The Shade Trilogy
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Date of Publication: March 9th 2014
Number of pages: 340
Word Count: 105,494 words
Cover Artist: Pixel Pixie Design
James Langley's life is over. After an automobile accident leaves him comatose, James' body lies vulnerable in a hospital bed. However, his mind is lost, drifting between life and death, into The Shade.
Trapped in a world shrouded by the unknown, he meets Virgil, a mysterious stranger that informs him that his car wreck was no accident; that the man responsible has imprisoned them both, intent on keeping them there. Together they must race against time to get James back to his body in the real world before he becomes the next victim of a malevolent psychopath.
Enter the world of The Shade, where the boundaries of the human psyche are pushed to their limits and survival is not guaranteed. A place where death isn't the end, but only the beginning.
An intense wave of pain shot its way up my spine, telling me I needed to get up. The hard hospital tiles had broken my fall with the gentle care you would expect. Slowly I opened my eyes, getting my first look at the ceiling of the room I had been thrown into. My bloody fist clinched a hand full of tile fragments and crushed them into powder.
That didn’t go as expected.
My hands shook as they slowly lifted my body back to an upright position.
Once on my feet, I scanned the empty room quietly. There was nothing significant about it; the room looked just like the hundreds of others in the abandoned hospital. The paint on the walls was cracked and peeling from years of neglect, along with a floor covered in a thick layer of grime. However, I wasn’t scanning the room to look at the scenery; my eyes were looking for something far more—sinister. My legs quivered as they tried to keep me from doubling back over.
Then I felt a presence in the room with me.
It wasn't something tangible that I could see with my naked eye, but I knew that something was there. My breath remained slow and steady.
The fall must have been harder than I thought.
My hand rubbed the back of my head as I tried to get my bearings. Then it happened, coming out from the wall in front of me, the specter emerged.
It looked like a man in shape only. Truly, it was more like a cadaver that had been charred in an unholy fire. I gazed in horror at the creature, black as pitch. As I stared into the blackness that comprised it, the darkness seemed to swallow me up, almost like falling through space with nothing to grasp onto. Flesh from the specter's body was peeling away, matching the paint on the walls. Its eyes, if you could call them that, were as black and deep as the ocean depths. It moved closer to me, with a twisted look on its face that seemed to say. "You, you're screwed, and there's nothing you can do about it."
With my fists balled tightly, readying myself for an attack. I could feel the color draining from my clenched fists as the creature leapt at me, its arms opened wide, ready to take me to the ground. I instinctively ducked, letting my body slam against the hard tile floor, causing my assailant to vault over me. I rolled forward—creating more distance between the creature and myself—and then sprang back to my feet.
The specter landed softly, only a few feet behind me.
I spun around to face the creature.
It turned to face me, but before it had time to attack; my fist was already rocketing towards its face. The power encapsulated in my closed hand crushed itself against the creature's face and as the two forces made contact, a thunderous boom erupted in the room.
Take that you piece of—
The specter recovered quickly, and before I knew what was happening it had latched its arms around my waist and we were tumbling towards the ground. We slammed against the floor, rolling a few feet. When we stopped, my legs heaved upwards with all their strength, breaking the specter's grip on me, hurling it across the room.
The creature hit the floor as I quickly found my way upright. Using the confusion to my advantage, I ran for the door. I made my way through the door and immediately turned right, heading down the long hospital hallway. My breath was stuck in my chest, as if my lungs refused to work. My heart thumped quickly inside me as I ran. I felt the side of my body begin to burn as the pain the specter had inflicted became apparent. Halfway down the hallway, I found a room and ducked into it to avoid the specter. My hand met my mouth to stop myself from breathing too heavily. My heart pounded so loudly in my chest I thought that it would give me away.
From down the hallway, I could hear the specter moving closer towards me. My eyes shut tight as the sound of footsteps came closer towards me. Closer and closer the footsteps of the creature passed by the room. It breathed heavily as it searched the hallway for me.
My muscles tightened.
I could feel the creature as it passed by the room.
One, two, three.
I counted in my head and then took off down towards the opposite end of the hallway. I ran back down the hallway, leaving the specter behind me. I had only fooled the creature for a moment, because almost immediately after I emerged from the room the sound of heavy footsteps running towards me echoed down the hall. I would have looked back, but I knew what chased after me, I knew the unending horror of what a monster like the specter could do to a man. I tried with all my might, to will my legs to move faster, but with no success. The noise from the creature behind me grew closer, and closer. Each step that I took down the hallway the creature gained another few feet on me, I knew that within a few seconds it would be on top of me again.
