Author Lamar Giles picked up his first horror book, “It” by Stephen King, when he was just 11 years old. He was terrified—and hooked on the genre. Lamar’s early love of reading extended to many genres, including comics and fantasy. His first novels were widely acclaimed, especially his debut novel, “Fake ID,” and his middle grade foray, “The Last Last Day of Summer.” His most recent book, “The Getaway,” is a young adult horror tale that has earned him comparisons to famed actor, writer, and filmmaker Jordan Peele.
“The Getaway” is having great success, and it also feels like a new beginning for Lamar, who has long wished to write “a book that would have freaked me out when I was a kid.” In our Halloween special, Lamar talks about how horror helps him cope with his anxieties and why he believes in the power of the genre for young readers. Lamar says horror is a pressure valve that has the ability to release pent-up anxiety and fear in a controlled, safe, and fun environment. That's why he watches "Hellraiser" at 4 a.m. to comfort himself when he can't sleep! While the genre isn't for everyone, he hopes his horror books resonate with other young readers the same way Stephen King’s work resonated for him.
In honor of his love for horror and all things scary, Lamar created a reading challenge called “Scary Good” that includes a wide array of scary stories for middle grade and YA readers. His reading list for “Scary Good: A Lamar Giles Reading Challenge” features authors like Neil Gaiman, Ellen Oh, and Dean Koontz.
Listen to the full episode, “The Gift of Fear: Lamar Giles on How Horror Helps Kids Cope,” on Apple, Google, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review, subscribe, and share with someone who will enjoy it.