Friday, January 10, 2020

Interview with mystery author Edgar Swamp

Mystery author Edgar Swamp is here to help me wrap up the week by chatting about his new novel that has elements of horror and fantasy, Amber Hollow.

During his virtual book tour, Edgar will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

**This book is only $0.99 on Kindle.**

Edgar Swamp is the author of the Gyre Mission, Glitch in the Machine, and Blackout. His short stories have appeared in Alienskin, Macabre Cadaver, and Urban Reinventors. When he isn’t holed up in his office playing online poker, he likes to dig up the recently deceased and make furniture out of their skin. He lives and works in San Diego, California.

Welcome, Edgar. Please share a little bit about your current release.
This is my fourth self-published novel, one that I intended to write for a wider audience than my previous three books, which means it is for “all-audiences” (I’d say it’s roughly PG-13). This novel is a mystery but not in the traditional sense, although it does follow a whodunit format stylistically. The elements of horror and fantasy, however, keep it from being conventional, and it was my intention to write a page-turner because the reader simply must know how it ends.

What inspired you to write this book?
I am from a small town in Wisconsin (DePere, a city next to Green Bay) and to my overactive imagination it was a creepy place, full of bullies, town drunks, weirdos…you name it. I swear there was a guy like Norman Bates on my paper route, this strange older man who lived with his elderly mother in a ramshackle house next to an abandoned barn at the edge of town. Every time I went to collect and he invited me in, I figured it was going to be the last thing I’d ever do! The place was straight out of a Hitchcock film. That said, I wanted to write a story about a creepy little village where an event of mass hysteria occurs and kills everyone except for five people practically overnight. The story would be the mystery of finding out what happened the night of the tragedy, and what was behind the horrific events.

