The horror aspects of Birth Offering are obvious. I've been a horror fan most of my life. The origin may stem from the first time I found my brother’s toy dinosaurs arranged in a diorama on the floor. I became fascinated with dinosaurs (and that fascination has never left me). Movies from the ‘50s and ‘60s about dinosaurs attacking and laying waste to cities were my favorites. Gorgo is my all-time favorite, mostly because the dinosaur and her baby live at the end (sorry if this proves to be a spoiler for someone). My interest in dinosaur movies quickly generalized to monster movies and then to other forms of horror movies. The transition was rather quick if I recall correctly, and I was known as the weird kid who liked scary movies at a fairly young age.
I found myself being drawn to stories that had kids as characters, especially if they were the monsters or ghosts (hence my interest in the “creepy kid” sub-genre of horror). Although, having a kid as the hero or a main protagonist worked for me as well. I can pinpoint three events that may have swayed me in this direction. The first was seeing the trailer for the Village of the Damned on TV when I was 6 years old in 1960. As I’ve written before, that scared the daylights out of me while at the same time thrilling me to no end. Second, I became a huge fan of horror novels when I read The Other by Thomas Tryon and The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty when these novels were released in the early 1970s. These novels portrayed what I feel are the quintessential creepy kids in horror fiction.
My career path also explains a lot. I majored in psychology in college and then went on to obtain my PhD in psychology. My life as a psychologist has focused almost entirely on child and adolescent issues. As an undergraduate, I became enthralled with the processes involved in human development in the first 18 years of life. The emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and physiological changes during these first two decades were astounding, and I found the research literature to be absorbing. After I obtained my PhD, my research program and counseling experience has all been with teenagers, with topical issues ranging from conduct problems, stress management issues, and living with chronic health conditions. So, with a career path that involved studying kids, the interest in them as horror material kind of tagged along. As a side note, I think that having kids as characters is a simple (and some may say “cheap”) way to increase the chills and danger in a story. No one wants to see kids hurt, and if they are the source of the trouble (that is, they are the creepy kids), the tension level is already multiplied before the plot completely unfolds.