I believe in monsters. Real monsters. They live among us. We read about them in the news. They are difficult to contemplate because they are human, and we shudder to think that our race, much less our co-workers or neighbors, can sink to such depths of depravity.
That's why I write about creatures. I take a human, one with psychopathic tendencies, and then make him supernatural. Probably not all paranormal or horror writers do this, but it seems a natural progression for me to start with the human characteristics and then twist them.
In the first book of my paranormal series, Song of the Ancients, the creature is witch-gone-to-the-dark Nuin Ash. He's trying to open a portal in a Sedona vortex sealed for centuries, release his demon Lord from the Underworld, and loan the demon his human form.
How does Nuin make himself strong enough to withstand demonic possession? By stealing power from other witches. Since a witch's power resides in the blood, he is killing the most powerful witches he can find and eating their flesh.
There's a name for a monster like Nuin: Wendigo.
Legends of this creature date back centuries, and are almost always associated with the act of cannibalism. In fact, one persistent tale details the Wendigo's origin as a human who was forced to resort to consuming his fellow travelers in an unfortunate Donner Party-esque situation in order to survive a particularly brutal winter.
Nuin's plan, however, is intentional. And once he delves into such dark magic, it consumes him. The man becomes the monster, in mind and corporeal form, driven to hunt without remorse. The classic definition of a psychopath driven to the extreme.
I think the most memorable killers in fiction are sociopaths, able to mask the monster within, at least initially.
My 'good guy', Nicholas Orenda, is hunting Nuin because the monster is killing off his family. But embedded in both of these characters is the theme of becoming the thing you most fear. The Wendigo was once a hunter, a human warrior who gave into his own selfish temptations for power and became the monster he once hunted. For Nicholas, the hunt itself has released his own darkness. He wants revenge and personal vengeance more than anything else. Left unchecked, his obsession could turn him into the kind of person he most despises.
Here's a book excerpt where Nicholas gets his first clue that Nuin has abandoned his humanity:
Why would someone sneak into a cemetery and bury a body? He could think of a number of mundane reasons, but why would a witch do so? Unless he defiled the body and didn't want anyone to know. His hole grew deeper and his unease increased.
Only three feet down his shovel hit something firmer than the soft soil, connecting with a muffled thud. Digging carefully down one side, he cleared a space to stand beside the box. He removed the crowbar from his sack and pried the coffin nails from one side, muttering softly, "Coffin nail, familiars of maggots and unsavory creatures of the kind. Do my bidding, my evil works, when I so command." Blowing on the nails, he pocketed them and opened the lid.
He held his breath and shone the flashlight on the body, a young woman, barely past her teens. Her hands had been folded on her chest. He ran the flashlight further down, illuminating several places on her right arm where jagged chunks of flesh were missing.
Burning bile rose in his throat, making him gag and cough. "Something chewed on this girl. Oh, Goddess, tell me she died first."
Yes, there's a demon in the story. But I think Nuin is the scarier creature of the two. He's a handsome, flirtatious, functioning human going through the mundane motions of everyday life.
Until he's not.
Sandy Wright moved to Arizona 17 years ago and fell in love with the southwest desert, including its Native American influences. After a trip to Sedona, the germ of a novel was born.
“I love to take ordinary characters and put them in extraordinary situations that change their view of the world.”
Her first novel, Song of the Ancients, introduces witchcraft and shamanism seen through the eyes of an ordinary woman. Readers interested in witchcraft—or just a dark, eerie tale—will enjoy this paranormal suspense, written by a real-life Wiccan High Priestess.