Most of us have our personal ‘worst thing in the world’ – a deeply rooted, not necessarily rational fear that trumps all others. Especially when we’re alone, in the wolfen hours of the night, the mind veers toward its personal abyss, peeking over the edge with dread and fascination.
What is your ‘worst thing in the world’? Is it something cinematic – sharks circling your surfboard, exotic Ebola-type illnesses, failing brakes on a twisty mountain road? Maybe earthquakes or terrorist attacks or a gang of Somali pirates?
Or is it something much more mundane – like the faces across from you every morning at the breakfast table?
When I looked at the stories I had chosen for this collection, one thing was clear – in the world of my imagination, it’s DNA that does us in. Family will get you, be it blood kin or the madhouse that we marry into.
It’s these folks, the deranged and delusional members of Families Gone Mad, that I feel compelled to write about – loved ones who are anything but loving, families more like a small, private insane asylum than the nurturing safe haven a family is supposed to be. These people are my ‘worst thing in the world.’
Not every story in this book is about dysfunctional families. There’s one about a sex guru who may or may not be a vampire, another is about a Scotswoman in an insane asylum who finds redemption through her efforts to free a spectral cat, another is a feel-good story about three women friends playing a game about what qualities they hope their next man will have – okay, so not everybody would call “A Hairy Chest, A Big Dick and a Harley” a feel-good story, but I still get a warm tingle when I read the ending.
The last story in the book is about a little girl who lives under glass and when you read it, you may remember the mother in South Carolina and her two little boys and the tragedy that inspired me to write this tale, which originally appeared in Richard Laymon’s anthology BAD NEWS.
It’s the kind of story I wish I could have read when I was a child, but since that didn’t happen, I had to grow up and write it for myself.