Brian Moreland Discusses How His Female Lead Character Overcomes Her Fears in The Witching House

This weekend I have a one-of-a-kind guest post by the superlicious horror author Brian Moreland (you’ll find that article below after my ramblings). He’s previously written the well-received Dead of Winter and Shadows in the Mist, but currently is preparing to release The Witching House novella. The prequel short story The Girl from the Blood Coven is available now, FREE!  You can see more in the details following the post.


I’ve read them both already (yes, a review of TWH is to come soon and you can see my thoughts on TGBC HERE) and I can tell you that just as you’ll read in this guest post about Sarah confronting her fears, I’ve also come a long way in confronting my horror reading fears. I’ve always been almost frozen by basements. To this day, I shut the door hard and fast and RUN, especially at night. I don’t like what lurks there, even if it’s only in my mind.

When I first met Brian years ago, I told him I don’t read much horror. He convinced me to try it (at least his!!), but I told him I could never read at night. My throat would get tight, I wouldn’t sleep, I’d shake. Unfortunately, I do most of my reading at night, so I couldn’t get much accomplished.  However, I liked the subjects so much and began to see how good can shine through the bad and grew to love the characters overcoming great odds. I made myself get over my fear of reading scary books at night. Now I read them all the time and I love the adrenaline rush! I’m almost cured. Of course, I won’t go near my basement in the dark….but hey, it’s a start!

So that all said, I can commiserate with Sarah being afraid. As Brian will relate to her with overcoming fear of heights, I’m relating to her fear of basements…..and in The Witching House…darn it if Brian wouldn’t make me address my worst fears!!! The basement at my parent’s home, which was my grandparent’s home…with a deep dark basement, canned foods, cellar doors, and shelves just perfect for digging holes under!!! But guess what, I read it and I read it at night AND I loved it. But you won’t catch me anywhere near my childhood basement anytime soon!

I’ve hijacked my own blog and stolen Brian’s thunder…so without me saying anymore, enjoy Brian’s post about his female protagonist, Sarah, as he gives us some background on her life and fears. And look forward to some fun and informative posts throughout July leading up to a big online launch party for The Witching House release on August 6!


How Sarah Donovan Confronts Her Fears: Trivia and Tidbits
by Brian Moreland, Author of The Witching House (out August 6, 2013)

 Here’s a little trivia about my latest horror novella The Witching House, set in the backwoods of East Texas. My main character is Sarah Donovan, a young woman who has recently ended a bad marriage. The ten years she had been married to her husband, Barry, Sarah’s life lacked adventure. Partly because her husband had been a complete couch potato, and partly because Sarah had a lot of fears–heights, tight places, the dark. She’s the kind of woman who wants to be adventurous, but needs to be pushed to try daring things.

Then she starts dating Dean Stratton, a man who is completely the opposite of her ex. Dean is a rugged outdoorsman, likes to jump out of airplanes, go rock climbing, scuba diving, and explore old buildings, especially haunted ones. His friends Casey and Meg are also adrenaline junkies who live for the thrill of adventure, which makes Sarah the weakest link of the two couples. The Witching House is essentially a horror story about a double-date that turns to terror when they choose to enter a boarded-up house in the woods that’s occupied by a creature living down in the basement.

The Witching House is a very different book from my previous novels. First, it’s set in present day, while my novels Shadows in the Mist and Dead of Winter are both historical, based on real events. Writing a contemporary story made it much easier to write, because I didn’t have to do very much research. I could just have fun writing the story without having to think about historical accuracy on their dialect, clothes, weapons, culture etc. I decided to write The Witching House like a good old fashioned 1970’s monster movie, a non-stop scary ride in a haunted house.

Sarah Donovan is also my first female protagonist in a long-form book. Her last name “Donovan” makes her a cousin to Gayle Donovan, a character from an earlier version of my upcoming novel The Devil’s Woods. Unfortunately, Gayle eventually got cut from that story, but she’s currently auditioning for a future book.

