Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Whispers: an interview with Pete Turner

The latest in Pete Turner's "Noche Files" trilogy is set to drop January, on Friday the 13th, through TreasureLine Books. Pete was good enough to give us a moment to catch up on his new publisher, his new book, and perhaps even a glimpse into the future.

AFitD: When I first reviewed Whisper, I noted the biographical influence on the story, but joked that I hoped it wasn't too biographical (given the way things seem to go for Noche). Still, the character does bear more than a passing resemblance to the author. How much of your own life story did you fill in for Solomon's?

Pete Turner: Well, there are definitely some similar elements of my life with Sol. First of all, my wife and four children are still alive (when my wife first read the MS she was angry that I killed her and the four kids in the first few chapters!). Like Sol, I am a therapist for a children’s mental health facility; and his hometown and such have very similar characteristics of mine. I did play drums for Screaming Archangel. I did attend Oral Roberts University.

My dad was a pastor (he passed about 2 years ago). I have seen some legitimate supernatural things—including people that I believe were demon possessed. Some parts of Whisper 1 are based on those personal experiences. Additionally, when I moved to “Retselville” some strange things happened during that first summer (that I fictionalized a little more) and that, along with some local urban legends, led to the inspiration of both of these novels.

But other than that, once I started writing, Solomon Noche took a life of his own. His troubled thoughts and crazy nightmares are all his, thank God! His special abilities, like seeing and talking with demons—yeah I don’t have that either…

AFitD: Book 1 got off to a pretty rocky start with Green Hat publishing, but here we are, a new publisher (TreasureLine) and several positive reviews later, and you're riding the top of quite a few Amazon lists. What made the difference?

PT: I think the bottom line is simple—IT TAKES TIME TO GET IT RIGHT! My first go-round, I rushed everything! After finishing Whisper A Scream, it took a few years to find a publisher, so when GH made an offer I didn’t want to wait for a long, drawn-out edit, critique or beta/ proof readers to have it in perfect shape. I just wanted to have it available to people. So I take responsibility as much as GH for the poor first edition. I appreciated the opportunity to sign with GH and despite them being truly a one-man show, it hurt and helped my career in equal parts, mostly because there was no edit!

Then, an awesome horror writer (Ellen Maze) came along and read my story, and spoke plainly to me about it. She said, basically, that it was an awesome story that scared her, but that the book needed a lot of work and that I should learn to hone my writing craft. She became my mentor, hooked me up with an awesome critique lady, and told me to re-write the entire novel—which I did a paragraph at a time--based on suggestions from that critique. It made a world of difference. I spent about 6 weeks re-writing it word for word, used a good editor, and signed with TreasureLine Books. Still, I rushed TL to re-publish it without their editor or proofreader and there are still a few flaws with it, which we are working to make perfect.

AFitD: Solomon Noche brought a lot of baggage into and out of the first Whisper book. Where do we find him in Book 2? (3b) In a nutshell, what's Book 2 about?

PT: The second novel opens with Sol in the hospital, having more questions than answers. It soon picks up six months later as he begins a quest to find out if his first adventure was a dream or if the answers remain in the woods behind his house.

Whisper from the Woods is about Sol searching for answers but discovering something more gruesome—a dumping ground for a serial killer. Soon, Sol has to do battle with another demon, Belial, and finds himself in the middle of a hunt for a serial killer named Silencer.

I will say this warning: This novel will most likely stir up some controversy! It delves into the mind of a serial killer and has some VERY disturbing scenes of gore that I felt were necessary to deliver the story authentically.

AFitD: Recently, you've had to announce a short delay in the release of Book 2. Can you give us details on what's going on, and when readers can expect it?

PT: Yeah… there have been several delays. My original release date was thought to be a late summer release, as Whisper A Scream was thought of -- to me -- as essentially just a re-published version of the same story. But it was much more than that... besides the new edit—it has several new scenes and basically a new sub-plot ,making it essentially a brand new book!

This was most evident in how it suddenly took off in sales and in positive reviews! So after it began to climb to the top of several of those amazon charts, I decided to delay the release of Whisper 2 and let 1 ride the wave a bit longer. I figured it may need another thorough re-write and more time working with an editor, while also getting the cover everyone could love.

Then I shot for a Halloween release but the editing took longer than I thought and TreasureLine had plans for other releases by that time and couldn’t bunch up too many at the same time. This delayed its release til mid/ late November… then came a few formatting issues so I planned for a mid-December release, but ultimately we decided to just hold off until the upcoming year when I realized that January had a Friday the 13th date and it made the most sense.

AFitD: So... book 3?

PT: Yes, there will be a book 3! I’d say I’ve written about 1/3 of it so far, it’s titled WHISPER of the FALLEN!

SPOILER ALERT: Noche Files II ends with a cliffhanger—so if you don’t want to jump ahead at all don’t even read this short sentence about book 3. It looks like Sol may join the FBI and track another serial killer who is called S Y K (the Sabbath Year Killer). That’s about as much as I will say at this time.

Keep up with the goings-on in Pete Turner's world at his website!