books for the non-scary!

    Anyway, don’t enter me in the giveaway, because I have these. I just wanted to buzz in. :)

  6. I can’t really think of things that scare me right off the bat… probably because I don’t like to think about scary things. I do like horror movies and books, but I don’t like horror movies that involve ghosts (I will read them in books though). I don’t know why… My favorite scary movies have been Orphan and Insidious (those weren’t really ghosts…)

  7. I seldom read out right horror – but I do love a little chill and some suspense. These books sound really really good to me and I thank you for the giveaway opportunity.


  8. I am scared of the littlest things, such as when you tap me on the shoulder and I am not aware of you. And insects and anything like that scares me. I am a big scaredy cat! :(

    Thanks for the giveaway!!


  9. Oooo, these sound creepy. Can’t wait to check them out!

    I LOVE scary stuff but only if it’s not psychologically scary because I can never get that out of my head. And I’m still haunted by the concrete angel episode of Doctor Who.

    whatinabox at gmail dot com

  10. I am a horror movie nut. But it is more of the older stuff, a lot of the newer stuff is just gore which isn’t all that scary. Nonetheless, I like to get freaked out, like jumping out of my seat (done too much, it can get annoying), but still. Real life stuff? Roaches *shivers* Also second Bookish in a Box, the concrete angels from the Doctor Who episode “Blink” do scare me. It is still one of my favorite episodes. So clever. Great giveaway and post, it was a fun read. Thank you :)

    drharleyquinn87 (at) gmail (dot) com

  11. I’m a horror junkie! I can’t wait for summer to be over so we can all start getting ready for Halloween again! I love the haunted houses, and scary costumes, how it gets darker earlier, and the general feeling in the air. If I could move to that fictional Halloweentown, I would!

    The truth is, though, everything scares me! I’m such a pansy about scary stories, scary movies, and scary books. The worst for me is ghosts! I can’t watch a scary movie about ghosts (or anything) alone!

    PrettyDeadlyReviews AT yahoo DOT com

  12. I hate horror movies (I couldn’t be alone with the TV for a week after the Ring) but I love to read them under the covers in my warm bed. I love to go walking in graveyards during the day because it’s creepy but not as scary as it is at night.

    I loved the book, thanks for the giveaway

    faefever25 at hotmail dot com

  13. I love a good scare in books and movies, Although I don;t do scary based on a true story that just makes it too real for me then I can’t sleep for days. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!

  14. A lot scares me! I can’t even watch horror movies anymore. I am better at reading though, cause I can create my own horrible images to keep me up at night.

    aliciacald at gmail dot com

  15. Not all that much scares me, my cousins and dad scared everything related to fear out of me at a young age…I love horror movies and novels and avidly seek them out. I love it when a book surprises me or when there’s a twist in the end. I loved the interview too! The author sounds really spooky and cool :) I would love to review this novel! GFC Krystal Larson

  16. Oh geeze…I am kind of a big scardy cat. I am scared of the dark. And ghosts. And weird sounds in the dark. These books would probably scare the pants off of me…but I’m sure my students would like them.

    arallison at gmail dot com

  17. I’m a horror addict! But the things that do frighten me would be more along the gruesome mutilation lines….The Dexter series is a perfect example.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  18. Um load noises lol not usually scared but things that could potentially happen I find scary. Monsters and such don’t do it but serial killers and the like well they exist so yeah that can assuming it’s written well.


  19. I’m scared of the dark. Yes, I’m a grown woman who is scared of the dark. But only when I’ve seen or read something scary and wake up in the middle of the night. But, that’s what I have dogs in the bed for. They’ll get the scary monsters. If I can wake them up. :o)


  20. Spiders scare the bejesus out of me! I love to be scared when I read, but in real life, not so much! Thanks for a great scary giveaway:)

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  21. I absolutely love horror movies but there are two things that kind of freak me out:

    1. Anything involving demonic possession (I’m still freaked out by The Exorcist!)

    2. Horror movies with creepy little kids…it’s where I draw the line (The Ring and The Shining…super creepy!)

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  22. What scares me? Being chased. I swear if someone even acts like they are going to chase me, I won’t run. I’ll fight to the death! LOL

    Miss Lauren

  23. What scares me is the unknown. I’m a huge fan of horror movies (more scary, haunting than gory, gruesome). What’s funny is when the scary part starts *cue music* I’m already covering my eyes! Got to love scary movies and stories.


