CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Grim Reaper #2497 (The Reaper’s Quota, Sarah McKnight)

Meghan: Hi Reaper. Thank you for joining us today. What is one word you would use to define yourself?

Trapped.

Meghan: Do you see yourself as the “good guy” or the “bad guy”?

I was the bad guy. Right now, I really don’t know.

Meghan: What does the plot require you to be? How does this requirement limit you?

Indecisive. It doesn’t leave much room for my own character growth, but I guess I’m supposed to be that way.

Meghan: What is your quest?

All I want out of life – er, the afterlife – is a do-over. I know I can do better.

Meghan: What do you hope to accomplish, find, or become during the course of your book/series?

I need answers. I need to find a way to escape this corporate hell.

Meghan: What do you like about the other main characters? What do you least like about the other main characters?

Reaper #2007 is okay, I guess. I think he really wants to help. The Big Boss can crumble to dust for all I care.

Meghan: When was the last time you lied What made you do it?

I lie every day to try and keep my skull attached to my spine.

Meghan: Who have you betrayed lately? What happened?

I’ve betrayed tons of people who had full lives ahead of them. The only thing is, they don’t know I betrayed them.

Meghan: Would you say that you are an optimist or a pessimist?

Realist, I guess. Life sucks and then you die, and sometimes even then fate isn’t done with you yet.

Meghan: What is your superpower?

My Reaper Magic is pretty fun to play around with. I can’t manipulate anyone’s freewill, of course, but I have been known to cause a few creative… accidents here and there.

Meghan: What is your biggest secret?

I remember. Not everything, but it’s coming back slowly, and I can’t let them know.

Meghan: Do you live in the right world? How necessary are you to your world?

I’m in the right world in the sense that I did something to deserve to be here. I wouldn’t say I’m a necessary part of the team, though. I’m just another faceless Reaper in a crowd of thousands.

Meghan: What is your role in this setting? Are you okay with this role or would you like it to change?

Look, I get that death is inevitable and without us, people couldn’t die, but I really want to quit this lousy job.

Meghan: Did you turn out the way you expected?

No, and I hope I can still change that.

Meghan: What, if anything, would you change about your life?

That one moment that sealed my fate as a Reaper.

Meghan: How do you feel about your author?

If I were real, she’d be next.

Meghan: If the two of you got together for coffee, what would you want to say to them?

I’ve got something extra special cooked up for you. Consider it payback for all the torture you put me through. I hate this job, but I’m making an exception for you since you’re the one who put me here in the first place.

Boo-graphy:
Sarah McKnight has been writing stories since she could pick up a pencil, and it often got her in trouble during math class. After a brief stint teaching English to unruly middle schoolers in Japan, she decided she wasn’t going to put off her dream of becoming a writer any longer and set to work. With several novels in the making, she hopes to tackle issues such as anxiety, depression, and letting go of the past – with a little humor sprinkled in, too. A St Louis native, she currently lives in Pennsylvania with her wonderful husband and three cats. You can find her on Twitter and on her website.

The Reaper Chronicles 1:
The Reaper’s Quota
Meet Grim Reaper #2497. Behind on his work, he must complete his quota of thirty Random Deaths or face termination in the worst way. Faced with an insurmountable task and very little time to complete it, Reaper #2497 struggles to hang on to the one thing he’s not supposed to have – his humanity.

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Wendy Jag (The Tooth Fairy, Davide Tarsitano)

Meghan: Hello. I really appreciate you sitting down with me today. What is one word you would use to define yourself?

A victim of abuse, the result of a childhood made of losses and darkness.

Meghan: Do you see yourself as the “good guy” or the “bad guy”?

Well I guess I could be both, since I suffer from Multiple personalities disorder. I’m Wendy Jag but I’m also The Tooth Fairy. But for this interview I will be Wendy Jag.

Meghan: Well, Wendy. What does the plot require you to be? How does this requirement limit you?

The plot requires me to be the antagonist of the novel but I’m pretty sure my creator sees me as the protagonist of the story.

