Nine Rooms Deep started with a nightmare I had after taking the sleeping aid Lunesta. My dream was essentially the last scene in the story. It actually made me wake up screaming (which never happens) with an awful metallic taste in my mouth.
Here’s a hint: when you read a warning label on a drug, and see the term ‘vivid dreams’ it actually means ‘the worst nightmares of you life.’ Just do a Google search for Lunesta side effects, and read all the horror stories. I think I got off easy.
So thanks Lunesta! Thanks subconscious!
Something I love about self publishing is that I don’t have a legal department telling me what I can and can’t admit too. I’m sure if an author wrote a successful book that was influenced by another piece of media, like say, the Japanese film Battle Royale, there would be team of lawyers from their publishing house telling them never to acknowledge the influence.
But I’m free to admit that I was deeply influenced by The Courtyard and Neonomicon by Alan Moore. Those comics, published by Avatar Press, were like an instruction manual on how to approach a modern story set in the Lovecraft mythos. Currently Moore is working on a follow up called Providence, and I’m dying with anticipation to read it.
Obviously a great debt is owed to HP Lovecraft himself, especially his story The Horror At Red Hook. It’s far from his greatest, and the racism in the story has made it notorious, but I like that it’s set in Brooklyn, and it was instrumental in providing certain themes that I explored with extreme discomfort in Nine Rooms Deep.
Another big inspiration was Clive Barker. I’ve been a huge fan since the first volume of The Books Of Blood came out. The tapestry section of the maze in Nine Rooms Deep was inspired by ideas in his novel Cold Heart Canyon. It’s an amazing book, and it’s frankness urged me to be bold with the sexuality including in my story.
So those were some of the ingredients I tossed in the pot, but once I got going, I just let my Id write Nine Rooms Deep, while my ego and superego looked on in horror.
Okay, you know how authors are always thanking their wives and husbands at the start of a novel? There’s a good reason.
The partners of writers are often also their first draft readers, and their initial input and encouragement is vital to the process. So I want to give a huge thank you to Beth Green, who has heard more about anorexic witches and diarrhetic cats than anyone should have to endure.
Beth always told me to go for it when I got cold feet about the extreme content in Nine Rooms Deep, and reminded me that if I were reading this story, instead of being responsible for it, that I would praise the writer for taking risks. Thanks for keeping me brave, Beth!
I also want to give special thanks to Teresa Pappas, Kathi Kowalski, and Andrew Pastore for vital feedback and early encouragement.
There is an audio version of the story available, which I hope everyone listens to.
I’m a staunch proponent of audiobooks.
Recently I’ve seen some lame arguments online about how audiobooks somehow reinforce illiteracy. This idea seems preposterous to me, since the only people I know who actively enjoy audio fiction are already voracious readers. Just try getting a non reader to listen to an eight hour audiobook. They rarely have the staying power.
When a reader is good, it can bring something magic to a story, and I feel incredibly lucky that I got Luis Moreno to narrate Nine Rooms Deep. Luis has a large body of work already available on Audible. I recommend starting with his fantastic reading of The Wild Boys by William Burroughs. He totally kills it!
When recording Nine Rooms Deep, Luis had to deal with my first time engineer jitters, and working in an apartment instead of a proper studio, but his performance was amazing. So thanks, Luis. And thanks to Meredith Yayanos for putting us in touch in the first place.
The awesome 80’s horror movie style music is by Mark Stanley. Mark is one of my oldest friends, and he’s insanely talented and prolific. Check out his work at markstanley.net. Mark did the music in trade for a pig mask I’ll be sculpting soon. It’s in conjunction with his demented new project; Pig Manikin, which is available now on bandcamp.com. It’s a total paranoid fever dream, and at the same time, hysterically funny.
Okay, that’s it! I’m working on a new story now. It’s shaping up to be about twice as long as Nine Rooms Deep, which I guess makes it officially a novel.
The tone of the new story couldn’t be more different. It reads almost like a young adult novel. It’s still horror, but not nearly so nihilistic. My goal is to have it released by the end of next year 2014. I hope you’ll come back for more.