THE NEXT BIG THING is a chain of book and author recommendations. One author tags five others, who then each tag five others. The idea is that we all help people out there learn about all the good stuff that’s just out or coming soon. David Wood
tagged me on his blog and now it’s my turn.
1. What is the working title of your next book?
My current work in progress is the sequel to The Curse of One-Eyed Jack. It’s called The Dirge of Briarsnare Marsh and pretty much picks up exactly where the first book ended. All those nagging questions that people have complained I didn’t answer in the first book? Some of them will be answered in this one. Heh heh…then the rest (and a few new questions posed in Dirge) will be answered in the third book of the trilogy entitled The Night of the Willow Hag. It’s all part of The Dark Hollows Mysteries and I seriously can’t wait for you guys to read them!
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
A better question would be “where did the idea come from for the Dark Hollows series?” After all, the individual book is part of the whole, right? Answer is easy…but may sound weird. Growing up in the foothills of Appalachia in Somerset, Kentucky, I fell in love with the old folktales known as “Jack Tales”. Yep…the same Jack with the Miracle Grow beans. You see, Appalachia was settled by people with strong ties to the Celts, etc and they brought over all those stories of faeries and giants and monsters and giant slayers like Jack. The people of Appalachia put their own unique spin on Jack and he became a Tom Sawyer-esque hero who often used trickery to get out of the stickiest of situations.
Well, I decided a while back that I wanted to do a modern take on the Jack character. Problem was, I had already done a Jack character with my ENIGMA Directive series, so I didn’t know exactly how to proceed. At one point, I decided to write what I called a “rural fantasy”…which is like the “urban fantasy” genre, only set in the rural south. But before I could write that, I decided I wanted to write a straight up murder mystery set around where I grew up.
So, as I started writing this Appalachian murder mystery, a weird thing started happening. I started using the folklore of the communities as a basis for the murder and found myself delving deeper into my notes I’d already written regarding the rural fantasy. The end result was a book that was neither straight-up murder mystery or rural fantasy. Instead, I had written a paranormal mystery with Appalachian folklore and superstition at its core. And it worked. Actually, I believe it worked very well (it happens to be my favorite series at the moment).
3. What genre does your book fall under?
I pretty much covered in the previous question that this particular book (series) is difficult to define. But if push came to shove, I’d call it a paranormal mystery…or a mystery with paranormal undertones.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
This is a tricky one. There’s a reason that I avoid using great detail in describing the characters in my books. I want readers to create their own image in their head. Now, there’s no doubt that I have a few actors in my head for visualizations when I created the characters…but I’m hesitant to impose my own vision onto yours.
Because of that, I’m going to avoid sharing what actor Ezekiel Crane was modeled after because it might be completely different from your own. But have no problem revealing who the character of Kiera “Kili” Brennan was inspired by: Amanda Righetti from the hit TV show The Mentalist.
Other than that, I want to keep my own choices to myself and let a potential director worry about casting if/when the book ever gets picked up for a movie (ahem…Hollywood? You listening?)
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The recent dead in Boone Creek, Kentucky, have mysteriously been resurrected and reunited with their loved ones while a sinister secret society of witchhunters strives to reset the balance of life and death by eliminating those they think responsible for bringing the dead back to life (and of course, Ezekiel Crane is their number one suspect).
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Currently working on the first draft. Right now, I’m on chapter 5. However, by design, these books are much shorter than my other series (The ENIGMA Directive). The Dark Hollows Mysteries typically will always be around 65,000 to 70,000 words and only about fifteen to twenty chapters each. So, as you can see, it really shouldn’t take much longer.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Ooooh, not a big fan of this question because it makes me sound as though I assume my books are as GOOD as these. I’d never be so presumptuous. However, as a couple of reviewers have pointed out about The Curse of One-Eyed Jack, the protagonist, Ezekiel Crane, reminds many of Agent Aloysius Pendergast of the Preston and Child novels. Since I’m a huge fan of Pendergast, I’d say that there is a considerable amount of Crane that was most definitely inspired by the intrepid FBI agent. The stories themselves tend to lend themselves to a typical Pendergast type investigation too, I might add.
By that, I mean, the murders/crimes/mysteries that Crane investigates aren’t always what one might call normal (hence, the term “paranormal”).
Another series of books that I could probably see a similarity in would be Terry Brooks’ Word and the Void series.
Other similarities? Well, these aren’t books, but if you’re a fan of TV series like American Gothic (from the early 90s), Haven, or Justified…you might just like these books too.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I think I’ve covered much of this ad nauseam. However, if you’ve read the print edition of One-Eyed Jack, you might be curious about the Dedication. Here’s what it says: “To Granny Morrow, whose use of mountain medicine (and tobacco juice) on me as a young boy inspired this story.”
Well, when it’s said and done the entire series is based upon one particular event that happened to me when I was a kid…an event that was described fictionally in One-Eyed Jack. Long story short, I got stung by a bee. It hurt bad. It was my first bee sting and I didn’t like. Now there was this little old lady who lived next door to us. Everyone called her Granny. She was your typical hillbilly old crone who’d often sit on her porch and chew tobacco. She was also knowledgeable in “mountain magic.” Anyway, I was crying. Granny called me over to where she sat, pulled out a wad of tobacco she’d been chewing, and squeezed the tobacco juice all over that sting. Instantly, the pain was gone. The swelling subsided. And I was completely better within thirty minutes.
That event stuck with me all my life…and it ultimately is what led to The Dark Hollows stories being written.
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Ultimately, if you enjoy a true mind-bending mystery edged with superstition and folklore and, oddly enough, science…a mystery that allows you, as the reader to decide for yourself whether the paranormal elements are real or not, then you’d really enjoy this book.
For you fans of zombie stories, The Dirge of Briarsnare Marsh is going to present a new type of zombie. Something completely different. And to my knowledge, the origin of these resurrected people…the way they are raised from the dead…is completely unique. But don’t freak out with the word “zombie”! Some of you might be turned off from that word or think it’s too silly. Trust me on this. A) The Dirge of Briarsnare Marsh is not a zombie story. B) If there could ever be a such thing as zombies in the real world, these are what they’d be like. Trust me. As with the first book, the second one promises to have that perfect blend of science and magic all rolled into one.
Now, my portion is finished and I now tag the following authors:
Next week, on Wednesday, December 12th, they will be posting their own answers to these questions. I’d really appreciate you guys supporting my friends by clicking on their names and visiting their blogs to see how they answered it! I’d really appreciate it if you would click on David Wood’s link at the start of this post (if you haven’t already seen it). This post is all about making you guys aware of some awesome new books that are coming out soon and it only works if you participate by clicking on their links!
Thanks guys! Hope I’ve picked your interest in The Dirge of Briarsnare Marsh and the other Dark Hollows Mysteries.