Storytelling is one of the oldest pastimes in human history and one which the Internet has impacted in the most positive ways. At present, it is easier than ever for writers to share their stories with audiences around the world. As translation tools become more commonplace and accurate the global nature of storytelling is growing and, subsequently, it is also becoming easier for authors to find ways to see their work in print.
Shadows at the Door is a website that doubles as an online publishing company. Shadows at the Door enables writers to submit horror-themed work, free of charge, and see it printed and enjoyed by others provided that it is up to quality standards. What’s more, Shadows at the Door also offers “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories that enable readers to follow different plotlines depending on where they choose to “go” within the stories. Tales with such multiple options work as a sort of game where readers are determined to keep reading over and over (“playing again”) until they have found all possible outcomes, be they good or bad.
Recently, Shadows at the Door founder Mark Nixon spoke with the Examiner about his experiences managing the website:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): What inspired you to start Shadow at the Door and why was that name chosen?
Mark Nixon (M.N.): Shadows at the Door began simply as a desire to tell a story (a ghost story specifically) and this proved more popular than I expected and so very quickly the online library began and other writers joined the fold. In regard to the name, I used to live on my own in a house that is over 100 year old. The movements of the house often caused the doors to open on their own. I should mention that the house stands next to a graveyard, so I used to tease myself imagining what things in the darkness were opening the doors! Thus the name, Shadows at the Door.
M.M.: What genres does Shadow at the Door publish?
M.N.: We publish the broadly defined genre of horror. Initially we stuck mainly to ghost stories but work of other sub-genres started coming in that really struck a chord with us. Now we are interested in anything short of excess gore and/or sex.
M.M.: Your website claims your stories enable people to “Choose Your Own Adventure.” How, exactly, does that work?
M.N.: We have a small selection of “Choose Your Own Adventure” as part of our collection. There are two fully interactive stories on the site, harkening back to the days of Goosebumps and similar. As you’d expect, these stories are very much tongue-in-cheek but are quite fun. In the near future, we do have some more serious takes on this style coming – so watch this space.
M.M.: Does Shadow at the Door accept submissions from authors without agents?
M.N.: As well as providing the reader with a fantastic horror experience, our mission is also promote the work and boost the career of our writers – both new and established. As such, we strongly encourage writers without an agent to submit.
M.M.: Out of all the stories you have produced has one been especially successful?
M.N.: Although many of our stories have become fan favorites, “Leave a Light On For Me” has enjoyed particular success. This story features a professor who travels to Northumberland in England after being called to authenticate an ancient lantern. I won’t ruin the story by going further, but readers have really identified with the protagonist and maybe that’s why the story has become as popular as it has.
M.M.: Where do you hope Shadow at the Door will be ten years from now?
M.N.: I’d like to see Shadows at the Door become a fully-fledged publishing house, in addition to hosting free stories on the site like we do now.
M.M.: Are there any upcoming projects and/or events that you would like to mention?
M.N.: As a matter of fact, work has begun on a printed anthology of new ghost stories from some of the popular writer’s on the site; this first book will be crowdfunded and will hopefully be the first step of brining Shadows at the Door to bookshelves.
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To learn more about Shadows at the Door visit the company’s official website and Twitter.