Hi! My name is Ashley Greathouse and sadness scares the shit out of me. Seriously, I can’t stomach it. The cold sweats, the freezing feeling of anxiety creeping its way into my mind, all because the shadows have consumed the room. It’s enough to make me want to seek shelter in the safety of my blankets and wait for an adult to pop around the corner. But wait… I am the freaking adult here! So, at what age do we have to reach before our irrational fears start to slip our minds? When does our imagination die? Honestly, I hope I never find out those answers.
My fears. The silly little overactive thoughts that send me running down the hallway, after I’ve flipped off the light switch, to the monster-free safe zone that is my bedroom. My astonishing ability to watch a horror movie without actually watching any of the scenes that make it horror… Those embarrassing yet hilarious quirks of mine are exactly why I have a seat at the table of horror authors. Those fears, morbid thoughts, and never-going-to-happen scenarios that plague my mind. Those are the ink to my pen.
Now, I haven’t always been such a scaredy-cat. I grew up around my Uncle’s haunted house, my dad’s obsession for dark and gory comics, and my own personal love for the paranormal. It wasn’t until I had my son that I began to develop a queasy stomach when it came to bloodshed. I think life just got put in perspective for me. Life itself, it is precious; there’s nothing more valuable. For me, seeing people get torn away from life, even though these were fictional characters, it was far too heartbreaking.
Still, I found myself drawn to the mysterious storylines that kept me guessing. There was just one problem. Horror started to let me down. Plots became predictable, at best, and the main focus seemed to have become more about how far special effects could push the limits with their jump scares and gore than actually trying to induce fear. That more than anything is what caused me to lose interest in the genre.
Now, my favorite thing to point out when talking about my own debut into the horror genre is the fact that I did not intend to write dark and twisted stories at all. I guess you can say that I’m here by default. Everything up until this point has simply been a way for you to get to know me a little more clearly. You see, I originally intended to write a fantasy story. One packed with all the key points that I admired in the many stories that I fell in love with. If I had to pick one genre to entertain myself for the rest of my life, well, fantasy would be it.
Talk about having your cake and eating it! I could have a story crammed full of every supernatural creature imaginable. Add a dash of mystery, a smidge of death and chaos, and sprinkle a few puppy-love moments to really make it pop. Voila! A perfect storyline for me. Until it wasn’t, just like horror, fantasy, and every other genre became way too predictable. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to lump every book and every author together as the accountable parties to my blah moment in purchased literature. But, for the longest time, it seemed that every page I read, every show or movie I turned on, they all became something that I could easily guess how the ending would go.
I remember scrolling through my newsfeed and coming across a quote that read something along the lines of, “If you can’t find the story you want to read, then write it.” And I was like, “Heck YEAH!” Then I remembered. I’ve been down this writing road before. I planned an entire story, interviewed my characters, and would even get about four chapters in before I became bored with it entirely.
I got the crazy idea to sit down and write a story with no idea of what I was going to write next: no plot, no guide, just me and my keyboard. Soon found myself entranced by a story about a witch who was so close to a midlife crisis. I was excited and eager to see where this story was going to take us. Love? Happiness? To my surprise, my subconscious was not about to let any of that happen. Oh no. We were going straight to murder and backstabbing. Now, it’s not so much of a shock that my brain went in the direction of chilling scenes.
I have such a strong history with horror after all, why wouldn’t my mind try to bring back the one thing that I thought I could no longer handle? The backstabbing, though, that is what took me by more of a shock. This was one of my fears. One that I have personally lived through one too many times. Friendships, they mean so much, and they hurt like hell when they’re severed without notice, especially by unseen intentions. Despite my apprehensiveness at putting so much of myself into the story, I continued. Oh, and I’m so happy that I did! It was utterly therapeutic!
Allowing my thoughts, fears, and insecurities to merge with a story so dark and terrifying, it was by far the best thing I could have ever done when it came to creating my works of horror fiction. I might not focus on shock factors and pushing boundaries with gruesome scenes, but my ability to manifest familiar emotions and make them relatable to the story I weave, that is why I took my place in horror. I often portray myself with devil horns and an evil grin, but that is only to symbolize why I’m here. Why I write. I’m fueled by the demons my mind harbors, and I release them through my nightmares.
Updates: My life, my thoughts, my books, maybe my cat…
Exclusive Content: Behind the scenes footage, Priority Release Notices
Book Discounts: Only available in Newsletter