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Stacey’s breath came in fast, shallow sips. A dark form melted out of the curtains…

Home means our sanctuary and our retreat, the safe and sacred place where we rest and recharge at the end of the day. “The idea that we might not be as safe as we think we are, is terrifying.” explains Unrequited author T. D. Harvey. “Our home should be our safe haven from the world. When you add to that the fine line between love and obsession it starts to get really interesting.”

FragmentsOfFear.com T D Harvey

© T D Harvey

In Unrequited, narrated by Dani Thompson, a pretty young girl starts to realise that an unwanted admirer watches her every move. “I’ve always had a fascination with the illusion of safety,” says Harvey. She cites her favourite horror movie as Halloween. “It’s set in leafy suburbia where everything is safe and pleasant,” she tells us. “Until it isn’t.”

Harvey shares a story of the time she disobeyed parental orders, aged 8, and unable to sleep, switched on some late night television to watch a Dracula film.

“I was too scared to look away, and too scared to risk touching the TV while the movie was playing,” she says. “I waited until the movie finished, ran to the TV, turned it off, and ran back to bed. I was terrified. I couldn’t close my eyes without seeing Dracula coming to get me.”

“From that moment I understood the exhilaration of being afraid.”

She continues: “Fear is a primal emotion and ‘safe’ fear is a really important part of growing up and discovering what you’re made of and what you’re capable of. Horror asks questions about what’s acceptable and what isn’t. It delves into your subconscious and finds the thing you didn’t even know was there. It allows you to explore what you would be prepared to accept, what you would run from and what would make you stand and fight. It reveals our inner turmoil as well as our aspiration. Horror is so much more than a scary story.”

She demonstrates this in her work, as she also writes dark fiction for children.

“Obviously horror isn’t appropriate for children, but that doesn’t mean children can’t explore the darker side of life,” she explains. “As long as it’s age appropriate, safe fear can help in development.”

“My inspiration for dark children’s stories is usually from my own childhood or from the things that my nieces and nephews talk to me about. I look at those fears and a story will usually come to me. Of course, for children, I feel it’s important for the story to end well. The positivity in dark fiction for children comes from showing how to overcome fear.”

Her inspiration for the more adult side of the genre takes on a broader flavour.

“Everything inspires me,” she says.

“A song on the radio, a disturbing dream, a news report and so on. Usually I get a scene which suddenly leaps into my head. I keep notebooks everywhere and write the scene with any other information I have on the story so I don’t forget it.”

“Some stories scream at me to be written immediately, but most are happy to wait patiently until it’s their turn. I have a huge backlog of ideas to get through and it grows every day!”

In the weeks leading up to broadcast Craig Johnson will give you lots of exclusive behind the scenes photos and footage over on the Instagram account. Do please follow it!

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