  24. I’ve always been a horror buff, but I have found that in the last couple of years I don’t like scary movies as much. They don’t scare me really they just make me anxious and I don’t like that…but I still watch them! Books never really scare me. I’ve read a lot of Stephen King so maybe I’m just immune now.

    I think it’s funny that Katie doesn’t like scary things!

  25. Horror freaks me out. Stephen King is awesome and all, but my tolerance level only goes so far. After reading a scary book I don’t go anywhere without someone with me and I’m always looking behind my back, so sure the characters are following me to recreate the book. I hate watching horror movies, especially when my friends make me go and I scream like an idiot all the way through.
    Glad she had the guts to write a scary story even if she was scared too.

    Lindadao2060 at yahoo dot com

  26. I can read horror novels all day long, but turn one of them into a movie and I’m done for. I don’t know what it is. Maybe my brain won’t full realize a scene in my head, but you’re forced to watch it during a movie.

    GFC: Candice
    candicerjames (at) gmail (dot) com

  27. I ADORE the horrifying…I love reading Stephen King even though he terrifies me and leaves me unable to sleep for weeks…

    hense1kk AT cmich DOT edu

  28. I used to be a major scaredy cat, but scary stuff doesn’t bother me much anymore. What gets me way more than ‘scary’ are those tense scenes… You know, creeping through a house when you are pretty sure someone in it is trying to kill you, watching and realizing that the person who just climbed into bed doesn’t realize a bad guy is hiding underneath etc. THAT is what freaks me out!

    basicallyamazingbooks [at] gmail [dot] com

  29. You know, as a child I was fearless. Then I became a big fat scaredy cat. And now, even though I can’t stand horror movies, I’m starting to like a little creepiness in my books. I’m weird. It’s part of my charm 😉

    It was really interesting to read about a scary writer who doesn’t like scary things! That’s pretty funny =)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    thebookishtypereviews AT gmail DOT com

  30. Ghosts scare me. I don’t even believe in ghosts, but the idea of them is just super creepy. Ghost stories always keep me up at night! I loved hearing how the author came up with the scary parts in the sequel. Very interesting!

    Thank you for the giveaway!
    imagesandwords at optonline dot net

  31. ok snakes freak me out but it still appeals to me in a weird way so i went to snakes on a plane… not a good decision for me!

    thanks for the giveaway!


  32. i like scary, it’s ok if its not too much! I hate the nightmares that make you think there’s a murderer in the house. I don’t like horror movies, but books are good!

    starlightgirl678 at aol dot com

  33. What scares me the most is outliving somebody. For example, my twin. I want to die before her because I can’t imagine living without her. What scares me most is the possibility that I might eventually lose the ones I love and be alone.

    wordslikesilverblog at gmail dot com

  34. I love horror movies. Not too many out there are truely scarey though, sadly nowadays just gory. But possession and evil children (Classic = The Omen) really freak me out.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  35. I love scary books and movies and can’t get enough of them. I usually read them at night or watch the movies alone so I do get a little creeped out but I keep reading and watching scary things. I just love them. I think it’s interesting she didn’t know her first book was going to be scary.

  36. I actually don’t usually like scary books and movies. However, as a writer I get intrigued by the quality of the plot/story. But just reading summaries of movies like The Ring and The Grudge creeps me out.


    thewannabeknight at gmail dot com

  37. I get scared pretty easily.. especially with a book or movie that COULD be real or come true cause I put myself in the characters situation and think oh man what if that happened to me? I’d freak. Haha. But at the same time i love the thrill it gives me. I’m thinking the movie the Hills Have Eyes and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.. those scare the bejesus outta me!

  38. I love horror and scary things. Most things like ghosts and such don’t scare me – unless it’s a clown or many clowns (SHUDDERS)

    tommygirl828 (at) gmail (dot) com

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