Halloween Extravaganza: Kelly Stone Gamble: Tick Tock and a Kit Kat Clock

I asked Kelly Stone Gamble to take part in this year’s Halloween Extravaganza, as I have before, because I think she’s a particularly good fit even though she doesn’t write horror or dark fiction. Here she is talking about a particularly interesting “character” of her book.

Although my books’ protagonist talks to dead people, my books aren’t in anyway considered horror or paranormal or even scary. However, it is Halloween, and one of the interesting “characters” in my book goes along with the theme of the holiday in a strange sort of way. A black cat. More specifically, a black cat clock.

Remember that guy? The black Kit Kat clock that was very popular in the 70’s? I remember when my grandmother first hung one in her kitchen. I was delighted! I would stand in front of it, watch its eyes move in one direction and its tail in the other. I even had my own little Kelly dance, moving my eyes and tail in time to his movements (which, for 50 comments on this post, I will happily recreate for your viewing pleasure). I thought that clock was about the greatest thing in Kansas.

However, I also had an older brother, one who loved to torment me in a way that only older brothers can. He once convinced me to shoot myself in the foot. On another occasion, he assured me that “bastard” was a fine word to say in front of my parents because June Cleaver frequently called Beaver one. And he also convinced me that my favorite decoration, the black Kit Kat clock, was a spy, placed in the kitchen to watch my every move and report back all the bad things I did to my parents-or worse-Santa Claus.

That revelation changed everything. From that day forward, each time I was “bad”, I would look to see if the cat was watching. He always was. His eyes moved back and forth, not missing a thing. Paranoia set in when my overactive imagination decided that he could see through walls and somehow was watching me when I wasn’t even in the house. I begged my grandmother to get rid of it and it wasn’t until I “accidentally” knocked it off the wall and broke it that my nightmare of the Kit Kat clock ended.

In my books, I thought it only appropriate for Roland (the bad guy), to own a black Kit Kat clock. Since Roland dies in the first paragraph, the clock then becomes a symbol and how the clock “travels” through the three books, changing possession, is also symbolic of the current owner’s past relationship with Roland. From Cass, Roland’s wife and murderer, to Clay, Roland’s brother, to finally Shaylene, Roland’s daughter. (So if you’ve read my books and didn’t notice that, there’s an “ah ha!” moment.)

When my first book was released, my husband thought it would be a great idea to give me a vintage black Kit Kat clock as a “book birthday” gift. Thoughtful and unique, yes, but he didn’t know that some of the things my characters experienced in the books in relation to the clock were actually things I imagined as a child. Sure, I’ve got a few years on me and I know the clock isn’t really a spy, but still, four years later, I’ve yet to take it out of the box.

And hang it on the wall?

Yeah, that’s not ever going to happen.

Kelly Stone Gamble is the author of USA TODAY bestseller They Call Me Crazy, Call Me Daddy, and Call Me Cass. She is an Instructor for Southeastern Oklahoma State University-McCurtain County Campus, and lives in Henderson, Nevada and Sawyer, Oklahoma (It’s complicated).

Cass Adams 1: They Call Me Crazy

Cass Adams is crazy, and everyone in Deacon, Kansas, knows it. But when her good-for-nothing husband, Roland, goes missing, no one suspects that Cass buried him in their unfinished koi pond. Too bad he doesn’t stay there for long. Cass gets arrested on the banks of the Spring River for dumping his corpse after heavy rain partially unearths it.

The police chief wants a quick verdict—he’s running for sheriff and has no time for crazy talk. But like Roland’s corpse, secrets start to surface, and they bring more to light than anybody expected. Everyone in Cass’s life thinks they know her—her psychic grandmother, her promiscuous ex-best friend, her worm-farming brother-in-law, and maybe even her local ghost. But after years of separate silences, no one knows the whole truth. Except Roland. And he’s not talking.

Cass Adams 2: Call Me Daddy

Cass Adams comes from a long line of crazy, and she fears passing that on to her unborn child. Also, she’s run over Roland and Clay’s surprise half brother Britt, landing him in the hospital. With her inner demons coming out to haunt her, she doesn’t know if she should keep the baby.

Clay Adams has his own decisions to make. His half brother shows up to tell him their father, Freddy, is still alive but needs a liver transplant. When Freddy blew out of town thirty-five years ago, secrets were buried. But it’s time for them to be dug up, because only then can Clay hope to lay the past to rest.

Call Me Daddy is a story of family, the secrets they keep, and to what lengths someone would go to protect them.

Cass Adams 3: Call Me Cass

Cass Adams is finally happy. She has a man who loves her, a family that understands her, and a baby on the way. Other than seeing the occasional dead person, Cass feels normal. But pregnancy has an unwelcome side effect. Cass is having visions of the future, just like Grams does. While some are cloudy, Cass knows one thing for certain. Her best friend, Maryanne, is going to die.

Police Chief Benny Cloud has his own problems. His father has been released from prison and is on his way home to surprise Benny’s mother, who’s been keeping time with the county sheriff. Fat Tina’s Gentlemen’s Club is under siege by protestors. And it’s growing dark outside.

A devastating storm is coming to Deacon, Kansas. In its wake, the town must deal with tragic losses that force everyone to reevaluate their lives.

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