Behind The Story #1: The Muse of Palm House

Here’s a brief rundown of the inspiration behind this story. There’s potential spoilers here. If you haven’t read this story, go here


First came the house.

I’ve always been fascinated with haunted houses – the classic gothic dark vibes, so when I set out to write this story I knew immediately it had to feature a haunted house – but with a twist. This was not going to be your typical ghost story.

Next came the haunt.

The Picture of Dorian Gray also influenced my decision here. I thought instead of having a painting which ages while the subject retains youth, why not have an entity whose way to the wider world is through a painting? Because what is more permanent than a picture – or painting?

Third came the damned.

I had 2 elements. A house and the concept of the painting. I needed last ingredient. The medium through which the story will be experienced. I’ve usually always thought that horror is best served on an unsuspecting character. Indeed the first half of the story might not read like horror. You might think it’s a contemporary piece on an artist long past his prime seized by sudden inspiration (and you’ll be forgiven for thinking so, this was intentional). I thought why not have a main character who’s so self-absorbed and consumed with his own affairs that he doesn’t see the house for what it truly is? That he doesn’t see Lara for what she truly was?

All the pieces came together and the rest, as they say, is history. I wrote this feverishly (much as the main character’s feverish painting). I thought long and hard about how to end this story. In the end I went with the ambiguous ending, because it is horror after all, and some things are best left unsaid, or in the this case, unwritten.

I’m really proud of this story, I think it’s accomplishes everything I set out to accomplish.