D.W. Finch, a Listowel District Secondary School alumnus, has been writing short fiction that recalls the rural settings of her youth and scares up some imagery that might appeal to horror fans with small-town roots.
“I think where you grow up has a profound effect on most people,” she said. “You’re aware of the possibilities of a space, good or bad, even if only subliminally, and if you’re a writer, it tends to end up in your stories.”
Finch said she still tends to think creatively in terms of small towns and open country spaces even though after moving away from Listowel she has spent most of her life in cities.
“Those kinds of environments – barren fields, empty barns, roadside diners – show up again and again in my imagination,” she said.
Now, Finch mixes the ‘B’ horror movies, pulp fiction, and comic books that had a great impact on her as a child into her stories.
“I wasn’t old enough to evaluate them critically, and I think that’s probably a good thing from a creative standpoint,” she said. “It gives all those impressions room to grow. They recombine and mutate in the subconscious and then re-emerge in moments of inspiration. When it comes to producing your work, of course, you aim for the highest standard you’re capable of. I’ve done quite a bit of writing at this point, so I’ve learned a thing or two about being economical when it comes to telling a story, but I still have a long way to go. My process is to write or edit every day, and to keep learning as much as I can. There’s no substitute for experience.”
There are a few moments in Finch’s fiction that might be a little bit hard for readers with weak stomachs to handle, but she tries not to push that side of the horror too much.
“Yes, I like grossing people out,” she laughed. “But I try not to overdo it. I like a mix of visceral and psychological horror.”
According to Finch, “body horror,” which she makes use of in her story, Wandering Eye, combines a bit of the gross-out and the psychological in what she describes as “a delightful way if you’re into being horrified, that is.” It’s a story that might encourage you to wear safety glasses next time you are doing some chores around the house with power tools.
“I think there’s an Evil Dead influence there,” she said. “I loved The Twilight Zone… (H.P.) Lovecraft has also been a big influence, as he has been for many horror authors. Shirley Jackson is another one of my favourites, and a real master of psychological horror.”
Finch also pulls her influences from a wide variety of other sources, stating that gamers will probably recognize the Silent Hill overtones in her stories The Night Runner and Deer Crossing.
At present, Finch’s stories are available in e-book form on Amazon and Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program. She warns that there could be more coming at any time.
“I always have plenty of ideas for stories,” she said. “It’s just a matter of finding the time to write them. I do have plans for longer, novel-length books as well as shorts.”
Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner