Swamp Dwellers, Dark Fiction Book Reviews
To begin with, I want to thank Ash for allowing me to be her guest. If Ash hasn’t told you already, I’m giving away a Kindle on May 15th to a lucky follower of the REUNION blog tour. You can get the details about the book, the tour, and the contest at jeffbennington.com. Good Luck.
The Dark in Fiction
My first attempt at fiction came in the form of a political thriller. It had guns and bombs and secret societies and all that, but at the time I didn’t think my writing style was dark. In fact, it probably wasn’t, although looking back, I can see tiny black seeds sprouting my creative roots.
Two novels later, I know that I have a dark side, an evil twin, a sinister spitting image of myself that writes about the things no one like to talk about. My supernatural thriller, REUNION, is a perfect example of what my depraved duplicate is capable of. REUNION touches on several topics that make people cringe. The subject matter is painfully palpable, and equally devastating when it happens in real life. Here are a few of the subjects that are weaved through the plot:
• School Shootings
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
• Child Sexual Abuse
• Child Physical Abuse
• Domestic Violence
• Lost Love
These are all very real to many people throughout the world, and sometimes the lifelong pain that follows can be even more devastating than the initial trauma. Although this is not meant to be a comprehensive list of what dark fiction is about, it is meant to demonstrate what dark fiction means to me. Dark fiction, to my way of thinking, is when an author writes about the things that scare us, the things that horrify us, the things that make us cringe, things that are real, things like sexual abuse and the aftermath of a school shooting.
I’m sure there are people who cannot relate to trauma, or abuse, but there are many who can. I know some of them. Their stories are dark, and their stories are real. In fact, I’m very close to several people who have been sexually abused. Their stories would make you cringe.
Another source of life that’s darkened my mind comes from a good friend who used to counsel victims of all kinds of abuse. He often shared some of the gruesome details that he had to deal with on an ongoing basis, details that would cause you to lock up your sons and daughters until they had children of their own. I’m sure his stories have played a part in my overprotective, helicopter parenting style.
Also, my wife worked for a foster agency early in our marriage, and let me tell you; the content I’ve addressed in REUNION only scratches the surface of what is happening everywhere, in your neighborhood, and behind closed doors. And to top it all off, I’ve talked to someone who grew up with Satanic, ritualistic abuse.
I wish this world were different.
I wish life could be cleaner, simpler.
But it’s not.
Life can be dark. Life can be hard. Life can be cruel.
Dark fiction tells the truth about life.
And that’s why dark fiction will continue to engage readers.
I don’t think I tell the story about David Ray and his classmates with an “educational” approach, but with a method that’s fluid, helping you understand the heart of each character and their weaknesses and fears.
Rather than sound preachy, I simply tried to tell the truth. After all, what is there to preach about? Life happens. Life can be wonderful, but it can also be frightening and hopeless. And to avoid those realities for the sake of painting a pretty picture so that everyone is happy seems very wrong to me.
This is what REUNION is all about… the dark side of life… albeit a side that is a touchy subject… it’s about what happens behind closed doors, and what happens after the headlines have faded and the victims continue to suffer. But it’s also about what happens when the survivors break free from the burning pain and manage to find a sliver of hope in a pile of ashes. – Jeff Bennington
Thanks for reading. Be sure to subscribe and follow The Swamp Dwellers Dark Fiction Book Review Blog, and then follow the rest of the REUNION Blog Tour for more unique posts about the book, the characters, etc. Go to jeffbennington.com to learn more and to check out the tour schedule. Be sure to get your copy on April 15th to help thrust REUNION up the rankings by purchasing en masse. Peace.