Today’s post is a bit special. Please welcome our talented writer Eric Turowski.
Title: Inhuman Interest (Story by Tess Cooper #1)
Author: Eric Turowski
Description: Thirteen words in a want-ad turn Tess Cooper’s world upside down after she signs on as a paranormal research assistant to the mysterious Davin Egypt. He reveals a world of grave robbing, clockworks artifacts in blue amber, antique revolvers that fire strange ammo, and powerful forces beyond human comprehension.
As ancient occult energies threaten to destroy her city, Tess must use her journalistic instincts to stay one step ahead of the public works director, Drew Dawson, whose agenda seems bent on destruction rather than maintenance. And possibly murder, but will anyone believe her?
Yeah, right. When garbage trucks fly.
If Tess teams up with the hunky police lieutenant, Kirk Gunther, and the pale, oddball Mr. Egypt, they might be able to save the city in time. That is, if Egypt even wants to. And if Tess overcomes her phobias long enough to do battle in Granddad’s 1983 Subaru Brat.
Things are about to get icky.”
How does a book about the inability of the Western mind to successfully cope with paranormal phenomena due to the cultural blinkers of Science and Christianity sound? Really, really boring, right? Well, you’re in luck. I didn’t write that book.
While I like the idea that the unknown remains so due to the culture we live in, some dry, vaguely philosophical oeuvre didn’t seem like a book that would attract many readers. Probably rightly so. I could’ve gone on and on about how our belief in the strange hinges on what we can measure, collect and quantify; or what we can (or cannot) shoehorn into a belief system.
Instead, I wrote Inhuman Interest: Story by Tess Cooper. Tess is a reporter, a skeptic, and frequently clumsy. Her new boss, Davin Egypt, is an occult researcher, didactic, and consistently spooky. Together, they investigate bizarre events that threaten to destroy their city. Tess wants to stop it. Egypt just wants to observe it.
I chose a zany, scary, fun quick-read thriller for a bunch of reasons. The first reason is kinda dumb. My friend Julia Park Tracey sent me an e-mail: “Write a short, snappy novel in February and we’ll promote it in May. It’s a thing,” she said. Prior to this, Julia had offered other insane-o ideas. “Write an entire novel in November. It’s a thing.”That thing turned out to be NaNoWriMo, and I wrote Willing Servants, my first novel, which got snapped up by a publisher. So despite my usual misgivings, I went ahead and did it. Dumb? Yeah, dumb like a fox!
The second reason is that my first professional sale was “Thingies in the Hills,” a short science fiction horror story told from the point of view of a teenage girl. It was easy to write, it was fun to write, it got sold for pro rates, it only took a couple days. It was funny, and scary, and snappy. I wanted to try it again, in a longer work.
The most important reason was that I wanted to write something accessible to a broad spectrum of readers. I learned the hard way that straight horror is not for everyone. As I proudly hawked my first novel, a young guitar student of mine wanted to read it. She was thirteen at the time, and while I thought she could handle it just fine, I didn’t want an angry call from her parents. I told her to read it when she turned eighteen. I didn’t want to write books I couldn’t recommend to everyone. So I picked two of the most popular writers, and mashed their stuff together.
In this case, I chose the unlikely pairing of Janet Evanovich and Stephen King. They’re not as different as would appear from the high concept. One writes about crime in a Trenton, NJ suburb, the other about horror in small town Maine, both write character-driven novels, both are hugely successful, and, c’mon, is it really that hard to imaging Stephanie Plum picking up a skip in ’Salem’s Lot?
Hopefully, the big takeaway, other than plain old fun, is that readers consider the occult in a new way, argue with my undefined version of the paranormal, and consider their own stand on things beyond comprehension. That, and that you’re dying to read the next one.
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Have a great day!
Happy Scary Reading!