An author whose novels are not for the faint-of-heart or the squeamish, writer Jack Ketchum has been described by Stephen King as “the scariest man in America.” There’s no doubt in my mind that there is something to King’s view of Ketchum’s work. I have read many of his novels (The Girl Next Door, Off Season, Off Spring, Red, and many others) and the images that he paints with words stick with you long after you’ve finished the book and moved on to other, less disturbing, fare.
And yet, his writing style makes you return for another graphic and horror-filled tale from this master of his craft.
From 1981 to 2017, Ketchum authored 27 works that range from short fiction to novels. His unique voice and his ability to ignore critical views of his work – the Village Voice has referred to his writing as ‘violent pornography’ – have made him an iconic voice in horror fiction.
Sadly, Ketchum passed away in 2018, but his works live on through print and film and TV adaptations.
A reading staple of most middle-schoolers and young adults, R.L. Stine is the prolific master of teen-friendly horror. His works and writing style have helped many of us – me included – graduate from his lower-stakes horror fare to the more graphic and violent works of Stephen King and Jack Ketchum. Even if you’ve never read one his novels, you are more than likely familiar with the Goosebumps series of books that sport very effective and compelling covers.
Stine wrote his first teen-themed horror novel, Blind Date, in 1986, which became a best-seller. In 1989, Stine began the Fear Street series, which boats over 100 books under its banner. In 1992, Stine began the Goosebumps series of books, a series that currently has over 130 books! His other novel series include, The Nightmare Room, Mostly Ghostly, Rotten School, The Haunting Hour and The Nightmare Hour.
His novels have been adapted into TV series, films, and comic books. Needless to say, he is an author with one of the most extensive bodies of work I’ve talked about in this series!
Below are some interviews with Stine where he talks about his works and his creative process.