So you’ve read PANDORA (or you’re planning on it): but get ready, because my next book is going to be darker, gorier, freakier, crazier, and all around more intense. It’s currently in its second revision, but here’s an exclusive first look at the most haunting and weird thing I’ve ever written.
“The Next Big Thing” is a post that many other indie writers have been doing lately. I was asked to participate by fellow horror writer Wesley Southard, who did his post last week. Go check it out!
What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I gave myself a challenge: write the scariest book in the world. What would happen in that book? I considered some of the most horrific settings and circumstances. An image took hold of my mind: a creepy old cemetery on a hill, the headstones cracked and crooked. The gate to the graveyard is broken, and its name has been forgotten—so the people just call it Hillyard.
I also wondered what it would be like to be trapped underneath the cemetery, in catacombs that stretch down through the earth… to be trapped down there with a dead person attached to you…
After I started writing the book, I realized that it was not going to be the scariest book in the world. Well, it might be, but such a definition is impossible to make when fear is so subjective. I realized that, instead of writing “the scariest book in the world”, I’d written something wholly original, gruesome, and chilling. At the very least, it wasn’t like any book that I had ever read or written before.
What genre does your book fall under?
Under the overarching banner of Horror, it might be classified as Supernatural, Psychological, Literary, even Zombie if you squint… take your pick!
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I couldn’t really say what actor might be best to play these roles; I can say that they are each quite distinctive in their appearances, so any actor would have to make a transformation to become one of them anyway.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A conjoined twin is buried alive beneath a magical cemetery on a hill, where all the town freaks end up and where lies a rumored gate to Hell.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I don’t plan to self-publish, but it is a very strange book. It’s hard to say who will be interested. I can’t predict the road ahead.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I’ve been in the process of writing Hillyard for a while. The initial idea gave me a frenzy of inspiration, and I wrote the first section of the book shortly after. I wasn’t sure where it should go from there, so I moved on to other things and left the unfinished manuscript for a year or two. When I came back to it, I had fresh ideas in mind and went about actually outlining the plot.
The final three sections of the book were harder to write than the first; they came in starts and stops, and I had to go back multiple times to insert new sections and rearrange others. Finally, when I had revised the first section many times and resolved the other plotlines I’d woven in, I finished the first draft.
I can’t help writing like that sometimes: revising while I write. It was certainly an interesting and rather schizophrenic approach to writing a book, which I’m not sure I care to repeat—then again, perhaps that was the perfect method for this odd piece of literature.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Parts of it make me think of Neverland by Douglas Clegg: mainly the idea of children getting caught up in horrific supernatural circumstances. It also falls in that strange category of novels with children protagonists that aren’t at all meant to be read by children.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
See answer to question 2.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The main characters are a pair of twins conjoined from the shoulders down, i.e.: two heads sharing one body. What if one of them died?