Fuelled by anger

I am not a fan of the torture porn horror subgenre. Which of course makes a bit odd that I would write a book like ‘Finale‘. I mean, honestly, I can’t stomach the sight of blood. I fainted once at the vet. The dog had a tiny scratch and down I went.

But I was gettig tired. I was feeling misunderstood. I had for years, and I had this anger boiling inside me. A rage against a litterary snobbish culture that had me caged not as a low cultural horror writer and would read everything I wrote, no matter the subject or genre (and I did all sorts of things) as some sort of gory pulp.

After all, my debut ‘Kat’ was a horror novel, and nobody did horror in Denmark at the time because it was considered too controversial or at least too low class. They really had no idea what the genre was all about, and I felt I was deliberately misunderstood. My books, even the bloodiest ones, wasn’t really, I felt, that revolting, not compared the majority of the genre out there.

At the time, around 2010, I had just finished my longest story, the ‘Plantagen’ trilogy. Normally, I prefer shorter books, both as a reader and as a writer. And I had spend years on the trilogy and longed to return to my favorite short style, Ira Levin’ish I hope. The last few years had also been particulary hard for me as libraries was being closed around the country and book sales dropped and I wasn’t making enough money to feed my family. It looked like the end of my writing career, I was ready to quit, I’ve had it. I was in my early 40s and I had no idea what else to do. Telling stories had been my whole life until then.

However, it you are a writer, write about it. Let those feelings fuel your art. If rock musicians can get their anger out through their art, so could I, I figured.

I had had the idea to ‘Finale’ for some years, thinking that this was a book I would never write. It was too much, too evil, too mean, too gory, too painful. No way. But ideas have their own life and all the pieces had come together. And I figured, well if this will be my last book, and I honestly thought it would be, then let it be an enormous fuck you to everybody. It would not only be short, it would be ultra short, and it would not only be mean, it would be the meanest, goriest and in your face book ever written in Danish, I told myself.

If you think my books are too gory, then watch this, motherfucker.

Looking back, I can’t help but feel a little embarrased. I was being a bit childish. Anger often does that to you, I think. However, I meant it. And I wrote the book in some sort of rage filled trance and I got it out of my system. At the time, it pained me that I felt I wasn’t really able to go all the way in. If you read the book, keeping your own imagination at bay, I do tend to skip out of the worst gore. Like when Agnes’s boyfriend is killed. She can’t really see what’s going on. The clown blocks her view. That said, having seen the reactions to the book over the years, I think, I got the gory message through as readers tend to think, they got all that detail, I couldn’t make myself write. Strange how that works.

I did stop writing after that. And for years it seemed that ‘Finale’ would be the last work I did on my own, just writing a book for the sake of telling that story. I did write other stuff, things I was hired to do, or books as a result of a cooperation with The Danish Open-air Museum (a collection of true ghost stories from the museum) or a book for the Danish eductation in the Icelandic schools.

Finale‘ was published in a very limited first edition under the Danish title ‘Alt det hun ville ønske hun ikke forstod’ (Actually, the last sentence of the book) as I didn’t think it would ever gain that big an audience. The year after, it was awarded ‘Best Danish Horror Book of the Year’, and a few years later, they began filming the book.

I would never have guessed.

 

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About steenlangstrup

Writer
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