August 4, 2017

Rural Fears: a guest post by Ivan Ewert, author of "Famished: The Gentleman Ghouls Omnibus"


It’s the driving force behind survival.
The Velander bloodline carries and ancient secret: power and immortality. But that power requires a key to unlock: human flesh. Gordon Velander finds himself an unwilling participant in a play for survival-but he won’t be powerless for long.

It’s the driving force behind passion.
The Gentleman Ghouls have survived for centuries due to cunning and careful planning but their world in unraveling. Gordon has vowed to take the Ghouls down no mater what, but he’s fighting a war—both within and without. The Ghouls, on the other hand, are not waiting patiently for the end to come.

It’s the driving force behind revenge.
With the Farm and the Commons destroyed, the Ranch is the last outpost of the Ghouls. With this bitter end in sight, Gordon must face his greatest challenge yet—claiming his own fate as other forces make their moves.

Revenge is sweet.
Passion is fulfilling
But survival trumps all.

Rural Fears
a guest post by Ivan Ewert
I grew up in a town called Crystal Lake, and yes, we all know about Friday the 13th. Today it’s a very well-populated suburb of Chicago, but when I was small it still sat on the edge of farmlands. My favorite picture of my young parents the year before I was born shows rolling fields and meadows behind the house in which my father grew up, and a ten-minute bike ride from my junior high school would let you hide among rows of corn taller than the street signs. The house where I grew up was across the street from a wide-ranging woodland preserve – overseen by rangers, but deep enough to lose yourself in as a boy.
We didn’t worry much about things like crime, or kidnappings. It was common to leave the doors open and let us kids ride and ramble until dark. We didn’t have city problems, or if we did, they never impacted my circle. We had more rural fears.
It was well-known that nobody would hear you, deep in the pines, where sound was trapped in beds of rusting needles. As teenagers we went at night to whisper secrets, and to duck our heads when we saw any other sign of life. A flashlight meant adults, and adults probably meant trouble; but shadows meant others like us, and we were hardly to be trusted.
The old concrete feed tower, covered in graffiti, was an age-old deathtrap. At least one boy had died in there, suffocated by corn which set like concrete around his immobilized limbs. He didn’t have a name, nobody actually knew the family, the tower hadn’t been in operation for a generation, but we knew he had died and he had died horribly. As we sprayed our initials and those of local girls, we knew someone was watching; and dared one another to climb to the top, to see if we could get inside. We never did.
The Stickney House in nearby Bull Valley was home to a cult of Satanists. They’d built the house without corners, to confuse the things they summoned, though one had died of fright just after the Civil War; and as our group’s resident reader I whispered the name of Tindalos each time we drove by, half-hoping to see long, lean shapes coursing after our second-hand cars.
Still, we were, as I say, half suburbanized by the time I was in high school. On long road trips to Springfield, on our way to see the southern side of the family, we passed through places that weren’t truly even towns. Places with three streets, often less. Sometimes with a church, sometimes not, but always with a bar, always with the sense of secrets never shared.
On trips north to Wisconsin we passed river towns which have their own eerie sense of disconnection. Not the false isolation of the gated community or high-rise, where one simply pretends they are not surrounded. The river towns are placeless places, filled with water and mold and people passing through both day and night. Small hotels left over from the days before corporate chains, the towns too small to draw anyone but hunters, fishermen, occasional transients.
None of that mentions the endless solitude. I don’t claim Illinois can match the Dakotas or Nebraska for wide open skies, but the prairie holds its own terror. One of my dearest friends grew up in the woods, and we spar sometimes over which is best when one is hunted: Do you want places to hide, or room to run, from the people and things with a hunger for your fear?

Rural fears are different from the suburbs and the cities. They’re no better or worse, no more or less real for all the supernatural layers we burnish them with. They’re what I grew up with and what influence my work, more than nearly anything I’ve studied or cultivated – the first fears that I knew.

Ivan Ewert was born in Chicago, Illinois, and has never wandered far afield. He has deep roots in the American Midwest, finding a sense of both belonging and terror within the endless surburban labyrinths, deep north woods, tangled city streets and boundless prairie skies. The land and the cycles of the year both speak to him and inform his writing; which revolves around the strange, the beautiful, the delicious and the unseen.

His work has previously appeared in the award-winning anthology Grants Pass, as well as in Close Encounters of the Human Kind, Human Tales, Space Tramps: Full-Throttle Space Tales and Beasts Within 3: Oceans Unleashed, while his culinary writing has appeared in Alimentum: The Literature of Food. An early  treatment of Famished, then named Vorare, as well as separate works titled Solstice and Idolwood, appeared in the e-zine The Edge of Propinquity from 2006 to 2011. He was the sole author to span all six years of that publication.

FAMISHED: THE FARM is his first published novel.

Ivan wears a number of creative hats professionally, including graphic design and acting. He is currently working as voice talent on a lyric proposal to the Poetry Foundation, and appeared as himself alongside his family in the award-winning documentary The Suicide Tourist. He designed the book jacket for Industry Talk: An Insider’s Look at Writing RPGs and Editing Anthologies, as well as logos for Timid Pirate Publishing and such performing companies as Sage Studio, Lucy’s Café, and the Inhabit Theatre.

In previous lives, he has worked as an audio engineer, a purchasing agent, a songwriter, a tarot reader, a project manager and, for a remarkably short stint, an accountant. In his spare time, Ivan occupies himself with reading, gaming, and assisting with the jewelry design firm Triskele Moon Studios. He currently lives near the Illinois-Wisconsin border with his wife of thirteen auspicious years and a rather terrifying collection of condiments and cookbooks.

No comments:

Post a Comment