Hollywood TV giant comes knocking for feminist horror stories as Glaswegian writer unleashes inner fears

Kirsty Logan set out to explore what really frightened her
Kirsty Logan set out to explore what really frightened her
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A Glaswegian writer has had a new collection of feminist horror stories snapped up by one of the biggest film and TV giants in Hollywood.

Bad Robot, the makers of the most recent Star Wars and Star Trek films, secured the exclusive rights to adapt Kirsty Logan’s book Things We Say In The Dark before it was even published, earlier this month.

It is the first horror book to be released by Logan, who made her publishing debut five years ago and was named one of Britain’s top ten LGBTQ writers earlier this year.

Billed as an exploration of women’s fears, Things We Say In The Dark ranges from “vicious fairy tales to disturbing horror and tender ghost stories”, according to its publishers.

Logan told her social media followers last week that the book had been “optioned” for a TV adaptation by Bad Robot, whose previous series have included Lost, Alias, Fringe and Westworld.

Logan, who spent several years working as a bookseller in Ottakar’s and Waterstones stores in Glasgow, has also volunteered in an Oxfam bookshop in the city’s south side. She had previously worked in a call centre, a grocer’s and as a waitress in the city while trying to get her writing career off the ground.

Logan was the first recipient of the Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship, set up by Creative Scotland to help support new writing talent, in 2013 and published her first book, short story collection The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales, in 2014. She has released another four books - two short story collections and two novels - before the release of Things We Say In The Dark.

She said: “The book came about because I wanted to explore what I was really afraid of. I love horror. I love all the tropes. If it has ghosts, demons, monsters or serial killers I am there. But I’m not really scared of those things.

“For this book I thought: ‘You’re not allowed any of the cliches. You have to write about what you are actually really afraid of and things that you don’t even want to admit to yourself that you’re afraid of. It’s not a very long book, but it took about two years to write. It’s quite an intense thing to do, to sit down at your desk every day, rip off your skin and tell everyone what you’re really scared of. But I felt I really needed to do it.

“I wasn’t thinking about a TV adaptation at all when I was writing it. It was quite the opposite. I actually thought when I was writing it that it was going to be the least likely of my books to be adapted.

“It is a book of short stories and all you ever hear is how nobody is interested in short stories, which I don’t believe is true. It is also horror, which is a bit of a genre shift for me. It is really dark compared to my other work. I thought: ‘This book is not going to be of interest to anyone but it is important for me to write it - it’s what I need to do next and what I need to say.’

“When I was writing it I did think: ‘Am I making a horrible mistake? Is this going to destroy my career?’ I had no idea this was going to be the one. I was completely baffled. As I writer, all you are in control of are the actual words on the page. All you can do is write it, put it out into the world and hope for the best.”

Logan, whose book has been published during a resurgence in horror literature, film and television, cited the recent Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House and Chambers as two her own recent favourites.

She added: “Horror has always been popular, but I think it is popular in different ways now, because there are so many different types of horror.

“The idea of horror commenting on society and how things are in the world at the moment is going to be the next big thing.

“We’re also going to see a lot more horror about the female experience and uniquely female concerns to do with their bodies, lives and experience. I think there’s going to be a lot more of that and I’m very excited about it.

“Women’s voices and LGBT voices are really being highlighted in Hollywood now. I don’t think the book would have had Hollywood interest 20 years ago. Every single women and LGBT person who succeeds in Hollywood just now is making it easier for the next person who comes along.”