The Next Big Thing

There's a blog event that’s been going around among writers – actually it’s being referred to as a blog meme – a new name which I had thought was a nonsense word for making funny viral videos, but as I write the word it occurs to me now: meme, self-promotion (“me! me!”)... ah, I get it. I’m getting on in years, takes me a while... where was I? Well, this one’s called "The Next Big Thing." Authors are blogging answers to ten quick questions, then tagging up to 5 other authors they think readers should know about. The whole idea is to create a network through social media, drawing new readers through blog readerships, etc. Kevin Lucia ( tagged me in his post last week, and now it’s my turn. Thing is, this has been going on for a little while now and most writers I know have been tagged or simply never read their emails (Of course, being sick for over 2 weeks didn’t help matters in regard to contacting folks), so I’ve only one writer to share with you today - ironically he is the first person I thought of and asked, so I'm psyched about that.

Still, L.L. Soares ( is an amazing talent and I’m psyched to be able to “tag” him. His first novel, Life Rage, has just been released and I’m actually reading it now. Its a strong, dark tale, full of the rage Lauran’s known for in much of his writing. I’m hoping this book with get his name out there, his work compared to the likes of Jack Ketchum. I’m already thinking this way early in the book. It’s not surprising because he’s always been a strong writer, covering the gamut from the dark and violent to the tender and poetic. He and I collaborated on a short story for Cemetery Dance Magazine a while back and even have done a novella together. Lastly, be sure to check out the review site Cinema Knife Fight he co-edits with Michael Arruda.

So, I need to answer some questions for you:

1) What is the title of your next book/work?

My next release is titled Plague of Darkness. You’ve probably heard mention of it over the years in my posts. I’ve been editing it from line one to ‘the end’ quite a few times, and it’s almost ready to make it’s appearance, probably early next year.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book/work?

Quite a few years back, when I was attending the Catholic church in town, the parish was having a dedication / consecration ceremony on its 40th anniversary. Seems the Catholic church (among other denominations) won’t fully consecrate (make holy with a ritual ceremony) a building unless they own it. If there’s a mortgage, then the bank owns it. Long story short, we crammed into the small church for the ceremony. As it went on I began to imagine what would happen if all the stained glass windows went black and we were trapped inside. The next day I was telling someone at work about the service, and he asked if churches ever deconsecrate a building. I didn’t know – but I assumed so (they do). Of course, deconsecrating a church might cause the windows to turn black.... A year or so later I was considering some new novels to write and this image kept coming to mind. I closed my eyes and opened the Bible to a random page and pointed (as I had done with Solomon’s Grave) and my finger landed on the story of the Plague of Darkness in Exodus.... I knew I had my story.

3) What genre does your book/work fall under?

I’d say it falls under horror or suspense, but with a biblical theme like Solomon’s Grave or Margaret’s Ark. This one is a bit darker than the previous two, but I have to admit, it’s an original.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

No clue on this one. I have my own images of what the characters look like. At least one, a teenager named Gem, is based on an actual person I knew years ago. But casting the movie... too early to even muse on that.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

People hide their secrets in the dark, but sometimes that same darkness will bring them to light.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Oh, I’m done with agents for a while. I actually had this book with a major NY agent for a while. It was an honor to be ignored by an NY agent instread of my previous agent. Not. And going with the small press doesn’t appeal to me, considering I’ve been fairly successful with Margaret’s Ark on my own. I’ll probably put Plague of Darkness out via my own Other Road Press imprint unless something comes up beforehand.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About a year, but it’s gone through somewhere around twelve rewrites since then.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I was worried when Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker came out with their House while I was writing Plague, but that ended up seems to be a completely different book. Same genre, though. It’s a haunted house story, using a biblical theme as it’s basis, and with a unique kind of haunting.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I think all that was covered above, but I was inspired after finishing Solomon’s Grave to do another biblical-based horror novel (Solomon was written after Margaret’s Ark, though published first).

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

As with most of my books, the characters have to be real and the book needs to be about them. In this case, there are five characters (four in the house but a fifth who had a lot of influence on their past lives) who need to be as real as I could make them because their stories, their secrets, is what builds the book. I did a lot of research, for example, on the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot’s reign of terror, even interviewed someone who lived in that era in Cambodia to flesh the story of Seyha Watts. The above mentioned fifth character, Ray Lindu, was more a side reference when I wrote the first couple of drafts, but over revisions he became a more terrible person, to the point that the entire story changed when he changed. It was an interesting process. Have to admit, this book took forever to finish. It kept 'morphing into something else when I wasn’t paying attention.


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