I’d like to welcome Kindle Scout winner Norman Prentiss to the blog! Norman’s book, Odd Adventures with your Other Father was released on 31st May 2016 and has been gathering awesome reviews ever since. If you like horror, fantasy, LGBT and a dash of romance then you need to check it out! So over to Norman for some more info on his inspiration for the book and maybe a sneak peek…
Norman: Thank you for having me Debbie.
Debbie: Thanks for coming. I’d love to know what inspired Odd Adventures with your Other Father.
Norman: I’ve had the initial concept for the book for quite a while, with an early story idea called “Union” that I made notes on almost a dozen years ago. I made the notes on my Palm Pilot, if that’s any indication of the era, ha!
The idea of “Union” had to do with a gay couple who couldn’t get married, but had a kind of telepathic link as compensation for the restriction to their legal/social status. Since I mostly write horror stories, the story veered in the direction of a kidnapping, with one partner trying to locate the other via a series of gruesome supernatural/telepathic clues.
My initial inspiration actually came from the ending of JANE EYRE, when Jane gets a kind of telepathic “phone call” from her soul-mate Mr. Rochester. She hears a voice calling her name, but he’s not in the room: “It was the voice of a human being — a known, loved, well-remembered voice — that of Edward Fairfax Rochester; and it spoke in pain and woe, wildly, eerily, urgently.” I always loved that moment in the book, since it’s the one definite supernatural event in a novel that hints of ghostly mysteries throughout. And the idea that intense or troubled romance could magnify a couple’s connection, making it supernatural, always stayed with me.
I never finished “Union,” but much later began writing other stories with a similar concept, featuring Jack and Shawn, a young gay couple. These road-trip adventures all take place in the 1980s–one with a succubus, one with a town of strange inhabitants, and one with a homunculus that embodied a character’s homophobia–and these formed the basis for ODD ADVENTURES WITH YOUR OTHER FATHER. I built a frame story that takes place in the present day, connecting these adventures as Jack and Shawn’s daughter tries to find out more about her parents, and the novel was almost complete.
But something was missing. I realized I needed an “origin” story, to show how Jack first got his version of telepathic powers (borrowed from Mr. Rochester). So I ended up writing “Union” after all, a dozen years later, although it’s revised title is “Bread Crumbs.”
It was a real challenge putting the whole book together. In addition to being a mix of genres (Horror, Fantasy, LGBT road-trip adventure, and a Romance of sorts) it also has an unusual structure of 4 inter-related stories, woven together by the daughter’s own odd adventure. I’m really happy with how it turned out, though: I think Celia’s story gives a different kind of emotional depth to her fathers’ exploits in the 1980s.
Debbie: Wow, it must have felt awesome to finally bring it all together like that. Any chance of a sneak peek?
Norman: Sure. Here’s a brief excerpt from earlier in the book, in the “Bread Crumbs” adventure, after Jack’s been abducted. Shawn has recently learned that Jack can project images into his mind. It’s a shared bond, but also a kind of curse, since Jack can only project disturbing images. This excerpt also conveys some of the interaction with the daughter, Celia, while Shawn narrates the stories:
I crawled blind, scraping forward along my stomach, elbows out and legs bent to scoot me forward. I expected the roof of the tunnel to open up once I’d crawled and slid forward a few feet. The ground opened up instead.
I felt the drop-off with my hands, the slide of the tunnel breaking away along a rough ledge. I dug behind with my toes to keep from sliding further, then paused for my eyes to adjust to the limited light.
The ledge formed the lip of a small pit. The distance wasn’t too far—about ten feet or so, and if I twisted my body as I emerged from the tunnel, I could probably land without hurting myself.
Only one problem. Spikes pointed up from the floor of the pit. Blood gleamed from the sharp tips of two dozen wooden spears. The carcass of a possum was skewered on one post, through the bottom of its neck and out the eye socket. The body slid partway down the spear, but the eye jelly remained, blood gleaming on the tip.
It was impossible, like so many other things Jack had shown me in this haunted forest. But I thought about those strangers who abducted Jack. They beat him and dragged him off a parking lot and into the woods. Wouldn’t that be the same kind of people who’d set an awful trap, pretending to catch animals but hoping for human prey?
“It’s too real, Jack. I can’t follow you. I can’t…”
I let myself fall.
(Let’s try an experiment, Celia. Pretend my finger is a sharp wooden spike. Now, you know it’s not, so there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Now, I’m going to bring it close to your face. Sit still. Try not to blink. I’m bringing this pointed spike right to your nose. There.
Did you feel it? I didn’t touch you at all. But you felt it, didn’t you? And not on your nose. In your eyes.
That’s what I felt as I dropped, head down, into that pit. Spikes coming towards me, toward my eyes, poking each of them, tearing through them, through my brain and out the back of my head.
A horrible sensation. Because your eyes always wince, don’t they?
Even at something false.)
Debbie: I have goosebumps! Thank you so much for sharing with us.
Norman: My pleasure.
Okay Peeps, you can pick up a copy of Odd Adventures with your Other Father at Amazon now and if you have KU then it’s free to borrow!
A little more about Norman:
Norman Prentiss is the author of Odd Adventures with your Other Father (a Kindle Scout selection). He won a Bram Stoker Award for his first book, Invisible Fences. Other publications include The Book of Baby Names, Four Legs in the Morning, The Fleshless Man, The Halloween Children (with Brian James Freeman) and The Narrator (with Michael McBride), with story appearances in Dark Screams, Postscripts, Black Static, Four Halloweens, Blood Lite 3, Best Horror of the Year, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, and four editions of the Shivers anthology series.
Visit him online at www.normanprentiss.com