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Amber Keller: On Childhood Nightmares

We asked Amber Keller, the author of Seeing is Believing in Childhood Nightmares: Under the Bed, what was the inspiration behind her story. Read on to see what she had to say…

The Inspiration Behind Seeing is Believing

When I was a child, I had night terrors. These were more than just your average nightmare, and they occurred almost every night. If I couldn’t sleep from them, I had another horror awaiting me. I would lay in fear, tension filling every fiber of my body, my muscles tight and sweat covering me. I stared out my bedroom door into the dimly lit hallway, waiting for the alien in the movie Alien to come and get me. It was so vivid I could hear its feet falls on the plastic cover down the hallway. I waited, breath stuck in a half way point in my chest, to see its long, skinny, silver fingers reach around my door frame. Next the elongated, plated head would slide around and then I would be history. This scene repeated itself nearly every night for a few years.

These experiences, no matter how bad they were, did not deter me from loving a good ol’ horror movie or book. In fact, it kind of fed the love. Strange isn’t it? I was not ready to throw in the towel and give in to the fear, so I would lay in my bed, night after night, waiting to see what new monster would be my companion that night.

As an adult, my love for horror continued, but the nightmares became more of a friend than an enemy. I would use my dreams to create new worlds. I sometimes kept a notebook and pen beside my bed so that if I were to wake up in the middle of the night and have a fresh memory of the nightmare, I could write it down. This notebook became very valuable indeed. Each monster had its own story, its own place. And today, the monsters keep coming to me. At night. Well, mostly.

In “Seeing is Believing”, the monster is a new one. He came to me as I read the call for submissions at Sirens Call, and in that brief moment I could see him clearly. Soon after came the main character, little Timothy. I knew immediately what would happen to him, poor dear. His monster was real. In the story I was able to live out what might have happened to me so many times all those years ago. And I completely related to his feelings of fear and dread, even the isolation.

I also wanted to show that there are other worlds, dimensions, that these nightmares occupy and the feeling of being out of control, powerless, to the nightmares. Even though a nightmare isn’t tangible, it can be very real to the person that dreams it, adult or child. Maybe instead of fearing them, we can embrace them. What would happen then? Our nightmares might become our best dreams.


Those whispered tales of monsters hiding under the bed, or of the demons lurking in the shadowy corner where we dare not glance for fear that seeing them will make them all too real. Oh, how the innocent landscape of a child’s imagination lends fertile soil to horrors ready to be sown on the slightest of sounds; the tales and the terror they wreak on our youthful minds never quite leaves us.

We asked the authors in this collection to reach into the forgotten recesses of their twisted minds and share with us the tales of nightmares that can only thrive in the hidden corners of a child’s imaginings; the bogeyman under the bed, the outlandishly fiendish creature lurking in the dark, the slight murmur of sound coming from the hall… did you close the door completely?

Explore the myriad terrors that only a child can twist from nothing into some ‘thing’ in the span of a single rapid breath. Do you dare delve into your own memories? Perhaps you’ll start sleeping with the lights on again…

Tell us, who is Under the Bed?

Contributing Authors:  Colin F. Barnes, Nina D’Arcangela, Phil Hickes, Amber Keller, Kim Krodel, Lisamarie Lamb, John McIlveen, Kate Monroe, Brandon Scott, Joshua Skye, Julianne Snow, and Jack Wallen

Pick up a copy of Childhood Nightmares: Under the Bed as either an eBook or in print format from:

eBook:  Amazon.comAmazon.ukAmazon.deAmazon.frAmazon.es,
Amazon.itSmashwords.com (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony, PDF)
Print:     Amazon.comCreatSpace.com


Seeing is Believing is a story that warns not every noise heard at night is imaginary. Here’s a longer look at Amber’s contribution to Childhood Nightmares: Under the Bed

     There it was again. A scratching noise coming from the corner. It was the middle of the night, and Timothy’s room was dark. The only light was from the waning moon outside, casting a slight silver glow around the window.

     At first Timothy had thought it was only a mouse. But now that he was wide-awake, he could tell that whatever it was had to be bigger.

     The noise continued.

     Timothy leaned over in his bed and grabbed his glasses from the nightstand. A loud scurrying noise followed and he switched on the lamp in a hurry.

     Squinting in the harsh light, Timothy looked in the direction of where the noise had been coming from.

     There was nothing there.

     He waited for a few minutes before deciding to switch off the light and go back to sleep.

     All was quiet.

     In the morning, Timothy got ready for school remembering the strange noise from the night before.

     “Mom, I think there’s a rat in my room,” Timothy said as he pushed his mushy cereal around in his bowl.

     “A rat? Did you see it?” She had stopped packing his lunch and her eyes were wide in surprise.

     “No, I heard it scratching in my room last night.”

     “I’ll get your dad to set out some traps. Go on out to the bus before it gets too late.”

     Timothy could tell she didn’t like the idea of a rat being in the house. She started talking fast and acting fidgety like she did when she was nervous about something.

     After school, he went to his room like he always did to start on homework. He saw that there was a big rat trap sitting in the corner and started to feel a little sense of relief about the whole thing.

If you’d like to know more about Amber and her writing, you can find information on her blog. Look her for contribution to Siren Call Publications’ newest anthology Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity available May 26th, 2012.

One comment on “Amber Keller: On Childhood Nightmares

  1. […] Amber Keller: On Childhood Nightmares (sirenscallpublications.wordpress.com) […]

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