(With no original thoughts lately and nothing much to report, thought I'd repost the guest blog I did for Patricia's Vampire Notes a few weeks ago. As always, sincere thanks for stopping by this desolate outpost on the Internet!)
I remember years ago, reading a quote by Stephen King, in which he said what he did was something akin to being a paleontologist, finding that first small bit of bone sticking up out of the ground, then lovingly and painstakingly brushing away all that dust and dirt until the entire skeleton – in his case, a completed story – had been unearthed.
I think what he meant by that is often, even he has no idea where a story is going until he sits down and writes it. Of all the stories I’ve written, Applewood comes closest to my experiencing what King was talking about.
For example, I didn’t even know there were vampires in it until they showed up (though once they did, it explained a lot.) What I had in the beginning were ruminations on growing up in a small town, and reflections on the friends I managed to make. I had some sketches about a place where you couldn’t take a step or two without tripping over some piece of history or other, a place very much like the town where I grew up.
Applewood begins with a man coming home to a neighborhood that’s now abandoned and fenced off from the outside world. When I wrote it, I had no idea why he was coming home or why his neighborhood had been abandoned, but I was very curious to find out. He returns to the house where he grew up, and memories begin flooding back.
It turned out, he didn’t have an easy time of it growing up. Compounding the natural awkwardness of adolescence, his mother had recently died, and his father taken to drink. He’s been experiencing strange visions, flashbacks to times and places he has no business knowing about. Though he’s been blessed with a couple of close friends, they’re all mostly outcasts, bullied by the adults in their lives and by their peers, who run roughshod over their town, their school, and their lives
When to my surprise the vampires did arrive in Applewood, making the lives of my characters even harder than they were, I was determined to do what I could for them. There would be no wet nighttime feedings or bloody daytime stakings. I would ensure that none of my beloved secondary characters would succumb to the onslaught, and my main characters – the friends I had so lovingly crafted over long weeks and months – were not in any way to be maimed or killed (or worse) by the outbreak.
Alas, the book had other plans; the bones of this particular dinosaur had a shape of its own.
I had an awfully good time writing it. I hope you have a good time reading it. If you like traditional, 1970s, non-sparkly vampire mayhem, if you enjoyed "The Lost Boys" and are partial to coming-of-age fare like "Stand by Me," then Applewood may just be the book for you.
Most sincere thanks for reading.