The Darkness: Giger, Texas
by Joe M. Solomon
Date of Publication: October 3rd 2017
Publisher: NES Publishing, LLC
Cover Artist: Syneca Featherstone
The Book Junkie Reads . . . Interview with Joe Solomon
How would you describe your style of writing to someone that has never read your work?
There is always a certain willing suspension of disbelief required on the part of readers when it comes to fiction. Readers must suspend their disbelief that vampires or werewolves or other creatures exist, for example, when reading fictional tales that involve such. So I like to inject as much realism into my stories as I can. To that end, I don’t just include good guys in my stories, or characters who are heroic through and through. I also include reluctant heroes. People who seem weak in the beginning, but show strength as the story progresses. Characters who are only looking out for number one. Characters who want to save everyone they can. And a few nefarious characters like those who always seem to surface during chaotic times to take advantage of the situation.
I also like to paint characters into corners that seem impossible to escape and take readers on a wild ride, as I did in The Darkness: Giger, Texas. I just love seeing how ordinary men and women respond to challenges like these.
What are some of your writing/publishing goals for this year?
This year, The Darkness: Giger, Texas is the only work that will be published. But for next year, I am currently working on an anthology and another novel, The Light: Houston, Texas.
Do you feel that writing is an ingrained process or just something that flows naturally for you?
I think it’s something that flows naturally for me. I’ve always had a very vivid imagination and enjoyed creating stories. The same things that appeal to me in favorite movies always seem to find their way into my own tales without effort. Like George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, for example, my book contains an ensemble cast with a wide variety of backgrounds and personalities. In some instances, you’ll see friends banding together to help each other. But I also like to throw characters who would ordinarily loathe each other together and allow dubious bonds to grow as they fight together to survive.
Do you have a character that you have been working on for a long time that still isn't quite ready, but fills you with excitement to work on the story?
No. I tend to favor ensemble casts, so the characters tend to come to me that way while I’m puzzling out a story.
If you could spend one-week with 5 fictional characters, who would they be?
I would choose Dante, because he’s really been through it. Stephen King’s Randal Flagg is another, because I would like to talk to him and see if there is a decent bone in his body. Edna Pontellier, who is the main character in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening would be the third. I think there are even more layers to her than what Chopin put on paper. I would like to have a long talk with Dostoyevsky’s disgruntled nameless character in Notes from the Underground and enlighten him on the West. And I would also like to spend time with Sonya from Uncle Vanya. I know she may not be a big character in the long history of fiction (and neither is Edna), but I would nevertheless like to explore who she is beyond the surface.
Where would you spend one full year, if you could go ANYWhere? What would you do with this time?
South Korea. I visited South Korea a couple of years ago and loved it. I would explore the culture much more than I was able to in the short time I was there and turn out some short stories and a novel.
Can you share your next creative project(s)? If yes, can you give a few details?
Yes. As I mentioned, my next publication will be a collection of short stories. One the short stories begins with the main character as a passenger on a plane that has left Seoul, South Korea. Communication has been lost with all of Asia, and the blackout is spreading west towards the States. Roach in the Light is about a Donald Taylor, a community college professor who is displeased with pretty much everything from his job to the house that he rents. The one thing that is sacred to him is his breakfast. But suddenly even that is ruined when he sees a cockroach trapped in the long fluorescent light overhead, running back and forth. It seems a relatively easy irritation to eradicate, but soon Donald finds himself in a struggle for his life. Tom is a janitor in an elementary school. He’s also a slacker with bad hygene habits who wants to fall in love. Everything changes when be finds himself a few new pets.
When night falls in Giger, Texas, shadows gather as they always do in dim corners and other areas bereft of light. But this time they consolidate and attack any who tread too close. Michael Warren, a twenty-four-year-old resident of Giger, finds himself at the epicenter of this horror and is stunned by the losses suffered overnight. Then the sun sets and the shadows again coalesce, growing more aggressive, the darkness eviscerating anyone it touches.
His only weapon light, Michael struggles to survive and searches frantically for his girlfriend, aiding friends along the way. When Hurricane Daniel roars ashore, wind gusts shred trees and tear down power lines, plunging all of Southeastern Texas into blackness that only feeds and strengthens the encroaching darkness. Rising floodwater provides easy thoroughfares from which the darkness can strike as Michael and his friends contend with the elements, clash with criminals, and battle their way to his residence where they will stand against the darkness and fight to survive.
Startled, Eddie blinked and wiped at his own eyes. “What was…? Hello?”
His pulse picked up. “C-Curt, you in here… you a-a-a-asshole?”
A box fell behind him.
Eddie spun around, body tight as a knot, eyes wide as their sockets would allow. “Wh-h-h-h-who the hell’s that?” he demanded with as much sternness as he could inject into his quivering voice.
Soft whispers trickled out of a minuscule pocket of emptiness near the back door on the farthest wall. There, amid the gloom, something progressed toward him. At first, its movements appeared mechanical, inelastic. Then it evolved into a smooth flow. A soft ripple. A consolidated wave of darkness.
Joe M. Solomon earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas, followed by both master’s and doctoral degrees from Rice University. Joe’s supernatural thriller The Darkness: Giger, Texas released in 2017. A second novel—The Light: Houston, Texas—and a collection of short stories that arise from the macabre will soon follow.