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  • Nichelle

How I Ended Up Writing a Horror Novel

I didn’t set out to write a horror novel. I wanted to tell a love story.

I have always loved books, but I have never considered myself a writer. I am notoriously bad at spelling and still don’t quite understand the rules around comma placement, both of which I assumed were prerequisites for becoming an author.

I joked with my mother that my ideal career would be creating shoebox dioramas for book reports. Unfortunately, I think the closest occupation to a professional diorama-maker is that person who uses cupcake wrappers to make giraffes in the front window of Anthropologie.

All of my stories have felt different to write. The first novel I ever attempted to write felt like it was written on the inside of my ribcage, the words carved into the bone so only my lungs could read it. It was a story about grief.

The next, a story I wrote during my worst moments of 2020, the first novel I ever finished, felt like a child. It was silly and capricious and felt like hope in a season where I was trapped between two hands, pressing in. I watched as it grew, held it on my hip as its limbs stretched long and it pressed its cheek against my neck, breath hot and sweet.

This story, the idea that would grow into No Child of Mine This one felt like I had taken a melon baller behind my shoulder blade, let the teeth bite into the pink muscle, and scooped out a perfect lump. Then I planted it. I watched as a garden grew. The sort of garden that might grow out a seed made of flesh. I would have wanted something lighter, filled with big bunches of hydrangeas and pink peonies, but it was something darker, bloody and tragic, but beautiful in its own way with all its thorns.

I didn’t set out to write a horror novel. I wanted to tell a love story. And it still is a love story, but it’s also a ghost story. It’s also about sacrifice and heartbreak and doing unspeakable things for the people you love. It’s about how it feels when your body doesn’t belong to you. It isn’t about me, except that everything I write is always a little about me. It is about women who have forgotten the sound of their own names. It’s about being alone and scared. It’s about loving someone so much that it tastes a lot like fear.

I’m so excited for you all to get the chance to read No Child of Mine in September! I plan to send this email out every Wednesday, so make sure to subscribe if you haven’t already. You can also follow me on Instagram and Tiktok if you want more regular updates. Or for extra credit, you can pre-order No Child of Mine!



P.S. My publisher is currently running a GoodReads giveaway, so make sure to enter if you haven’t already!


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