So in a split-second decision, I stopped to make a stand.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Being truthful I'd have to say no, I've always been an artist and writing was an expansion on that. When I was really young I wanted to go into paleontology, but what I went to school for was history—because i wanted to teach.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
After publishing my book, seeing it for the first time and handing it off to someone else. It's very fulfilling when you can show people what you've done and say you wrote something, after my book was published, that's when I first considered myself a writer.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
Because I self-published, it took as long as I dragged it out for. I looked for more 'traditional publishing' early on with my book and nothing ever stuck, but the one thing I didn't do was let it discourage me. After not getting picked up by a literary agent I made it my goal to get the book published on my own, it took a bit longer, but in the end it made me proud to know I'd accomplished what I'd set out to do.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
I do have another job outside of writing. Currently I work for the United States Air Force as a Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employee. I work on Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio doing security work at one of the facilities there.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The name of my latest book is The Shade, to summarize in 20 words will be a challenge but I'll give it a try: James Langley is trapped in The Shade, a world between life and death survival is not guaranteed.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
As I stated above I tried traditional publishing, but ended up self-publishing.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
The first book took me almost three years; this was because of the time I could commit to it. After the first book, I wrote the two sequels that go along with it, and while those are not one hundred percent complete, it only took about three months to get them to where they are now.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Like I said in the question above I've written two other books to continue The Shade series. The two books are still being edited and currently do not have titles. They will be the same genre as The Shade, paranormal/urban fantasy. After finishing those books, I'd like to move on to mystery or detective type genre. I've always been fascinated with human nature and those types of books give me a lot of freedom to explore that.
What genre would you place your books into?
The Shade is a paranormal/urban fantasy book with some mystery.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I've always liked paranormal things, most of the books I read are science fiction and at a young age I acquired an unhealthy obsession with zombies. Most of my favorite movies are supernatural in nature (Shaun of the dead, Underworld, Resident Evil) I've always liked the genre, mainly for the same reasons writers like Sci-fi, you can invent something entirely new.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
I really enjoy writing many of the characters from my book; each one is sort of an extension of me so I like them all. If I had to pick a favorite however, I would go with Virgil. The first book began as ode to Dante Alighieri's The Inferno because I've always liked the idea presented in that book. Virgil was meant to be a guide for James but he is one of the most dynamic characters in the story. I don't want to give away anything but he is beyond important to the story as James grows throughout the three books.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I've been writing for about four or five years now. Nothing ever inspired me to write, but rather, I had a story that I wanted to share and the book took shape after that.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I do, most of the time when I write I'm in my living room. I can't write without listening to music, it lets me focus on what I'm doing and acts as a white noise for me.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I went through about four titles before settling on The Shade. I wrote the first and then as time wore on it was clear I needed a title for it. It went through a lot of different stages but I'm happy with the one I chose.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
It's sort of an odd thing, by that I mean, to manifest names out of thin air. I'm not exactly sure how I came up with James Langley and the other characters in my book, Virgil however, I had his name from the start. Virgil is Dante's guide through hell in The Inferno, I wanted to parallel that in the book so the name was fitting. The book is set in Eugene, Oregon. While I've never been to Eugene I've done extensive research on the city and what the climate, size, and layout are like.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
The names are chosen before; it helps me to visualize the person better if I can put a name to a face. As far as places, Eugene is a real city; I also live close to a city around the same size. While not all cities are identical, it helped to use characteristics of one city to help visualize the other.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Those things are decided before; mostly I give character traits to help tell the story. Most of the time the characters will have traits to propel the story along. That being said, each one of my characters has morphed form the first manuscript I wrote, adding and subtracting different things to balance the characters within the story.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
There are messages in my book, I don't want to beat the read over the head with them, as in, there's no agenda to this book other than to make you think. The message also aren't hidden, the story is about redemption, and the overarching theme of the trilogy is redemption. We've all done things that we regret and sometimes it takes outsiders to help us quell or fix those things we've done.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I can't get away from a good old fashion paperback.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
My favorite book, that's a tough question. I'd say it's a tie if graphic novels count, I've always liked Orson Scoot Cards Enders Game, The exploration of human nature and the sci-fi elements makes me come back to it from time to time. The other is the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series, the stories in that series resonate with my life and things I've done so from time to time I will reread the series.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
Yes and no. Can it be done, yes. Has it been done, partially. The best movie adaptation of a book has to be form the graphic novel Watchmen. The movie is three and a half hours long and nails everything in the book. The writers for the movie used the comic as a storyboard and used all of the same dialogue. The problem with movies becoming books is that no one is going to sit in a theater for six hours to watch a movie. That and the fact that movie producers will want to change things because they believe they need to be original to keep people who have read the books interested, which sometimes is not the case.
Your favorite food is?
Pizza, I can't go wrong with a pizza while I'm writing.
Your favorite singer/group is?
I really enjoy the music of Thrice, but I also like, the silversun pickups and a perfect circle.
Your favorite color is?
Your favorite Author is?
I'd say Orson Scott Card, despite his reputation/beliefs, I believe he is a fantastic author.
I am currently a part time writer and full time government employee. Reading and writing books is one of my favorite hobbies as I enjoy every part of the story telling process. I have been working on three full-length novels for the last three years. I grew up all around the world because my father was in the United States Air Force, the past ten years I have lived just outside of Dayton, Ohio, which is where I now reside with my wife and stepson.