Please welcome Kevin Lucia to The Qwillery. Devourer of Souls, two novellas set in the world of Clifton Heights, NY, is out today from Ragnarok Publications. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Kevin a Happy Publication Day!
The Inter-connectivity of Being and Clifton Heights, NY
Seven years ago, I struck upon what I believed at the time was a marvelously unique idea (in that naive way new writers have when unaware how scarce unique ideas really are). After a bloated novel (in which I'd foolishly tried to re-write Stephen King's IT) fell apart, I found nearly a dozen vignettes about supporting characters left over in the ruins. I thought to myself: How cool would it be to craft them into short stories about people living in the same, weird small town? They could interconnect and weave together, telling a larger story, with all these cool Easter Eggs that would build with each story!
Because no one's ever done that before.
Like H. P. Lovecraft. Or Sherwood Anderson. James Joyce. Ray Bradbury. Charles Grant. Stephen King, Gary Brubeck and many more...
However, even after I discovered these writers and their universes, the idea still resonated with me. That has a lot to do with the way I view the world. It may sound corny, but LIFE to me is one big story, made up of an infinite number of smaller stories that interconnect in often the smallest, most trivial of ways.
See, I'm a curious guy. I'm always wondering about people and their stories. When I visit the grocery store, the zoo, the playground or beach with my kids, church, or during the school day when teaching, I wonder: What stories are being told in these people's lives? What demons are they fighting, what dreams are they pursuing, what nightmares haunt them when they close their eyes at night? How have they failed and succeed, who have they won or lost? Likewise, whenever I finish a short story or novella, I always wonder: What about that gas station attendant, cashier, police officer, student, farmer...what's their story? And how does it relate to my other characters?
Also, because I believe there's A REASON for everything, that nothing in this life is meaningless, that everything happens because it's supposed to, I'm inclined to write interconnected stories because I believe there's a BIGGER, hidden story going on around us all the time.
November 2013, seven years after the concept first crossed my mind, Crystal Lake Publishing released my first short story collection and introduction to my little haunted town, Clifton Heights, NY, located in the Adirondacks. Things Slip Through features 11 short stories, all occurring within Clifton Heights (except one), connected by a framing narrative, ALA Dandelion Wine, The Martian Chronicles, Gary Braunbeck's Cedar Hill and Charles Grant's Oxrun Station stories.
Three short stories I've sold since then occur within that world, as well as my upcoming double-novella collection Devourer of Souls, due June 30th from Ragnarok Publications. Some time after that, Ragnarok will re-release in ebook a previously published Clifton Heights novella, Drowning, and I'm currently in the finishing stages of a Clifton Heights serial novella for The Midnight Diner, tentatively titled Suffer the Children Come Unto Me.
Will I always write only Clifton Heights stories? Who knows? Right now, to me, the possibilities seem endless. Think for a moment how many people live in your town. Think of their occupations, their backgrounds, character types, their varied hopes and dreams and fears. Now think of them living in the same town, bonded through not only their shared experience, but also a curious and melancholy self-isolation. How many stories hide there, waiting to be told?
And who else besides me is going to tell them?
Devourer of Souls
Ragnarok Publications, June 30, 2014
Trade Paperback, 232 pages
Welcome to Clifton Heights, an average Adirondack town. It's nice enough, really. Except after dark. Or on cold winter days when you're all alone...
An ancient game of chance and Fate. One boy's smoldering hate, another boy's need to make things right, and a father's ghosts of Vietnam past. These are the key players in this latest tale of revenge and reparation performed on the stage of the strange Adirondack town of Clifton Heights, NY. The Man in Yellow.
Tahawus is a small, isolated Adirondack town just north of Clifton Heights. A quiet place filled with simple people of an ardent faith, nothing much ever happens there...until the man in yellow comes calling. He knows your worst nightmares, and he can offer your fondest wish. All you need is faith...and a mouth from which to scream.
Kevin Lucia recently served as a Submissions Reader for Cemetery Dance Magazine, and his podcast "Horror 101" is featured monthly on Tales to Terrify. His short fiction has appeared in several anthologies.
He’s currently finishing his Creative Writing Masters Degree at Binghamton University, he teaches high school English and lives in Castle Creek, New York with his wife and children.
He is the author of Hiram Grange & The Chosen One, Book Four of The Hiram Grange Chronicles. His first short story collection, Things Slip Through was published November 2013. He’s currently working on his first novel.