Meghan: What is your quest?

To try to live a normal life, to be loved, to get rid of the darkness that grows inside myself.

Meghan: What do you hope to accomplish, find, or become during the course of your book?

Initially my only goal is just to sleep better, to get rid of the nightmares. I’ve tried therapy but I couldn’t be completely open with my therapist about my issues. Ultimately I end up being very attracted to the other main character of the story. And the rest you are going to have to find out yourself.

Meghan: What do you like about the other main characters? What do you least like about the other main characters?

I like Ed Bowl, he was almost like a second dad for me growing up. I dislike profoundly some of my patients.

Meghan: When was the last time you lied? What made you do it?

I have to lie about a lot of things. People just wouldn’t be able to understand.

Meghan: Who have you betrayed lately? What happened?

I don’t think I betrayed anyone. The other characters, on the other side, might have something to tell you.

Meghan: Would you say that you are an optimist or a pessimist?

An optimist.

Meghan: What is your superpower?

I’m an overly sensitive person. I feel a lot.

Meghan: What is your biggest secret?

If I’d tell you that in this interview I would spoil the whole story.

Meghan: Do you live in the right world? How necessary are you to your world?

I believe I live in the right world, just not with the right people around me.

Meghan: What is your role in this setting? Are you okay with this role or would you like it to change?

I can’t imagine myself in a different role. That’s who I am and the reason I have born.

Meghan: Did you turn out the way you expected?

No, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Meghan: What, if anything, would you change about your life?

I wish I could have had a normal childhood. I wish I could have been loved.

Meghan: How do you feel about your author?

I was only a shapeless shadow for him in the beginning, when the idea of the story germinated in the back of his mind. He got to know me better as the story went on and as we agreed on the shape I was destined to.

Meghan: If the two of you got together for coffee, what would you want to say to them?

He would probably tell me that he’s sorry. I wouldn’t necessarily respond to that but I would hold his hand.

Boo-graphy:
Davide Tarsitano is an author of novels and short stories.

He was born in Italy in 1989. He was raised in Cosenza, a small town in the south, and educated in its public schools. He eventually found his way to University of Calabria and to University of Modena and Reggio Emilia where he graduated, respectively, in Mechanical Engineering and Automotive Engineering. He currently works in the race car industry in North America.

Meanwhile, at the age of seven, he found the passion of his life when his dad brought him a book from the Goosebumps series by RL Stine named Night of the Living Dummy. This escalated quickly, inevitably leading him to Edgar Allan Poe, HP Lovecraft, and Stephen King.

By the time he was fourteen, he had written short stories and a full screenplay of a horror movie, never produced. In the following years his interest broadened towards cosmic horror, science fiction, and dystopian fiction.

He met his wife in 2016 and married her in 2019.

In 2018 he started to write his first horror novel, The Tooth Fairy, which represents his debut as an author.

Johnny Hawk is a successful entrepreneur in the tech field, escaping from his former life after an utter breakdown. During his trip across the country, his route crosses with Wendy Jag, a beautiful woman who works as a dentist in New Mexico.

As the attraction between the two lost souls escalates furiously, they engage in a passionate and daring physical affair. For the first time in a while Johnny finds some peace and hope for the future. 

But he cannot imagine that behind those innocent and deep eyes Wendy is a profoundly disturbed woman, tormented by the demons of her past: a childhood made of abuses, losses and nightmares filled with darkness. As Wendy’s feelings for Johnny grow stronger, the fight inside Wendy’s chaotic subconscious begins. 

The Tooth Fairy, a dormant and malevolent side of her personality is reawakening, silently awaiting…to take over.

Halloween Extravaganza: Dean H. Wild: CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Mick Logan

Mick Logan moved away from many things when he left the city of Royal Center: a career, a tragic death, a bout with crippling mental anguish, but he and his wife found tranquility in the small town of Knoll. His new job and new friends brought him closer to normal, and for that he will always be grateful.

