Happy Halloween! It's a beautiful fall day. My windows are open and the screen doors are allowing the cool breeze to fill the house. My favorite harvest Yankee Candle (affiliate link) is permeating every corner of the room with the sweet smell of autumn spices. I love this time of year for many reasons, but the warm colors and nice weather aren’t the only things that draw me in. I also enjoy spooky tales, stories including ghosts and ghouls.
The South is full of superstition, folklore, and spooks. I think it's because of our Scottish descendants, but it could also be because people move slower here. We spend lots of time sitting around the table or on our dusty front porches. We're natural-born storytellers. We believe in community and keeping traditions alive.
A few years ago, I started writing my first Southern Gothic novel. It didn't take much researching to find a plathora of material to work with. Tales of the peculiar and strange lurked on nearly every page, but not everyone is familiar with the genre.
Southern Gothic literature focuses on grotesque themes, often featuring broken, damaged, and delusional characters with possible supernatural elements. My novella, The Buccaneer Belle, also falls into the category. It's a rich genre that has long captured audiences. Authors like Flannery O'Conner, Carson McCullers, Tennessee Williams, and William Faulkner embraced their heritage and wrote about what they knew best--the mysterious misty madness that staunch tradition, religion, and secrecy creates.
Modern entertainment loves it, too. Poplular television shows like True Blood, the Originals, Rectify, and even Dark Objects (which feels just as southern--filmed in Georgia--as midwestern) use Southern Gothic elements to create rich, mysterious settings.
These are just a few of my favorite Southern Gothic novels:
I could add many more, and maybe I will another day. But these should give you a good idea of the vast genre and its ability to tell a story like no other.
About a month ago, totally inspired by the season, I started posting a few Southern Gothic photographs. Several people have mentioned to me how much they liked them, and it was fun to step into a different side of myself creatively. Below, you'll see a slideshow of the photographs. There are many different types of storytelling, and photos are just another way for me to tell stories.
What's your favorite Southern Gothic novel/movie/television show?