Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Enduring Power of Gothic Horror: A Visit with Catherine Cavendish-What Waits in the Shadows

The Enduring Power of Gothic Horror

Last year, Samhain Publishing ran an anthology competition. Their Executive Editor for the horror line – Don D’Auria – was looking for stories that had the power to chill and scare. Stories “must be gothic in feel and tone...must have that shadowy, oppressive, claustrophobic atmosphere.”

The anthology would be called What Waits In The Shadows and there would be four winning contributing novellas.

Flash forward to May 6th 2014 – and the four winning novellas came out in ebook format as individual stories. Flash forward again to October 7th 2014 and they’re all united in What Waits In The Shadows – in paperback.

But what makes the Gothic horror tradition so enduringly popular? Here is what the authors think:

Catherine Cavendish (author of Linden Manor): “We love to be scared, don’t we? But in a safe way. There’s just something about a creepy old house. The creaks, and shadowy corners; the atmosphere that hangs heavy with the remembered presences of long dead inhabitants, the feeling of being watched…of something waiting. When that is translated to the printed word, it becomes irresistible. We can relate it to it more than some other – sometimes more graphic – forms of horror, because most of us have felt something, on some occasion, when we’ve visited a strange and spooky house. And Gothic gives great ghosts. They never go out of fashion!”

JG Faherty (author of Castle By The Sea): "I think the appeal of gothic horror stems partly from the setting - dark, stormy nights, wave-swept castles, haunted mansions - and partly from the fact that it's ingrained in our very being. Gothic stories may very well be the oldest sub-genre we have. They certainly existed, in both romance and horror, well before the term was coined. And that may very well be because dark stormy nights and frightening places have been with us for as long as we've had civilization. There is something about that type of setting that creates a chill in us, a desire to turn on the lights (or light a fire!) and gather together to ward off the unknown things lurking just beyond our sight."

Russell James (author of Blood Red Roses):  “My favorite elements of Gothic horror are dark settings, twisted families, and supernatural evil. In Blood Red Roses I put all three into the mix and set it during the American Civil War, when Edgar Allen Poe was adding his works to the genre. In the novella, I follow a boy as he is indentured to a plantation with a reputation for cruelty, a reputation he finds out isn’t even half as terrifying as the place really is. Spells are cast, the dead threaten to rise, and the disfigured overseer may be a serial killer. Dark indeed.”
Devin Govaere (author of Bootleg Cove): Gothic fiction provides readers with a melting pot of genres. Horror, mystery, romance, drama, and even a touch of comedy can be found in Gothic literature, which sometimes offers many moods in one story. Gothic fiction also brings darkness and anxiety to objects and places that ordinarily stand in the light. A restaurant perched on a beach brings thoughts of sunshine, laughter, and good times. A pretty young woman walking that beach would be smiling and happy. But in Bootleg Cove, the restaurant is abandoned, the beach is secluded, and the emotions that flow through Willie Douglas are dark and fearful, creating a disconcerting, isolated world where the reader never truly knows what to expect.
Gothic fiction lures readers beyond the comfort of their own world into one where they shiver in the warmth of a sunny day and give each shadow a wide berth, and then they move on to the next story to shiver again.

Four original novellas of Gothic horror!

Enter if you dare four worlds of chilling Gothic horror. Feel the oppressive heat on a plantation in the Old South, where the spirits of the dead do not rest easy. Smell the salt air in a dilapidated coastal restaurant on the Chesapeake Bay, a restaurant with a very deadly past. Explore a British manor house, but remember, what you find may have been looking for you. Hear the pounding surf beyond the stone walls of a looming castle that shouldn’t even exist. But regardless of the setting, no matter what you may think you hear or see, the truly terrifying thing is...
…What Waits In The Shadows

About the Authors

Catherine Cavendish lives with a longsuffering husband in North Wales, in a building dating back to the mid 18th century, haunted by a friendly ghost. She announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV. When not slaving over a hot computer, Cat enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses. You can connect with her here: Website  Facebook Twitter Goodreads

JG Faherty is the Bram Stoker Award®- and Thriller Award-nominated author of four novels, seven novellas, and more than 50 short stories. He writes adult and YA horror/sci-fi/fantasy, and his works range from quiet, dark suspense to over-the-top comic gruesomeness. You can follow him at  Twitter   Facebook   About Me  Website

Russell James grew up on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching Chiller, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and The Twilight Zone, despite his parents' warnings. Bookshelves full of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe didn't make things better. He graduated from Cornell University and the University of Central Florida.
After a tour flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales best read in daylight. He has written the paranormal thrillers Dark Inspiration, Sacrifice, Black Magic, Dark Vengeance, and Dreamwalker. He has two horror short story collections, Tales from Beyond and Deeper into Darkness. His next novel, Q Island, releases in 2015.

His wife reads what he writes, rolls her eyes, and says "There is something seriously wrong with you."

Visit his Website and read some free short stories. Follow on  Twitter, or drop a line complaining about his writing to
Devin Govaere is a freelance editor and writer. She has published over a dozen novels and five novellas, writing under her own name as well as several pseudonyms. She lives in Dayton, Ohio, and can be contacted at
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You can buy What Waits In The Shadows here:

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