31 Days of Halloween – Sara Jayne Townsend

Sara Jayne Townsend

birthday falls on 24 October – a week before Hallowe’en.  Perhaps it was inevitable that I would become
a horror writer.  It wasn’t always that
way.  As a child I used to look forward
to the month of October because that meant my birthday and getting presents,
and an excuse for a party.  Hallowe’en
parties were not all that common in the part of Northern England where I grew
up in the 1970s, and trick or treating was an unknown concept in the UK
then.  So I grew up associating
Hallowe’en with birthday parties.  I
wasn’t all that fond of scary stories in those days – they used to give me

fascination with horror began as a teenager. 
At age 14, when I stomped around full of adolescent angst, stories of
fear and despair became appealing.  In
the first horror stories I wrote, around age 17, I wanted to shock people, and
I was fond of the ‘twist’ ending.  Later
on, I began to use writing as therapy. 
Most of the stories I wrote in my twenties and early thirties were
melancholy, angsty tales full of unhappy lonely people in undesirable
situations.  Someone generally died an
unpleasant death.  In retrospect, I
realise that I was using writing as a way of dealing with my own fears and
securities.  Certain themes made
recurring appearances – death; isolation; loneliness; betrayal.
collection of stories in SOUL SCREAMS were written over a 20-year-period – the
earliest were written when I was seventeen. 
It is these recurring themes that tie them all together.  Some of these stories are supernatural
horror, but most are more psychological, dealing with the demons in the mind
rather than those with physical form.
am still fond of horror stories, but my more recent work has been decidedly
less angsty, dealing with old-fashioned scary supernatural monsters rather than
psychologically dysfunctional humans.  Does this mean I have put some of my own
personal demons to rest, and no longer need to write about them?  It would be nice to think that after 42 years
I have learned how to let a few of those demons go.  But I’m still fond of a good old scary story.
that should be 43 years.  After all, I’ve
got a birthday coming up…
Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror.  Her latest book, SOUL SCREAMS is a collection
of short horror stories and is available in paperback and e-book formats from
Stumar Press (
learn more about Sara and her writing, check out her website at
http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com/ and
her blog at