- Bryan W. Alaspa
How my day job helped me write S.P.I.D.A.R.
One of the things I have written about before is that I am a 'working' writer. This doesn't mean I make a living just writing my books. It means I write for a living and, in my case, this means writing blogs, website content and marketing materials. You may have thought I spent my days coming up with the demented stories I put out, but instead I spend my days writing blog articles to generate leads and writing high-SEO content for websites for a large international corporation.
A lot of writers are like me. They write freelance. They write articles or write technical manuals. They write blogs or websites. They write press releases or they write email campaigns for companies. There is nothing wrong with this. Sure, it would be great if all of us made money on our novels, but the literary world has changed so much this is not really as easy or possible in today's world.
At the same time, my job helped me write my upcoming horror novel S.P.I.D.A.R. That's right, my daytime job of writing blog articles and stuff like that helped me create the frightening arachnids in that book.
How so? Well, I'll tell you.
My day job is working for an international pest control company. I have become a bit of a bug and rodent expert. This is because, like a lot of writers, I tend to research and write a lot of things and have become the type to learn a little bit about a lot of things. One of the things we write are blog articles for multiple pest control brands that generate traffic. We want eyes on the article, so sometimes that comes from high SEO research or from coming up with an interesting topic on which people will click.
So, when I came up with the idea of setting a novel in the isolated town of Whittier, Alaska, coming up with the "monster" the residents would face, I turned toward the work I do every day. I had this idea of insects or creatures bio-engineered and combining traits of multiple pests that I had learned about over the past three years.
Before long, I had the idea for spiders. Why? Because, like a lot of people, I have had a fear of spiders. I used to kill them like crazy and considered myself the foremost serial killer of spiders. If I found a spider in my home or apartment, I would use anything to kill them. Insect spray, hair spray, cleaning fluid. I would spray the arachnid and then pick up the corpse.
While learning about spiders at this job, though, I have come to respect the little buggers. I do not want them in the bathroom with me and I don't want them crawling over me, but if they are outside, or in a secluded area and minding their own business - I just leave them alone. They are tough and strong and a lot of the time they get rid of pests.
However, just spiders was not enough. So, I started combining terrifying aspects of insects I have learned about, read about, and written about for this job. Types of wasps who actually use spiders for their young in truly horrifying ways, for example. Types of ants who can be controlled like zombies because of fungi or other insects which can turn larger insects into puppets.
The world of bugs and pests are more terrifying than even the spiders in S.P.I.D.A.R. It's scarier out there than you can imagine. However, super-spiders is one of my fears and I used that to put it on the page.
So far, the response from early readers is that the book is nightmare-inducing. I hope you like it.
S.P.I.D.A.R. is due out February 23 in print and ebook for all e-readers. A few weeks afterward, the audiobook will be available.
What scares you?
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