When I was a senior in high school, I read The Other by Thomas Tryon and The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. Up until that time, I never really knew the thrill of reading horror fiction. As a younger kid, I was a dinosaur nut which morphed into a horror movie fan, and I had seen just about every dinosaur-running-amok-in-the-city movie and every Universal and Hammer horror movie. But reading horror novels? That never really took off until Tryon and Blatty scared the living daylights out of me while keeping me glued to the page. Then it was off to the races. I grabbed Rosemary’s Baby off the book case at home. Stephen King came along and I devoured his work. Between his novels, I supplemented my taste with every available publication. Some were excellent: Burnt Offerings, the Search for Joseph Tully, Dragon Under the Hill…
Somewhere along the line, I remember thinking I’d like to try this. Of course, millions of Americans say “I’d like to write a novel” but rarely attempt it. I fell into that category. I had other interests that took priority. I discovered the field of psychology in college (I entered thinking I would be a lawyer), but then took Intro to Psychology my freshman year. And the rest, as the saying goes, is history. I went to graduate school, obtained by PhD in psychology, did a post doc working with delinquent adolescents, then veered into academia where I’ve spent the past 27 years – and loved every minute of it. Since the mid-nineties, I changed my research focus to pediatric psychology to study issues concerning teens with chronic illnesses. This has been a truly exciting research program for the past 20 years. At the same time, I have had the opportunity to train scores of students – a remarkable experience.
Still, the urge to write horror never really left. I ran plots through my mind – stored some in long term memory, discarded others. In 1995 when my family and I were vacationing in Edisto Island, South Carolina, I came upon a road that was off the beaten path. The road was heavily wooded in live oak trees, complete with Spanish moss. I remember thinking, what would it be like to be chased by something down this road, with no one around? That was the first inkling of a plot that I kicked around for 15 years. Then, when my wife and I became empty nesters, the half-hearted attempts to write became serious. A few years later, Birth Offering was completed. I am very excited to announce that it is being published by Damnation Books and will be released in September.
More on this book and other issues that come to mind will appear in this space. Please come by and check it out.