Publication date: March 31st 2016
Genres: Adult, Horror
In the remote, eastern European town of Borslav there is St. Sebastian orphanage, a place where people discard their unwanted children. For the American, Blaire Baker, it’s the perfect place to volunteer her services. Paired with a cheerful volunteer nurse, Blaire is enthusiastic about the possibilities, but is quickly discouraged when she encounters the nefarious nature of the staff and the deplorable conditions of the facility and the children.
Upon arrival, one of the children informs Blaire, “There’s something in the basement.” It isn’t long before strange things begin happening, including Blaire’s flashbacks of the accident that killed her parents. The children soon suffer injuries that Blaire, first, fears may be the deeds of the callous workers but she soon thinks the abuse may originate from a source that is less than human, something unwanted.
The unwanted is coming but in order for Blaire to fight it, she must dig into St. Sebastian and herself in search of truth. Blaire wants nothing more than to help the children, but when discovers the tragedy that happened in the basement and learns that the same evil forces are still at work, it will be Blaire who needs help… There’s something in the basement.
Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
Black Water Tales: The Unwanted is the second in my series of Black Water Tales, the first was Black Water Tales: The Secret Keepers. The Unwanted is about Blaire Baker, a young woman who has recently received her graduate degree in education and has decided to travel to a small, sea-bordering town in Eastern Europe to help with the children at the understaffed, underfunded St. Sebastian orphanage where horrors await her.
What inspired you to write it?
Soon after completing The Secret Keepers I found myself watching an inordinate amount of documentaries and I came across one on orphanages in other countries and what I learned was frightening. I don’t much care for jump scare horror, I prefer horror that chills one to the core that makes you question, not what’s in the closet but what’s in the mirror. This documentary on the deplorable conditions of the facilities and the failing health of the children haunted me, how could things like this still be happening all around us? And while I was intrigued, I was not yet fully inspired to write the book, writing the book still hadn’t occurred to me. It wasn’t until one evening after watching this documentary when I woke in the middle of the night and there they were, those children who were severely malnourished and abused among other things were all standing by my bedside looking down on me. When I woke the next morning, I knew that I had to tell their story.
How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
The baby doll, Dolly, was the prized possession of one of the children in the story, Lorna, and I thought it would make for a fabulously haunting image.
If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main character?
Joy Bryant, I love her and I think that she’s gorgeous.
Is it part of a series or is it a stand-alone novel?
The Unwanted is part of a series called, Black Water Tales. Though it is part of this series, each book stands alone. All of the books are connected in their history. All of the characters either come from or live in Black Water and if you know the history of Black Water and things that happened in other Black Water Tales, you may catch interesting facts that you can string together between the books, but even if you know nothing of Black Water you can enjoy the individual tales alone without issue.
Where is the novel set and why did you choose to set it there?
Black Water Tales: The Unwanted is set in a dilapidated orphanage in a small, sea-bordering town in Eastern Europe. Orphanages are one of the most terrifying settings because they are filled with chilling stories all on their own, told through the eyes of abandoned children. I chose a small town because I wanted it to mirror the book’s historical town of Black Water and the sea always makes for interesting writing.
What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?
Horror is a genre that is physical and abstract at the same time. It takes you from light and airy normal life down into the trenches of terror never allowing you to come up for air. When we allow ourselves to be pulled down into that deep abyss, most times we are faced with no one other than ourselves which can be the most frightening thing of all.
What made you want to become an author?
For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading. I recall zipping through Beverly Clearly books, then came Fear Street, etc. and in my opinion it is only natural to eventually come to want to create that thing you love so well.
How do you come up with character names?
This is kind of difficult for me. I never feel that the names I come up with are realistic enough. More than anything I want the name that I choose for a character to fit them and their life story without being a distraction. I use people I know, though sparingly because I don’t want them to think that my treacherous, sometimes murderous characters are actually based on them. Sometimes, I use baby name sites and I just think about names while I write. A character’s name may change a couple of times as I am writing before I settle on it.
Do you struggle to come up with book titles? Do they come before, during or after you’ve written your book?
Writing a book is like being in labor, it is difficult, emotions are all over the place and different things are happening at different times so when I think of it in that way, the most important thought becomes not to rush the process and to enjoy the experience. Usually, I will decide on a working title and as I write and as the characters and the story develops, I let the name come to me. Sometimes, it will just pop out of a characters mouth or I will be editing a portion of the book that I have read hundreds of times and the words will just stand out to me and there I will find my name. I don’t chase the title, I let it find me.
Name one of you all-time favorite books?
One of my all-time favorite books is the Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. It’s a character driven book that is wonderfully colorful and imaginative in its descriptions and characters.
Who or what inspires you?
Everything inspires me. Constantly, I study the world around me and I work really hard to keep myself open to it. Just the other day as I was driving into my office, this was after a week of rain storms in Houston, I noticed a man on the side of the road cutting up a tree that had fallen and blocked the driveway. Immediately, I began composing a story involving two neighboring families that had been feuding notoriously for generations. How did it all begin? When neighbor A’s tree fell into the neighbor B’s driveway. In the process of neighbor B cutting the tree and removing it from his driveway, he was gravely injured and so began the feud between neighbors that were once good friends.
Where is your favorite place to write?
At my desk, in my home office under my furry white blanket with a cup of something hot (coffee or tea depending on whether or not I am struggling to end my raging caffeine addiction at that particular time), rain pouring down outside the window. Cliché, I know, but I love it.
What is your favorite movie that was based on a book?
World War Z. One of the best zombie movies out there and I am an expert when it comes to zombies. I even have my emergency kit ready. Everyone in my house thinks I’m crazy, but I’m sure they’ll come around when they want some of my dry packed roast beef and a weapon to fight off the zombie hoards quickly infiltrating the suburbs of Houston, Texas.
Name two of your favorite authors?
Toni Morrison and R.L. Stine.
Tell us a random fact about yourself?
On a really good day, I can run about 9 miles. *This type of “really good day” has only happened about 3 times in my lifetime. Most days it’s 3 miles.
Who would play you in the movie about your life?
Meagan Good. I hope she’s ready because she is going to have to develop some serious issues to play me.
Tell us an interesting fact about where you live?
At times you do see random people riding their horses to the local convenient store or from one house to another. (Houston, Texas).
What are your writing plans for the future?
Currently, I am working on my 3rd novel, The Sandman (working title). Also, I am writing several pieces for film.
Tell us one thing that is on your bucket list?
Ha! I am not at all the adventurous type. The closest I get to adventure is trying out a new ice cream flavor. Perhaps I would like to go on one of those expensive writer’s retreats up in the mountains.
I’m not much into fairytales so I would have to say that my favorite scary myth is the babysitter and the madman, “The call is coming from inside the house.”
Who/what did you want to be when you were a kid?
An attorney, that heavens I got over that.
I was born in the tiny, but lovable town of Centralia, IL which has a two screen movie theatre, one high school and still celebrates May Fete, so I had no choice, but to develop a fantastic imagination. Since childhood I have been writing everything from short stories to songs, but I have always aspired to compose a novel. Black Water Tales: The Secret Keepers is my first novel and the first book in what will be a series of thriller novels. Philosophy was my study in college and I received a Bachelor of Arts in the subject from Florida International University. Writing is one of my most favored artistic pursuits, but my love for the arts does not stop there, I am also a vocalist and actress and participate in local theater in Houston Texas. Website Facebook Twitter Goodreads