What Big Teeth is a gothic horror written by Rose Szabo, and is available from today (July 6th, 2020).
The novel follows Eleanor who returns home after being away for many years; upon her return, she finds her family waiting for her. When a death causes a rock in the family, Eleanor must turn to her Grandmere to fix the unrest within her house; but it seems her relative has some dark secrets hidden within her...
What Big Teeth is a dark, eerie and raw novel that explores longing, pain, love and desire as readers are drawn into Szabo’s unique way of storytelling.
Take a look at the creative piece written by the author that unveils her inspirations and the initial spark that led to the creation of this book!
Writing from Inside the House
I was twenty years old, home for the summer, and bored out of my mind--so I went rummaging around in my parents’ basement. Amid boxes of old clothes and furniture I thought we’d given away, I found an old picture frame. With multiple windows, it was clearly meant to hold an array of family photos - but instead, it was empty.
I remember thinking how typical that was - my family’s record-keeping was more in the style of urban legends: the great-aunt who’d murdered her abusive husband; the distant cousin who was a prospector in California but wouldn’t give out her address for fear that we’d take her gold. All of these stories were told in a tone of uproarious hilarity. What I knew was so limited, surrounded on all sides by blank spaces - places, I had to guess, where the stories were no less bizarre, but less adaptable to a slapstick style.
That afternoon, I took the dusty picture frame upstairs and propped it up on the kitchen table. I set about drawing cartoon figures for every window - a werewolf grandfather and witch grandmother, clearly madly in love; a vicious, snarling boy with slicked-back hair; an elegantly-coiffed mother with tentacles for a face. I remember being angry, but also amused, at the idea of creating a family history for myself based entirely on my own whims. After all, that was what everyone else seemed to be doing.
Living in my house often felt as though I’d showed up late and happy to a party where something bad had already happened. There were unspoken rules I didn’t understand, tensions I couldn’t quite read because my family was acting as though everything was normal. Since then, I’ve learned some of the details - my grandmother who spent her childhood hiding at the library from her parents; my mother, who was paying her family’s bills at 15, my cousin with manic depression who disappeared. As an adult I can look back and say that people were trying to be normal for me, so that I might be normal.
In the top left corner of the picture frame, I put a picture of a normal - or at least, normal-looking-girl, peering down worriedly at everyone else in the story. I didn’t like her very much then; I thought of her as spoiling the family’s fun, judging them for being strange.
I carried that picture frame with me back to college, and to my first apartment, and across the country for graduate school, knowing that this was a story I’d have to write someday but not knowing how to begin. I wrote snippets in the voices of every character. Finally, one day when graduate school was over, I realized I wouldn’t write it if I didn’t write it. I sat down and the first voice I heard was the voice of that girl from the top left of the frame, the one I couldn’t stand. She wanted to know why her family was so strange, why they wouldn’t just tell her the truth about themselves. Once she started to speak, I wrote until she was done.
What Big Teeth is available to purchase today (July 6th, 2021)!
Written by Melissa (with credits to Rose Szabo), who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal
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Tagged in Horror