As I mentioned here back on October, I am part of a national committee of book, writing, and library professionals who are working to connect horror readers, authors, and libraries. It is called Summer Scares. From the launch press release:
The Horror Writers Association (HWA), in partnership with United for Libraries, Book Riot, and Library Journal/School Library Journal, has launched a reading program that provides libraries and schools with an annual list of recommended horror titles for adult, young adult (teen), and middle grade readers. The goal is to introduce new authors and help librarians start conversations with readers that will extend beyond the books from each list and promote reading for years to come.
Each year, a special guest author and a committee of four librarians will select 3 recommended fiction titles in each of 3 reading levels (Middle Grade, Teen, and Adult), for a total of 9 Summer Scares selections. The goal of the program is to encourage a national conversation about the entire horror genre, across all age levels, at libraries all over the country and ultimately get more adults, teens, and children interested in reading. Official Summer Scares designated authors will also be available to appear, either virtually or in person, at public and school libraries all over the country, for free.The committee is in the final stages of compiling the 9 selections to be announced on February 14th, but while you wait, we are also busy creating lists of books you can use to make displays and hand out to all age levels of horror fans with confidence.
Please go and visit the Summer Scares FAQ and Resources page housed over on RA for All Horror. It includes content from all of our partners and best selling author Grady Hendrix.
We plan to keep updating this resource page with more resources and ready to use lists even after the February 14th announcement of the official Summer Scares selections because this program is not about the 9 specific titles only. Those 9 titles are simply the bridge between authors and libraries; a way for us to help those two groups connect, all in an effort to help more readers find the perfect book.
In order to help spread this overall mission, one of our partners, ALA's United for Libraries, recently interviewed me about the program. From the opening of that piece:
What exactly inspired the idea for the Summer Scares program?
Author Grady Hendrix, JG Faherty, and I were all on a panel together at StokerCon [a popular annual horror-based convention] in March. The topic of discussion was, “How do we introduce the horror genre to a broader audience?” There are a lot of people out there interested, but having trouble finding titles. And we came up with an idea to suggest a list of titles that were vetted by us, the Horror Writers Association. We wanted [the list] to say, “Hey, we’re experts, and these are good books—here’s a place to start.”
The idea was to launch it in conjunction with StokerCon—since the next one is in May, we thought it would be a good idea to put it in with Summer Reading.
What are some of the criteria the Summer Scares committee looks for in a book that leads it to becoming a potential recommendation?
We’re looking for, quite honestly, books with authors who are willing to participate—that’s half the program. We want, at the very least, for the authors to be available to make a virtual appearance. This isn’t just about how good the book is. The program is more about connecting books with potential readers and giving people a chance to interact with horror authors, especially the younger readers. to be able to interact with the author behind [the story] just makes reading come alive for them. So we really are looking for that interaction between the authors, the libraries, and their patrons.
We’re making sure that all of the books we’re considering are age-appropriate and critically acclaimed, but widely available, so that they’re easily accessible to libraries. To ensure that the list is inclusive and diverse, we are requiring that at least 50% of the titles are written by female authors, and that at least 30% are “own voice” titles.
Even if an author’s book isn’t chosen, we are going to give them a chance under the Horror Writers’ Association to go visit the libraries, the schools, and talk about the titles that were chosen. They’ll get a chance to promote themselves, too, in the process.
The entire program is about promoting horror—the entire genre—as a great reading option for all ages.To read the entire interview click here. And if you want to participate as an author or a library worker, go to the Summer Scares FAQ page for directions.
And remember what I always say.... Your horror readers are not monsters, they just like to read about them.