Meghan: Hi, Mick. Thanks for agreeing to sit down and talk to me today. Some of my readers have yet to read your story. What should they know about you?

Mick Logan: In another life I was a teacher. Middle school English and Lit. But that path crossed some dark streams and I took a job in this little town, doing little things that occupied my hands and my thoughts in little ways. Not settling or pining away like Willie Loman, but rather appreciating the refuge I found. There are still nights when I dream about Robbie in that school stairwell, how he screamed as he fell. And then I wake up, and Judy’s there by my side, and Knoll is quiet and sleepy all around me, and I find my peace again. I’ve always been a city kid, and yet I like this town. Teachers are often viewed as authority figures, and I didn’t mind wearing the mantle, but working for the village the way I do now, with little or no burden of authority, brings a sort of relief. Not that I haven’t applied my own brand of leadership to the job. I guess it’s in my blood.

Meghan: What do you believe in?

Mick Logan: Like metaphysical/religious stuff? I believe in varying degrees of power, to put it simply. I believe in the power of the human will to change the course of—fate? nature?—and I believe that we need to take more responsibility for the condition of our surroundings, the paths of our lives and the motivations of those around us. Not to mention the forces of nature (and supernature) flowing around us. Give them names if you like, but accept them, acknowledge them. Loathe them if that’s what it takes for you to give them credence. But inside us and outside, there are perpetual forces at work. Oh yes. I guess I always believed this, but The Crymost proved it to me. Whew, that went deep. Sorry.

Meghan: What haunts you?

Mick Logan: Three things, mostly. Robbie’s death, of course, and the helpless feeling that overcame me that afternoon in March when Justin Wix did what he did. And the funeral. I know what I saw when I walked up to Robbie’s coffin. Some days I have myself nearly convinced it was all an illusion, an outcry from an overworked and exhausted mind, but how valid is an explanation when you need to constantly revisit it and drum it into your own head? And, of course, there’s the betrayal I feel for my own mind letting me down in those dark days before I moved to Knoll. The worry Judy felt for me, wondering if I was permanently unraveled. The worry I felt for the same thing. Concern over whether or not you could fall off that emotional precipice once again. It stays with you, probably forever.

Meghan: Do you have any phobias?

Mick Logan: One of my greatest fears is the day indecision cripples my ability to act responsibly. Couple that with a dread fear of losing my grip on my mental faculties and I guess I’m a real psychological mess. Ha-ha. I guess it’s all about failure of the mind when it comes to phobia.

Meghan: What’s the worst thing that has ever happened to you?

Mick Logan: Up until Judge Thekan came to town, it was easily watching Robbie Vaughn slip down the gullet of that stairwell and hear—not see, because I was too far away—but hear him strike the marble floor at the bottom. His bones, his head. The dark days after that were bad, too. Worse for Judy than for me because I was in some type of emotional fog.

Meghan: Are you lying to yourself about anything?

Mick Logan: Yes, My biggest lie, I guess, is that I’m over all the terrible things from the past. That I’m impervious to them. They no longer have a bearing or an effect on me. I have learned through the whole Crymost thing, such confidence is in itself a lie.

Meghan: What was your childhood like?

Mick Logan: Pretty normal stuff, I guess. Dad might have been the brains of the outfit at our house, but Mom was the rock.

Meghan: Were your actions the result of freedom of choice or of destiny?

Mick Logan: I didn’t have to stay in Knoll. When things got bad, I could have easily jumped in the car and drove away, but there is a core determination in me that doesn’t allow it most of the time, so my actions in regard to everything that took place in Knoll were a choice. Did certain events from my past prepare me to face Thekan and The Crymost? Perhaps, but many segments in a man’s life can be interpreted as preparation for something. Is that destiny? I don’t know. Maybe the old Mick, the one who taught school and kept a cocksure grip on his confidence might say so, but I’m not so sure anymore.

Meghan: If you could go back in time and change anything, would you?