In my witch book, we learn that Sarah’s grandmother practices Wicca. I added this detail much later after interviewing a friend of mine, who is a real-life Wiccan. She told me the differences between white magick and black magick, and this inspired me to create Sarah’s grandmother, Nana, as a Wiccan who practices white magick and becomes Sarah’s moral compass when she confronts the evil inside the Witching House. By the way, both my grandmothers were called Nana, so the name is dear to my heart.

Sarah’s boyfriend, Dean Stratton, is the quintessential man’s man I have always longed to be–strong, confidant and good looking. I’ve done my share of rock climbing, cave exploring, zip lines, kayaking and white river rafting, but Dean’s life is all about adventure and adrenaline. He’s much, much bolder than me. He’s jumped out of an airplane, for God’s sakes. I once came close to letting a friend talk me into jumping out of a plane while on a trip down in New Zealand. Right before buying our tickets to do a skydiving excursion that I was certain would lead to my death-by-parachute-not-opening, we both chickened out and went bungee jumping instead. That was still terrifying as hell, but at least it was over a river.

While I do have somewhat of an adventurous side, I can relate to Sarah as well. As a kid growing up I was terrified of the dark, got claustrophobic easily, and experienced vertigo whenever I was anywhere near a ledge overlooking a steep drop. I wouldn’t even go out on a balcony of a high-rise building. I have since confronted each of those fears and gotten a handle on them, but while writing Sarah’s character I went back into my childhood days and tapped into those fears.

Now as Sarah follows Dean, Casey and Meg into a haunted house that had once been home to a coven of witches, Sarah gets to confront her own fears and discover there’s nothing quiet as scary as the thing living down in the basement.

Author Brian Moreland, Biography~

368_Facebook_authorBrian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. His first two novels, Dead of Winter and Shadows in the Mist, are now available. His upcoming novella, The Witching House, will release August 2013, and novel The Devil’s Woods will release December 2013. He loves hiking, kayaking, watching sports, dancing, and eating cookies. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror novel. You can communicate with him online at


Twitter: @BrianMoreland


Brian’s Horror Fiction blog:

Coaching for Writers blog:

The Girl from the Blood Coven, Short Story, Synopsis~
Samhain Publishing, Horror, July 2, 2013

Girl from the Blood Coven - Scott's versionThe Girl from the Blood Coven is a short story prelude to The Witching House. It’s the year 1972. Sheriff Travis Keagan is enjoying a beer at the local roadhouse, when a blood-soaked girl enters the bar. Terrified and trembling, Abigail Blackwood claims her entire family was massacred at the hippy commune in the woods.

Sheriff Keagan knows that Abigail’s “family” is a coven of witches that inhabit the Blevins house. They’ve been rumored to be practicing blood sacrifices and black magic. When the sheriff and his deputies investigate the alleged murders, they discover what happened at the Blevins house is more horrific than they ever imagined.


Download The Girl from the Blood Coven at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Samhain Horror.


Pre-order The Witching House at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Samhain Horror. ON sale for special pre-order price for limited time only!

The Witching House, Synopsis~

200_Witching_House_smallSome houses should be left alone.

In 1972, twenty-five people were brutally murdered in one of the bloodiest massacres in Texas history. The mystery of who committed the killings remains unsolved.

Forty years later, Sarah Donovan is dating an exciting man, Dean Stratton. Sarah’s scared of just about everything—heights, tight places, the dark—but today she must confront all her fears, as she joins Dean and another couple on an exploring adventure. The old abandoned Blevins House, the scene of the gruesome massacre, is rumored to be haunted.

The two couples are about to discover the mysterious house has been waiting all these years, craving fresh prey. And down in the cellar they will encounter a monstrous creature that hungers for more than just human flesh.


Filed under Book Reviews, Feature Articles, Guest Posts

4 responses to “Brian Moreland Discusses How His Female Lead Character Overcomes Her Fears in The Witching House

  1. Brian Moreland is one of my very favorite authors!!! I LOVE a Horror story set in the 1970’s. I am excited to read the prequel. Keep writing, creeping into the attics of people’s minds, slithering down the household name beam and being a TOTAL part of our Horror Worlds….ahhhhhhh wicked nice!!!


  2. brianmoreland

    Erin, thanks for writing such a wonderful set up to my article. Your book blog is one of my favorites.


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