A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
Maybe you’re reading this over breakfast. Maybe you’re on the bus to the office, scrolling through this on your phone to pass the time. Or maybe you’re at home, on your laptop, taking 5 minutes to browse online before going to bed.
But whether you’re in a crowd or completely alone, you get the sudden sense someone is watching you. Eyes crawl over your skin like spiders, and you know—you know—that whoever it is, they’re not just curious about the article you’re reading.
You’ve just worked up the nerve to turn around, ready to confront them, when you hear a sound. A footstep. Just one, and then you feel it—warm breath at the back of your neck.
Who is it? What do they want?
Thrillers might make you ask these questions, and others, but what any thriller should always do is keep you right at the edge of your seat. I love these kinds of stories. But when I asked myself why I love to write thrillers in particular, at first I wasn’t sure. Then earlier this week my mother told me she’d been digging through some old boxes and found a book of poems I wrote when I was 9 or 10, and my stepdad typed one up for me. This is it:
Suddenly it became clear: this isn’t something I’ve stumbled into as an adult. I love writing thrillers because I have always enjoyed gripping, tense, scary stories… and maybe I’m a teensy bit morbid.
When I was 11, I entered a regional short story contest, and to my enormous delight, my story won. I went to the ceremony where they were handing out the awards for the different categories, and listened as they read each winning entry on stage. And then it came to mine, and they called my name and handed me my prize… and moved on to the next one.
I later overheard someone saying they hadn’t read mine aloud in case it frightened the younger children there. I suppose they had a point—I’d written about a rabbit-like creature who spends years living in isolation and starts hallucinating he is being stalked by an identical copy of himself. Fun, right? 😉
Now, my thrillers veer off into different genres—BLACKFIN SKY is a fantasy thriller, BREAKER is a romantic thriller, and PURGE is a sci-fi thriller—but I try to make sure whatever I’m writing will make the reader’s heart rate kick up a notch or two.
Kat Ellis is a young adult writer from North Wales. You’ll usually find Kat up to no good on Twitter, taking photographs in cemeteries, or watching scary films with her husband and feral cat. Her debut novel, BLACKFIN SKY, is available now. BREAKER (Running Press Kids) and PURGE (Firefly Press) will be published in 2016.