I’m here today with Eric Garrison for his new book in the Road Ghosts series, Sinking Down! I’ve heard so many great things about this book, so I’m excited to be part of this tour. Before we get to Eric, I want to be sure everyone knows what this cool title’s about.
Poor Little Ghoul
Paranormal investigators Brett and Liz find themselves back in over their heads when a forest hunt for a roadkill-eating creature offers up a little surprise. Back home with their ghoulish house guest, it becomes clear there’s more to this investigation than either of them thought. Worse than that, Brett’s own fate is linked to the little ghoul’s.
So it’s back out on the road, with plenty of time for pit stops with a greedy ex, a convention of ghost hunters, partying with fake vampires, and even drinking and fighting alongside good ole Uncle Gonzo. But as the investigation goes deeper, and unseen connections come to light, Brett finds there’s much more at stake than getting through a rough patch with Liz.
A rescue mission. A race for a cure. New friends and old adversaries. Unbreakable bonds and supernatural danger. It’s going to be a wild ride. Can the friends save the nearly undead tween? Can she and Brett stop themselves from …Sinking Down?
Sinking Down is the 2nd Book in the Road Ghosts Trilogy!
From Dares to Stories
While I wrote Sinking Down, I asked friends for dares. A dare is like a writing prompt, something random you’re supposed to work into your story. In National Novel Writing Month, it’s primarily used to pump up wordcount. Often, dares are weeded out during revisions and editing, because a lot of them just stick out like they don’t belong.
I take writing dares very seriously. I stare at them hard and try to envision how in the world my story could possibly include whatver I’ve been given. Often it’s a word that can be said in conversation, or it can be an object placed in a room.
My buddy Phil dared me to use “Vampire LARPers on a beach.”
My jaw dropped.
A LARP is a Live Action Role Playing game, where all the actions of the characters are acted out by the players. There are elaborate rules, and ways to get around tossing dice to determine outcomes of challenges (like rock-paper-scissors). There are whole communities of gamers built up around these improvised fantasies. I’ve known many LARPers myself, and have participated in a handful of the games. Some people barely ever come out of character, carrying the game over to breakfast at Denny’s after a long night of being pretend vampires. The things they talk about over pancakes would make a nongamer’s hair stand straight up. I’ve been there when management has asked for a table of faux-vampires to keep their voices down.
So, my story being about real demons, ghosts, and ghouls, I had to think of how to tie these things together. Fortunately for me, I’ve been involved in gaming and also in a club for paranormal enthusiasts (ghost hunters). The first thing that came to mind was a paranormal convention. I could easily picture both ghost geeks and vampire wannabes at an event like that.
That helped my story. I had to think of where the villain was running away to with the Little Ghoul, Ashleigh, in his clutches. Trouble was, he said “on a beach”, and my story was set in the Midwest, from Memphis to Indianapolis. I briefly considered redirecting the characters down to Savannah or Florida, but that seemed like a long way to go in this story, into unfamiliar territory. The closest shoreline that made sense was up in Chicago.
And so ChicaGhostCon was born. And when Brett and Liz needed help, they ran into Stuart and Skye, vampire gamers. The vamps gave them costumes and makeup to use as disguises. It worked so well that I didn’t have to cut any of it out afterward. The addition of Skye (who was based on a real person who talked my ear off in a brewpub while I was trying to write) as a gamer made something click, and she ended up not only stealing the last third of the book, but she got her own spinoff novel, Blue Spirit, which now has a sequel in rough draft, and another planned.
This is why I’m a fan of dares. Even outrageous ones can form the seed of an idea that blooms and flourishes. You can dare yourself quite easily. Go to Flickr or other image sites and find a random photo, using it as a prompt to write about. Or open a book and flip it to a random page and stab down a finger, daring yourself to use a concept in the sentence you hit as something in your story. Or even jot down dream fragments as you wake up and work them in your writing.
Whatever dares you end up taking, do so knowing you can rip them out later if they add nothing to your story, or you can keep them if they thrive and contribute complexity and organic life. Sometimes you’ll be amazed at where they’ll take you.
Eric Garrison is active in the writing community in Indianapolis, Indiana. He lives in the Circle City with his wife, step-daughter and four cats. He also enjoys gaming and homebrewing beer.
Seventh Star Press published the first of his Road Ghosts trilogy, Four ’til Late, in July of 2013. Sinking Down was released in December of 2013, with the final title to appear in 2014.
Eric’s novel, Reality Check, is a science fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. This book reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon’s Kindle store during a promotion in July 2013.
Eric’s short story, “Drag Show” appeared in the Fall 2011 edition of Strange, Weird and Wonderful Magazine and Volume 2 of that magazine’s anthology series. His flash piece, “Dark Reflection”, appeared in the Indiana Horror 2011 anthology. He’s competed twice in the Iron Writer Challenge with two 500-word flash pieces, “Killer Cure” and “Moby Me”.
You can learn more about Eric at…