Aug 13, 2011

Author Guest Post : Modern Folk Legends by Scott Nicholson

As a fan of a good legend and horror stories I was happy to be contacted by author Scott Nicholson and he's here today to tell us about his haunting novels.

Everyone Welcome Scott Nicolson: Author's Site Haunted Computer

Modern Folk Legends
There’s a geological theory that says the mountains of the British Isles run as a chain beneath the Atlantic Ocean and come up as the Appalachian Mountains that run down parallel to the east coast of the US. One of the anthropological theories holds that the Scots-Irish who migrated to America kept going until they saw a place that looked like home and stopped there. That would be where I live, the Southern Appalachians where legends, folk tales, and ghost stories resonate with an older, deeper truth.

In many ways, I feel like I am writing modern folk tales, spinning off legends that came before. I grew up with the front-porch storytelling tradition and when it came time to write about something, those ghosts, witches, and creatures just came out of the shadows and onto the page.

The stories that stick with me most have historical or anthropological details attached, either specific to a person or family, or to a larger event. That’s why old houses and buildings are great for accruing myths over the years, simply because they have been around long enough for things to stick to them. Whether the “spirit activity” is some sort of quantum flashback or recurring imprint on the fabric of reality, or whether it is a little loop of metaphysical film that keeps replaying, it’s the stories surrounding the phenomena that add the local color.

But I’m most interested in the people that surround these places. My first novel The Red Church takes the local legend of a haunted church and builds it up into a longstanding mythology of a remote mountain community, rife with bizarre religious beliefs. But at heart it is the story of a boy who must make sense of his own spiritual beliefs as his family falls apart under threat of a supernatural force.

Drummer Boy, a loose sequel that brings back Sheriff Littlefield, takes a real historical event, adds some folklore, and then gets dashed with the paranormal to create a milieu in with a young boy must measure his place in the human race.

Speed Dating with the Dead comes from tales of a local haunted hotel where I hosted a paranormal conference, Creative Spirit came from a haunted manor where the former owner was an art collector, and Troubled was inspired by a boy’s accidental death at a local group home for troubled children. Burial to Follow is a novella inspired by Appalachian burial customs, including the rather odd phenomenon of burying the grieving family in neighborly casseroles and comforting pies. Solom was inspired by the little community where I live and the specter of a circuit-riding preacher who has yet to finish his eternal rounds.

Luckily, I will never run out of legends, and hopefully some of my stories will be shared and told down through the generations, even if it is in an ebook, not a front porch, where the tale is told.


  1. Great guest post, thanks for sharing. I love horror but don't read a lot of it, mainly because I have a hard time finding things that catch my eye. But The Red Church sounds right up my alley. I love the combination of folk lore influences and the paranormal, so I'm heading over to get the Kindle version now and will add it to my to-read list. Thanks for stopping by, Scott!

  2. Rachel, I hope you enjoy The Red Church, we also just released an audio version.

    Kristen, thank you for hosting me!

  3. Love Scott Nicholson. Great stuff. It may take me the rest of my life to read all his books. But since I believe in spirits too, I can take several lifetimes to do it.