Welcome to Day 15 of Bad Moon Rising! Our featured author today is Calvin Dean, a writer whose work I’m very familiar with. I highly recommend A Door Unlocked – this taut thriller with supernatural overtones is a perfect read for the Halloween season!
A Door Unlocked by Calvin Dean: Vanessa Fitzgerald wishes she had never heard of Bobby Ray Ledbetter, a released convict who murdered her husband and abducted the couple’s eight-year-old daughter after brutally beating and raping the young mother.
While in a medically induced coma, Vanessa receives messages from her husband’s grave—vital clues in an otherwise cold case. But after recovering, the communications cease. Under the guidance of renowned parapsychologist, Dr. Sebastian Dietrich, the transmissions resume, providing valuable leads into her daughter’s location—and Bobby Ray’s accomplices. Buoyed by his success, Dietrich longs to harness eternity’s knowledge and power by bridging the divide between the living and the dead. He accepts a guided tour into the afterlife from Vanessa’s deceased husband. But will his journey lead to the rescue of the Fitzgeralds’ daughter? And what about the others involved in the web of corruption? Only Vanessa holds the key to A DOOR UNLOCKED.
What’s the first story you ever wrote?
My first novel was an expansion of a short story I wrote in high school. In fact, the 300-page book bears the name of that freshman assignment—the Epitaph of Jonas Barloff. It’s about two high school acquaintances who investigate the suspicious death of their best friend. The two teens visit an eerie cemetery at night, explore a dilapidated Victorian home where they encounter an elderly resident of suspicious origins, and survive numerous spine-chilling adventures. While in high school, I also wrote numerous poems. I still have them. Someday I’ll have to share.
Which fictional character would you most like to meet and have a drink with?
I love historical fiction, so I’d love to meet Sir Percy Blakeney, the Scarlet Pimpernel. Not only is he witty yet demure, he also knows how to plot and successfully execute dangerous rescue missions. Best of all, he knows how to keep a secret, something drinking buddies must have in common.
In the spirit of Halloween, what scares you?
I hate snakes. But since this is about Halloween, I’ll set aside my personal phobias. I can tell you this: fog-filled cemeteries, haunted houses with a century’s worth of cobwebs, sheets covering antique furniture, and portraits of dead relatives whose eyes follow you across a candlelit room scares the daylights out of me. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to horror. I grew up on Vincent Price and Boris Karloff. Slasher movies and books containing otherworldly creates don’t elevate my blood pressure like a good old-fashioned ghost story. Let something go thump in a dark corner of the room and my skin begins to crawl. Snakes have that effect on me too.
Favorite hero and villain in a book/movie?
Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles come to mind, but I think I’ll go with my favorite movie, Jeremiah Johnson. You thought I’d pick a horror movie didn’t you? Well, Jeremiah goes through his share of nightmares, and as Bear Claw, one of his acquaintances says, “You have done well to keep so much hair when so many are after it.” I can quote numerous lines from this movie, which was actually based on a book called “Mountain Men”. Robert Redford was spectacular as Jeremiah, quite a contrast to the characters that made him famous: The Sun Dance Kid in Butch Cassidy or Johnny Hooker in The Sting. If you’ve never seen Jeremiah Johnson, you need to get your hands on a copy.
What do you consider the hardest part of writing?
Oh, that’s easy. Getting started each day.
The ability to unwind in the middle of a 70,000-word manuscript can also be a challenge. A writer doesn’t get to sit and enjoy a sporting event, because his or her thoughts are consumed with character building, storyline plotting, and things that make for great reading. You’re constantly rehearsing dialog in your head and trying not to paint yourself into a corner even as imaginary characters force you into avenues you never contemplated. Some days, things click and several hours pass in seemingly five minutes. Other days, I close the file and accomplish other tasks.
What are you working on now?
Thanks for asking. I have two books nearing completion.
Both are departures from my previous releases. While my third book, “Curses”, deals with the supernatural, the story took a humorous turn by accident. The main character, Martin, began exhibiting character traits I didn’t plan or expect. By the sixth or seventh chapter, I came to like his neurotic behavior. With every new situation, he put a smile on my face. Naturally, I had to go back and allow him to rewrite the first several chapters to match his wit and attitude that had evolved over time. The book is finished, but for now, I’m content to let it rest in a hard drive and collect digital dust. But never fear, Martin and the “Curses” placed on him will find its way to bookstores one way or another. Just a matter of time.
And then there’s “Geriatric Delinquents”. In this story, two sisters plot against their aging rock star brother who supports a proposition to legalize marijuana in their small Mississippi town. Again, humor, not horror, rules the day. I’m currently reviewing this little book and hope to send it off to my editor soon.
Calvin Dean is the author of two bestselling novels: “The Epitaph of Jonas Barloff” and “A Door Unlocked.” His short story, “The Rookie Umpire,” appeared in Junior Baseball Magazine. When he isn’t at the gym, or umpiring Dizzy Dean baseball, he’s working on the next paranormal, mystery, thriller, or contemporary humor book. Calvin lives with his family in the suburbs of Memphis, Tennessee.
Available in Kindle, paperback, and Audible: