January 18, 2016

Trivial Bits: a guest post by Barry Napier, author of "Serpentine"

About Barry Napier's SERPENTINE: Clarkton Lake is a picturesque vacation spot located in rural Virginia, great for fishing, skiing, and wasting summer days away. 
But this summer, something is different. When butchered bodies are discovered in the water and along the muddy banks of Clarkton Lake, what starts out as a typical summer on the lake quickly turns into a nightmare. 
This summer, something new lives in the lake...something that was born in the darkest depths of the ocean and accidentally brought to these typically peaceful waters. 
It's getting bigger, it's getting smarter...and it's always hungry. 

In what little spare time I have, I often like to read through the trivia sections of my favorite movies at IMDB. I also enjoy reading Wikipedia entries about the creation and development of some of my favorite albums. It’s a glamorous life…I know.
Given these things, you can imagine how happy it makes me to find Wikipedia entries and online articles detailing the creation and thought process behind some of my favorite novels. Yes, I am one of those readers that get very excited when authors discuss how a novel took shape in their afterword or author notes. For instance, I find it fascinating that Stephen King was so stoned and drunk out of his mind that he does not recall writing most of Cujo (which is one of my top 3 King novels). Similarly, did you know that Justin Cronin’s The Passage came about when Cronin and his daughter took walks and just spit-balled ideas for that might make good books?
I thought it might be fun to sort of dissect one of my books in a similar way. What are some of the background details and interesting (maybe) tidbits surrounding one of my books? And since Serpentine was just released, why not use that as the example?
So, here’s some background and trivia on how Serpentine came to be.
While it’s not my longest novel, it took a very long time to write. There was a little more than two years behind the creation of Serpentine. The only time I have taken this long with a book was with my first published book, The Bleeding Room. That one took the better part of three years and its first draft was 135,000 words.
Loosely inspired by Stephen King’s short story,The Raft.” Actually, it was more inspired by the snippet from Creepshow II based on King’s “The Raft.”
About halfway through writing this, I got the sense that this would likely be my last outright horror novel. Most of my stuff is more along the lines of paranormal thrillers anyway (yes, I do believe there is a difference between the two). And, thinking this was my last foray into pure horror, I tried to go all out in a few scenes.
Ever heard of frog-gigging? If you live anywhere near the American south, you probably have. Somehow, it took be a few novels before I mentioned it in any of my work. You’ll find a frog-gigging reference in here.
The lake in Serpentine is structured around a lake I grew up around. The intertwining backgrounds that went deep into the woods always seemed a little creepy to me. As someone that grew up with things like “The Raft” always flashing in the back of my head, my imagination usually went a little wild whenever I visited that lake.
Serpentine started out as an older version of a short story I once wrote and was nearly published called “Smaller Parts of the Whole.”

If you haven’t picked up Serpentine yet, you can grab it for Kindle right now for $2.99. A paperback version will be coming soon from Severed Press.

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