Today you’re in for a real treat, my dear readers: you get a break from me.
That’s right…instead of listening to me babble, you’ll be hearing (or technically ‘reading’) ANOTHER Matthew’s words. I’m taking a day-long break from my ranting (or more appropriately ‘ravings’) to let author Matthew Q. Quinn talk about his most recent work, THE THING IN THE WOODS.
Here is the book’s plot synopsis, courtesy of the author:
Seventeen-year-old James Daly’s father bought a house in small-town Edington, Georgia to go with a promotion at his Atlanta law firm, only to lose his job when the housing bubble collapsed. Now James has to work at the Edington Best Buy to help pay the mortgage they’re underwater on. He can’t wait until he turns eighteen and can leave Edington behind forever.
But when a local boy challenges him to an ATV race near a tree farm most people avoid, things get much worse. James’ rival is dismembered alive by a tentacled horror emerging from a nearby pond. The monstrosity has been worshiped by a secretive coven since before the Civil War, and its devotees don’t take kindly to their secrets being threatened.
Now with the aid of Amber Webb, a local girl he doesn’t like liking, and a renegade cult member, James must fight to avoid ending up bound to a picnic table and offered up to a monster. He must do battle with both the local cultists and their predatory master, THE THING IN THE WOODS.
** Click here to visit THE THING IN THE WOODS Goodreads page
I have not read the book, however I’m definitely intrigued. When tentacled monstrosities rear their heads (or arms) in rural areas, my interest is always piqued, as they make me think of Lovecraftian things. From what Mr. Quinn tells me, I’m not far off the mark. I asked him if Lovecraft and Cthulhu influenced the book, and if he would mind putting together a post for Shattered Ravings in regard to his inspiration. Here is his response:
CALL OF CTHULHU, The Great Recession, and the Origin of THE THING IN THE WOODS
by Matthew W. Quinn
My novel The Thing in the Woods is available for purchase as an e-book on Amazon and will soon be available in print via CreateSpace on sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The esteemed Mr. Baker, a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft, asked me how Thing came to be. So here goes…
Thing began in that long-lost wonderland known as Borders, in particular the one in the community where I grew up. I’m not totally sure on the chronology, but I think I was home from college and hanging out there one evening reading a Call of Cthulhu role-playing manual. The manual sketched out a scenario where the kind of rural fastness where Lovecraft’s stories often take place ends up becoming suburbanized. The book used the phrase “supernatural Love Canal,” a reference to a neighborhood in New York State built on top of a forgotten toxic-waste dump.
Soon after, I went to work as a reporter for The Griffin Daily News. I arrived just as the Great Recession came and that had a major impact on the story. From one of the city’s development people I learned the term “pipe farm,” a reference to a neighborhood where the foundations for houses and the utilities had been laid, but the money dried up before they could be finished. That makes an appearance in Thing–when the Atlanta transplant teens face off against local teens in an ATV race, they meet up at a pipe farm. A plot of land near my apartment complex was bulldozed in preparation to build condos, but the condos never came and the land returned to nature. I can’t remember fully if that appears in Thing either, but it seems like the sort of little detail that would.
But Thing is not a traditional Lovecraft story set in the Atlanta exurbs as opposed to rural New England. The monstrous creature our hero James Daly faces off against, though some local people worship it as a god, is in an altogether different league than the Great Old Ones. If I were going to equate it to one of Lovecraft’s creatures, it’s probably on the same power level as a shoggoth. It’s extremely dangerous, but it’s vulnerable to mortal weapons in a way that Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, etc. are not. I also go out of my way to avoid Lovecraft’s racism and classism. There are rednecky villains, yes, but they’re complicated individuals who happen to make very bad choices, not slavering inbreds.
Of course, that doesn’t mean humanity is out of the woods should James and his friends triumph over the horror lurking in Edington’s tree farm. If this sells well enough that I can find a buyer for the planned sequel The Atlanta Incursion, the world is going to get a lot bigger and a lot scarier. Who knows what else might be coming through the cracks in the walls between the worlds?
So if you’d like to see my take on Lovecraftian horror, check out Thing as well as my novelette “The Beast of the Bosporus” as a standalone story, in my collection Flashing Steel Flashing Fire, or the fantasy collection Uncommon Senses.
THE THING IN THE WOODS is available now in a variety of formats, including e-copy and print. Click the links below to check it out:
If you read it, stop back by here and leave a comment with your thoughts!