“The creative adult is the child who survived.” – Ursula K. Le Guin
Too often, people give up their creative dreams as they mature. They kill their inner child to act like grown-ups, associating practicality with maturity. What they don’t realize is that they’re stifling their creativity, trading their earliest inspirations for a monotonous pragmatism.
Not everyone, however, abandons their dreams while growing up, remaining true to their first motivations. Such people maintain creative minds that think, act, and perceive differently than others. Creative individuals are passionate about their artistic inclinations and often gravitate toward careers in music, acting, painting, sports, dancing, writing, etc. One personality that perfectly fits this context is Lee Allen Howard, an author, and entrepreneur who never let go of his childhood dream and transformed it into a career.
“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso
As a child, Howard discovered a love for horror fiction. Norman Bridwell’s How to Care for Your Monster was his first horror read, which he bought in second grade. Its unique combination of humor and horror piqued Howard’s interest, which remains with him today. At eight, he wrote his first scary story on tablet paper for a school writing assignment. Being the son of a United Methodist preacher, Howard chose a genre at odds with his father.
Nevertheless, he continued to write dark tales during his school years. In 1979, his first short story, “Trick or Treat,” was published in the Brookville High School newspaper. It was simultaneously printed in the town newspaper, the Jeffersonian-Democrat.
An Author Creepin’ It Real
Howard completed his bachelor’s in English Literature from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1984 and earned a master’s in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in 2006. His fascination with horror and dark fiction from childhood grew stronger as an adult. Anything supernatural, thriller, or crime-related attracted his attention immediately. Donald Westlake’s Parker series and Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me are some of his favorite novels.
Two electrifying books that confirmed Howard’s desire to write horror were The Other by Thomas Tryon and The Rats by James Herbert. Finding his passion at a young age allowed Howard to explore the genre completely and develop his craft by writing dark fiction. Although he was imaginative and regularly penned stories, writing didn’t come naturally to him. Howard constantly studied the craft of fiction writing and editing. The skill to write stories with a strong structure and captivating plots is something he learned and practiced over the years. Howard has remained open to learning and kept improving his craft as he progressed as a writer. He says, “All education is self-education, and I’ve spent countless hours studying my profession. Besides my formal education, I’ve devoured over two hundred books on writing craft. I’m a constant student, and I hope each new piece I publish reflects that.“
Today, Lee Allen Howard is a renowned writer who specializes in genres like horror, young adult gothic, dark fantasy, and dark science fiction. He’s also fond of writing dark poetry and psychological thrillers. In 2012, he published a number of short stories, which include “Stray,” “Mixed Breed, Loves Kids” in the Hazard Yet Forward anthology, “Poor Old Soul” in the anthology Mirages: Tales from Authors of the Macabre, and his pulp horror collection, Severed Relations.
Death Perception, released in 2013, best represents his body of work and is a perfect amalgamation of horror, the supernatural, and crime fiction. The story revolves around a young man who discovers that he can discern the cause of death of those he cremates by toasting marshmallows over their ashes. It is one of his most famous books to date and is very close to his heart. The Sixth Seed, written earlier but released the same year, is a paranormal fantasy and contains some of Howard’s favorite lines.
Recently, Howard published “The Night Creatures” in Demain Publishing’s Short Sharp Shocks series (#54) and has received positive reviews by critics for his outstanding work. With his works, Howard sets an example to foster early creativity and keep the inner child alive. His top-selling novels and short stories are proof that childhood passions can be turned into paychecks.