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writing horror

Celebrating Women in Horror with Kelli A. Wilkins

- book spotlight

Hi everyone,

Valentine’s Day is officially over, and if you’ve had your fill of love and romance for a while, why not curl up with a horror story?

As you may know, February is “Women in Horror” month and March is Women’s History Month. To celebrate both months, I’m blogging about my “disturbing” novella, Nightmare in the North and my 2023 horror/thriller The Route 9 Killer.

Nightmare in the North is a cautionary tale about traveling alone in the winter and trusting strangers.


kelli wilkins

Stranded during a violent blizzard, Mark hikes to the only house nearby. George, a well-mannered University professor, welcomes Mark and gives him shelter from the storm.

By morning, Mark suspects that everything isn’t what it seems. George’s adult daughter, Kate, who also lives in the house, shares a disturbing and unsettling tale. When questioned, George insists that Kate has a psychological issue and can’t be trusted to tell the truth.

Mark quickly finds himself caught in a game of cat and mouse. Who should he believe? Is Kate’s desperate plea for help sincere? Should he be suspicious of George? Or are both of them plotting something together?

Isolated from everyone, Mark is forced to wait out the storm—and find a way to escape—if he hopes to make it out alive.


So… how did this novella come about? Believe it or not, I wrote a version of this story for my eighth grade English class. The assignment was to write a short story – and boy, did I! The original version was much shorter and less detailed, but the basic premise was there. I’m not sure what my English teacher thought when she read it, but I got an A.

I grew up in upstate New York where winters can be brutal and last a long time. It can be an isolated place, and sometimes you could be snowed in for days. I decided to use that as the backdrop to the story, throw in some strange characters, and add a little mystery. After I submitted the story for my English class, I pretty much forgot about it.

Then, in January of 2018 I drove to Vermont in a snowstorm. I was in the car for 12 hours, and naturally, my mind started to wander… I wanted to write a new horror story, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write. As I was driving, I thought back to the original story and decided to rewrite it – to tell the story the way it needed to be told.

I changed the opening, moved the setting to Vermont, and filled in all the details and backstory that set the tone. The ending of the new version is slightly different from the original, but it’s not off by much. I added an epilogue (of sorts) to the end, and spent about twenty minutes getting the last line just right. After reading Nightmare in the North, my husband said it was well written and it drew you in, but it was “twisted” and “disturbing” – I consider that high praise!

Order Nightmare in the North here:


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The Route 9 Killer was released in 2023, and it’s been a long time coming. Years ago I had an idea for a serial killer/thriller story that was sparked by something simple: I was driving somewhere and saw a woman’s shoe lying in the road.

I started wondering about the shoe and then an idea hit me. It was a simple “What if…” premise: What if a woman was abducted and the only evidence left behind was her shoe in the road? I bounced this idea off of a few people, and they scoffed. “Who cares about a shoe? Why would anything think someone was abducted based on a shoe?” But, when I explained my story idea, they were intrigued.

As the title implies, the book is a mystery/thriller involving a serial killer. The hero, Detective Jim Rourke, thinks he’s discovered a serial killer operating in Central New Jersey. The only problem is, nobody believes him. The women are abducted from different towns in the same county, and their bodies are dumped in different towns in another county. This makes it hard for the police to connect the crimes or even see a pattern. To them, the killings are random.

See if you can solve the mystery of…

The Route 9 Killer

kelli wilkinsDetective Jim Rourke suspects a serial killer is hunting women in Central New Jersey. The victims are held captive, brutalized, then murdered and dumped along deserted stretches of Route 9.

There’s no physical evidence, no witnesses, and the killer is smart enough to leave no clues.

Rourke is alone on a manhunt, and time is running out. Eight victims have already fallen prey to this madman.

Can Rourke catch the killer and rescue the next victim before it’s too late?

Order your copy here:


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Read reviews here:

If you’ve read the book and loved it, please post a positive review online (no spoilers, please!).

I hope you enjoyed a look at my horror stories. If you love to be scared (or at least slightly creeped out) be sure to visit the “Horror, Mystery & More” section of my site to read about my other spooky stories.

Happy Reading!

Kelli A. Wilkins



Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, and 6 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

In 2023, she released The Route 9 Killer, a mystery/thriller set in Central NJ. Her paranormal/mystery romance, In Another World, was published in 2022.

Follow Kelli on her Facebook author page: and visit her website/blog for a full title list and social media links.