Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Introducing Kate John. (My horror writer alter-ego)

Taking my cue from all the great super-heroes, I am taking on an alter-ego and a dual persona come October 2016.

For those that have followed my blog over the years, you know that I have always been attracted to the dark side, and that horror is one of my most favourite genres. Every October for the last 4 years, I have taken part in Halloween celebration blog-fests, being an honorary member of my Horror Homie Crew. 

Finally, I have almost finished my first Adult Horror book, 'The Crow Man' - a project I have been working on for the last 3 years. It's a really exciting development in my author journey and I am so pleased to finally say that, 'The Crow Man' will be released later this year on October 1st 2016.

It's a dark exploration of the psychiatric practices of the 1950s and the idea of Monarch Programming, an almost mythical conspiracy theory that perpetuates the idea that the American government undertook a series of psychological experimentations in the 1950s designed to reprogram the human mind. The process worked on the idea that once a human mind had been broken apart, it could be remade in a specific way to another's advantage. This notion permeated into wider psychological practices, ensuring unending horror to the poor individuals who were aimed to be cured by its application.

Due to The Crow Man containing scenes of sexual, violent and graphic nature, it is not suitable for mainstream YA readership, and so I wanted to make it clear that this is a very different kind of writing with very different boundaries. As such, I am publishing The Crow Man (and hopefully future Horror titles) under the name KATE JOHN, rather than my main author name KATIE M. JOHN. 

I haven't gone wildly different on the pen name for several reasons. 1) A lot of my readers are actually adult readers who enjoy YA 2) My YA books are mostly for an Upper YA audience, and my readership demographic sways massively to the over 15 year olds. 3) The application of a wildly different pen-name throws up so many more issues on social media than it cures, and TBH, these days, there is no such thing as anonymity. 

For quite a long time, I toyed with the idea of publishing my horror under the name JOHN KAY. Which was a play on my name. It was a seductive idea because, (wrong as it is) male authors of horror have a much greater rate of sales success, and appear to have traditionally been favoured by readers. It was also somehow freeing, which is a strange notion and really highlighted, that despite my feminist protestations, I was myself conditioned by a society that had taught me to believe that women were subjected to more taboo subjects in their creative expression then men. 

It was a conflicting issue, I wanted the freedom to write, I wanted to be taken 'seriously' in the horror genre, but I am passionately committed to ideas of equality, diversity, authenticity and the celebration of women in the publishing world. 

So the answer was obvious. I would write it under my own name, and I would be proud to be a woman writing horror. I would be part of the positive change towards making horror less male-centric. I would also write horror that truly explored the role of women in horror. In many ways, The Crow Man is a feminist text, exploring the way society constructs notions of the perfect woman, and what happens to her when she fails to reach those levels of perfection. 

The Crow Man, set in the 1950's, tells the story of Grace, the wife of a cold and egotistical GP. One misty afternoon, Grace sees the haunting figure of a living scarecrow standing at the bottom of their garden, watching the house that is home to their twin boys. 
As Grace's mind begins to unravel, and the grief of her stillborn daughter starts to overwhelm her, the enigmatic, handsome and revolutionary psychiatric doctor, Dr. Daniel Rose, offers Grace an escape with the new wonder drug, LSD. It is then that Grace's real nightmare begins to unfold. 
In this modern day Frankenstein, the dark and terrifying psychiatric practices of the 1950's are conducted by a madman, and Grace is left the only sane individual in the asylum. 

Warning: Some readers may find subjects and themes to be trigger topics. 

Available October 1st 2016

You can stay in touch with me as Kate John over on my new Facebook Page. It would be lovely to see you there. 

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