Excerpt from Amber Hollow:
    “Ms. Albright?” Sadie asked from the threshold, and the woman jumped as if jolted with a stun gun. When she looked from Sadie to Jeremy her eyes grew wide and her nostrils flared.
    “Yes?” she asked in a meek voice, the spoon frozen halfway to her mouth, the Jell-O precariously perched there, looking in danger of spilling on her hospital gown.
    Sadie took a step forward. “I’m Detective Conrad, and this is my partner Detective LeFevre. We’d like to ask you some questions about what happened on Sunday night.”
    The woman sat very still, her eyes a startling shade of green. They darted back and forth from Sadie to Jeremy, the spoon forgotten in her hand. Gravity finally won out and the Jell-O fell off and onto her hospital gown, however she didn’t appear to notice.
    “May we come in?” Sadie asked, pitching her voice low, trying not to startle the poor woman any further, but she surprised them by uttering a deep, guttural laugh.
   “You guys are detectives and you have to ask? Does that mean I can say no?”
    “Afraid not,” Jeremy said, walking into the room and taking a small recording device from his pocket. He’d had the presence of mind to preload a fresh cassette beforehand. “We are both very sorry for what happened to you, to your entire town. Please accept our most sincere condolences. However, we need to ask you some questions. We’re hoping that you can help us.”
    Sylvia Albright of Amber Hollow, Wisconsin, eyed the two of them thoughtfully before noticing she was still holding the spoon. She set it down on the nightstand next to her, then the cup of Jell-O. She still didn’t notice (or didn’t care) about the gelatin on her gown.
    “What do you want to know?”
    Sadie and Jeremy exchanged a quick glance. What did they want to know? The entire town was gone, burned to the ground, her family and friend’s dead, and she asked them what they wanted to know? It was becoming apparent why she was in the psychiatric ward and not the burn center. Sadie wondered if the woman’s answers could be considered relevant, given the nature of the circumstances.
    “What we want,” Sadie said softly, “is to figure out what happened that night. Are you aware that you survived a massive tragedy?”
    The brief smile that had played across the woman’s face was gone, exchanged by an expression of fear that was seemingly boundless. She again looked from one face to the other, licking her lips nervously. She began to mutter, but it was too low for either of them to hear.
    “What was that Sylvia?” Sadie prompted. “What are you saying?”
    She broke off her muttering and stared at Sadie for so long the detective began to feel uncomfortable. It was something in the woman’s eyes, some secret she wasn’t sure she should share. She took a deep breath, exhaled, and then eyed them with something akin to wonder.
    “You have no idea what happened.” A statement, not a question. “Am I the only survivor?”
    Sadie opened her mouth to say ‘no’ but a quick glance from her partner stopped her from even forming the word with her lips.
    “Tell us what happened,” Jeremy said instead of answering her question, and their silence seemed to calm her even more. She closed her eyes, leaned back into her pillow, and exhaled again even more sharply, this time with an air of resignation.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Every day I wonder what the follow-up to Amber Hollow will be because every day I feel like doing something different. I have a sequel in mind for Amber Hollow, but I’d only write it if people enjoyed the first one enough to merit it. I literally have half a dozen ideas at any given time. Here’s one, inspired by The Stepford Wives: In a small town in Anywhere, America, the men have been replaced by perfect replica robots. They make the money, they clean the house, and they give their lovely wives everything they need…without requiring a single thing in return. The women there are very happy, until they find that they can’t properly reproduce; scientists are unable to make serviceable synthetic semen, so real men are cultivated in large Superfarms on the outskirts of town to collect their manhood for breeding purposes. The hook is, mutants were created from the synthetic sperm, and at one point, the robots all run amok and the women need the men from the “semen farms” to help control the problem of the both the mutants and the robots. Please tell me, seriously, does that sound like something you would read? I’m really on the fence about this one!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer when I received payment for an article I wrote in 1997. It was for a website called Foamation, the designer of those funky cheese wedges Green Bay Packer fans wear on their heads during the games (I think you know what I’m talking about if you watch football). I met one of their sales reps at a guitar store where I worked, and I told him how many aspects of my life were connected to the Green Bay Packers organization through various channels, and what it was like to grow up with them being considered such a great team, when during the course of my life all they’d done was lose. It would be like being a Patriots fan in the ’80s! The reason for the interest in the story was because Green Bay was finally going to the Super Bowl after a 29- year drought, and the sales rep thought fans of the website would like it because of all the names I referenced (star quarterbacks, coaches, other players, etc.) whom I had known or worked for. My payment? Had I known at the time I would have met him at the restaurant with a bigger appetite because my remuneration was my meal and parking, and all I ordered was French fries!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
My lifelong goal is to be a full-time writer. In fact, I’ve given some of the best years of my life chasing that dream. Honestly, I’ve catered my working life completely around being able to have time to write. I worked in dozens of industries, then literally chanced into the veterinary industry when I was 30, and trained to be a vet tech in Austin, Texas. I later moved to Carlsbad, California (near San Diego) and at a clinic I worked at, I began taking pet sitting jobs for extra income and soon enough it became my occupation, the demand for pet care is that great out here. So, what I mean is: I became a full-time pet sitter so that I didn’t have to work a “real” nine-to-five job so that I would have more time to write. It worked great at first, until my business became so busy that I was working more than 40 hours a week. Fifteen years later and I am still a pet sitter, and what I do is budget my time, make myself write when I don’t want to, and take advantage of creativity whenever it strikes. I bring my laptop with me everywhere so that if a moment arises and I can get something done, I can.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I am sarcastic to an almost ludicrous point. In fact, with “Amber Hollow,” I had to dial it out because all of my previous books were considered to be very snarky. I can’t help it; for some reason, I have a very skewed perception of the world, and the way it comes out in my writing is simply overwhelming. I’m still somewhat cynical, but I try to sparingly dole out the sarcasm and only use it when necessary.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Three things, and this is the reason I am still a pet sitter:
1)     An actor, movies mostly, but I’d consider doing TV
2)     A rock star; I sing, play multiple instruments and write songs. Kurt Cobain and David Gilmour are my heroes.
3)     A writer, books, short stories, lyrics, poems, and essays. I seriously didn’t want to be anything else but those three things, NOTHING else. And it’s a shame, really, because I dropped out of college because I didn’t know what I was doing there, I didn’t have any kind of traditional trade in mind. Zero. I figured I was wasting the loan money so I tried touring with rock/grunge/metal bands and when that didn’t pan out, I turned my attention to trying out for plays at local theatres, and when that was a bust, I redirected all of my energy into writing. I do not advise anyone to take this career path; stay in school and at least get a bachelor’s degree in something. You’ll thank yourself when you are 50 and you are alone with four cats on Christmas and your latest book is brilliant but being all but ignored because of the glut of books available thanks to self-publishing. I should have gone into marketing — that would have been a smart move!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Firstly, I know how difficult it is to pick up a book by a writer you’ve never heard of. Without great reviews from reputable sources adorning the back cover plus a few celebrity endorsements, it’s hard for me to even check one out from the library. Not kidding! To the readers of your blog, I’d say this: Take advantage of all the free content that you are being given via book giveaways and promotional campaigns by indie writers because you just might find a diamond in the rough! Here are a few popular writers who began by self-publishing: Edgar Allen Poe (seriously, he didn’t receive any commercial interest until he wrote “The Raven”), Matt Groening (the creator of “The Simpsons”) and Edgar Swamp…whoops, I said “popular”…my bad!


**This book is only $0.99 on Kindle.**

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
Thank you so much for having me, I appreciate it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

edgar swamp said...

Thank you so much for letting me host your blog. Have a great day!

Bernie Wallace said...

Which character do you most relate to in your book?

edgar swamp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edgar swamp said...

I removed a comment because it had typos! I relate mostly to Detective Jeremy LeFevre; I think I could have been a detective if I wasn't busy writing or doing music!

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

Bea LaRocca said...

Happy Friday! Do you have any specific reading or writing plans for the weekend?

edgar swamp said...

Thank you so much for the comments! This weekend I am going to start writing a new book!

James Robert said...

Good Morning! Thank you for the book description.These tours are great and we have found some terrific books so thanks so  much.

Bernie Wallace said...

Did you go to college for writing?

Bernie Wallace said...

This book sounds very interesting. I hope that it is a success.

edgar swamp said...

Thank you so much for the kind words and for sharing comments! I didn’t study writing specifically in college but I did take writing classes to learn the basics. I hope the book is enjoyed by many!

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