Editor’s note: I’m excited to share this guest post from author J.C. Geiger on the seven scary things that helped him write his novel, WILDMAN. WILDMAN hits shelves near you on June 6, 2017!
Fear helps me write. From the age of 10, life was horror movies, Stephen King, Halloween; I’ve always loved a good scare. Over time, I learned to take more real-life risks and pay attention to what frightens me – why am I scared? How can I use that to inform my writing? WILDMAN isn’t a horror story, but here are seven good scares that helped make it happen:
1) The “Green Eyes” legend of Aux Sable Cemetery:
There was a terrifying rumor in my hometown that if you parked in a local cemetery at night, turned off the car, and sat completely still for a minute, you’d look up and see a pair of bright green eyes in the rearview mirror. And your car wouldn’t start. That became the inspiration for one of my favorite scenes in WILDMAN.
2) The breakdown of my ’93 Buick in rural Washington.
Just as in WILDMAN, my own Buick once broke down in the middle of nowhere, six hours from home. A local tow truck driver picked me up and dragged my car across the back roads for miles. He kept offering to take me to his house and try to fix the car himself. I politely decliend, and was quietly terrified. Planning stupid karate moves. How to tuck and roll out of a speeding truck. Later, I asked myself: “Why can small places be so disquieting? How does our perception of ‘the other’ contribute to fear?
3) Ghost stories around a campfire
Flashlight under the chin, S’mores, and it’s go time! There’s the old “hook for a hand” story. The kidney thief story. A really awful one about a dog licking someone’s hand. I’ve had the bejesus scared out of me around many a campfire, and passed that time-honored tradition on to others as a camp counselor. If I’m writing about a campfire, it’s the first thing that comes to mind.
4) A nasty car accident
I’ve been in several horrific car accidents. One happened on my birthday – my friend smashed into a mile marker, then drove us into a ditch. The sound of a popping windshield. Glass everywhere. I’ll never shake the imagery, and it found its way into WILDMAN.
5) The fear of being myself
Hokey as it sounds, I think most of us reach a point in our lives when the person we’ve become doesn’t exactly gel with the way people see us. For a period of my life, it was easier to play the role I’d been assigned than to be myself. I had real fear around vulnerability. And sincerity. I got over that – as much as one can – but it’s easy to remember how it feels.
Okay, not really. Don’t worry. There are no absolutely no clowns in WILDMAN. I promise.
7) The fear of never selling a book
As an author who tried for over a decade to publish, I had to confront the fear head on. Why was I really writing? Ego? Money? There are better ways to get both. No. It’s the love of the work. I eventually got over the need to prove myself. When I decided to give up selling a book and just write the best story I could, WILDMAN finally emerged.
About the book:
“How can a complete stranger know you better than the people you’ve known your entire life?”
Lance Hendricks is homeward bound, four hundred highway miles from the best night of his life. There’s an epic graduation party brewing, his girlfriend will be there, and they’ve got a private bedroom with their names on it. When his ’93 Buick breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Lance is sure he’ll be back on the road in no time. After all, he’s the high school valedictorian. First chair trumpet player. Scholarship winner. Nothing can stop Lance Hendricks.
But afternoon turns to night, and Lance ends up stranded at the Trainsong Motel. The place feels ominous, even before there’s a terrible car wreck outside his room. When Lance rushes out to help, the townies take notice. They call him Wildman, and an intriguing local girl asks him to join in their nighttime adventures. He begins to live up to his new name. As one day blurs into the next, Lance finds himself in a bar fight, jumping a train, avoiding the police. Drifting farther from home and closer to a girl who makes him feel a way he’s never felt before—like himself.
About the author:
J.C. GEIGER has eaten the beating heart of a snake, been deported from a full-moon party, and spent a short time locked in a Bolivian prison. He also writes fiction. His short works have appeared in the pages of Murky Depths and Horror Garage, and on stage at The Second City in Chicago. J.C. now writes, teaches, directs, and performs in the Pacific Northwest, where he can often be spotted behind the wheel of a 1993 Buick Century. It still runs like a dream. Visit him online at www.jcgeiger.com and on Twitter @jcgeiger.
by J. C. Geiger
Hyperion | On Sale June 6, 2017
Hardcover ISBN: 9781484749579| $17.99 | $18.99 Can. | 336 pages | Ages 14 and up
Ebook ISBN: 9781484758526