Given that I’m on the path to releasing most of my books in an audio edition I’ve decided to take some time to focus in on each of the books individually. The Witches’ Own was always what I considered a departure from my usual style of writing. Ostensibly it belongs in the horror genre, but I always liked to believe it stepped beyond that particular classification. It was clear to me when I wrote it that I was struggling with some of my own demons; some that I have put to rest and some perhaps not. But the central idea I suppose is that all of us within have the propensity to become a monster and it is only choice that holds us back from that precipice. Here is a blog that I wrote on that very subject when I first released The Witches’ Own:
Monster or Victim?
A bit over twenty years ago I had a terrible nightmare — the kind that wakes you up in the middle of the night and you carry it with you into the morning and perhaps onward into the next few days. Well as it was this became a nightmare that I’ve carried with me for over twenty years. Of course not always in the forefront of my mind, rather tucked away somewhere in memory, dormant, to be jogged alive every once and awhile.
Then came the experience of penning Ghost Soldier for The Ghost Files series. For me Ghost Soldier was an experiment, writing a story, yes a horror story, but within the confines of a pretty formulaic framework. What it did for me, however, was put me in a tangible frame of mind, heading toward the shadows and exploring that aspect of the human psyche.
Once the Ghost Soldier book was completed, something did nag at me, a feeling that things were incomplete. Again I remembered the long ago dream and knew it was important now at this time to flesh out the story of Lucy Bonner and the painful nexus of her journey. Was she victim or monster or both?
When I consider this question, the most natural place for me to gravitate back to was Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein. Her “monster” who was created then rejected by its creator is a stellar example of the genesis of this dilemma. As is so clearly vocalized by Dr. Frankenstein’s creation in her novel, “If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!”
It is the monster’s rejection within that masterpiece which drives him to his evil behavior. So again the question becomes: Are monsters simply born or are they created?
What I remember clearly from my dream was that horrifying feeling toward the woman that I later named Lucy Bonner, a mixture of fear and compassion. Now I’ve come to think that perhaps the lesson of the dream was to look deeper than what is on the surface and explore the causation behind behavior. And hopefully, hopefully that will be the message of the novel as well.
On the surface things seem quiet and serene in the picturesque coastal village of Kilmarnock, Virginia. But something unseen roams its lush forests as the past and present collide and the unthinkable begins to wreak its vengeance. Young Lucy Bonner is executed for witchcraft in the town’s distant and brutal past. Her death triggers an unholy chain of events which grasp at the restless heart of novelist Peter McQuade, spurring him towards a quest to uncover the dark and terrifying truth.