Last week a special box arrived for me in the post.
The contents of this box are very special to me. Ever since I was a small child, one of my lifetime ambitions has been to get a book published. In this box is proof I’ve achieved that goal. It’s something I want to yell from the rooftops. Look! I did it! Look at all these lovely pages; the words written on them are mine.
But I can’t.
It’s like this. In this box is a print copy of a book I wrote, but now this box needs to be dropped down a very deep shaft and kept in darkness lest its evil contaminates the world. No, you can’t read it. The contents will flay your mind and rip your brain out of your ears in wriggling chunks.
Actually, it’s not really that bad, although I imagine it would raise a few eyebrows amongst people who know me.
On telling friends and family I’ve got a book coming out, the conversation usually goes like this:
“Can I read it?”
“Well...um...I don’t think it’s really the kind of thing you’d like to read.”
“Oh, is it really gory?”
“Yes yes, really gory and unpleasant.”
It’s funny that, hiding behind a screen of blood and gore rather than owning up to writing a little bit of kinky erotica. The problem is, if you write a bit of kinky erotica, people automatically seem to think, “Oh, I never knew you were into that”, as if all erotica is written with firsthand experience. Whereas, with horror, nobody seriously thinks Stephen King is a mass-murdering psychopath.
My concerns are of course exaggerated. No one in my family, if they read one of my stories and realised it was me, is going to string me up from the family oak and curse the day I was born. The real reason is me. When I first started writing these stories I knew I wanted to combine horror and erotica in such a way that the outcome would be both arousing and disturbing in equal measure. And to do that effectively I knew I needed to smash the levers of self-censorship, to rip the whole machinery out of my mind. Thus, Mr Hydra entered the world.
Pseudonyms are great. Now I can write what the hell I like and not worry about what people might think of the real me in the real world. ‘Too far’ no longer exists. I can be as kinky, filthy and weird as I like. I can describe the golden arc of a stream of piss as it loops and flows within the transparent body of an alluring water spirit, a scene both revolting and weirdly beautiful. I can describe a sexy demon with the lower half of a spider as she straddles and fucks her helpless silk-bound prey, a scene both terrifying and weirdly arousing. The freedom to be as bizarre as I like is fantastic.
Except when the book comes out and I really want to tell everyone I know, but can’t.
Oh, well. I guess it’ll have to hide away in a quiet little corner on my bookshelf.
I know. That’s all that matters.
M. E. Hydra’s “A Succubus for Christmas and other tales of Devilish Delights” will be out later this year.