Mick Logan: Dozens of things. Maybe hundreds. I think letting the easygoing, trusting nature of this town take me over, and letting certain things go on without challenging them sooner would be a big one. Even idyllic peace, be it your surroundings or a deeper inner tranquility, can have a heavy price. It can be blinding.

Meghan: What does your name mean to you?

Mick Logan: All in all, I think it’s a pretty all-around regular guy type of name. But in my teaching days I always like the ring of “Mr. Logan.” Formal, with good meter and tempo. Judy still calls me that once in a while, and quite frankly I love it.

Meghan: What scars, birthmarks, tattoos, or other identifying marks do you have? What stories lie behind them?

Mick Logan: Nothing like that, really, except for the stitches in my shoulder that I got the day of the voting initiative in Knoll. Not to sound too maudlin or poetic, but most of my scars are on the inside.

Meghan: What was unique about the setting of your books and how did it enhance or take away from your story?

Mick Logan: My personal story? Knoll is not just any small town, but one with a tragic history and a very insular existence—unique to say the least. And those two elements relate to one another so strongly my personal journey was enhanced by them on a few levels. First of all by the common thread I share with the town—a past of tragedy and recovery, and of course there’s some absolution and redemption thrown in there, too.

Meghan: How do you see yourself?

Mick Logan: I hope I’m likeable. I’ve always tried to be, anyway. I kind of bungle through the marriage thing and do all sorts of “good husband” stuff but deep down I think Judy could have done better, especially considering what I put her through. I can’t image she stayed with me—hell, propped me up and helped me walk again in a figurative way. She’s just—uh, I don’t know. I have no words right now for how much I…I need her, I guess. And I’m a good delegator. I think I handle getting things done very well. I like to think I’m smart, but of course we all know that’s mostly illusion.

Meghan: How does your enemy see you?

Mick Logan: Pretty much as a pain in the ass. That one sharp burr in the shoe that makes you say “This day would be great if not for that one, damn thing that just won’t let go.” And at the same time, he is a little intimidated because he doesn’t know what to make of me. He can’t get a reading on me like he can with most people. I might scare him a little.

Meghan: How does the author see you?

Mick Logan: Sad sack. Punching bag. Ha-ha. I’m kidding. It’s his job to make things tough for me, after all. When I look back at what he wrote, I think he had a lot of sympathy for me, and relayed it in a kind but firm way, all my troubles, my anguish. And I think he threw most of that stuff at me because he knew deep down I was able to handle it.

Meghan: Why do you think the author chose to write about your story? Do you think they did a good job?

Mick Logan: As it turns out, like I said, the town and I have stories that run on parallel tracks. I don’t think you could go into Knoll at that time, and tell its story without dragging me into it. His job was fine. I’ve tried for a long time to put my past, and the incidents at The Crymost into words but despite all my experience with literature and the English language, I’ve never been able to do it. I can barely converse with Judy about it. The author’s handling of the whole ordeal is honest and believable, which is quite a feat since I sometimes have trouble believing it ever happened.

Meghan: What do you think about the ending?

Mick Logan: It think it suits me. Life is motion. Moving on, letting go, leaving those you love, loving yourself enough to make the necessary changes. A poetic ending for someone who has had a life like mine.

Meghan: Do you think the author portrayed you accurately? Would you change anything about the story told? Did they miss anything?

Mick Logan: As far as how my personal story relates to The Crymost, nothing was missed and I don’t think I’d change a thing. Other than my physical description which might include a lantern jaw and bulging muscles. Ha-ha.

Meghan: Have you read any of your authors’ other works? Any good?

Mick Logan: In my teaching days, I read many of his short stories. Of course they were nothing I’d expose my students to because they typically strayed a little too far over the line and some parents would disapprove. But I think my author adds some credence and intellect to his genre. I know that he hopes he does—I can sense it in his words. We’re kind of—you know—close after all. Ha-ha.

Dean H. Wild grew up in east central Wisconsin and has lived in the area, primarily in small towns surrounding the city of Fond du Lac, all his life. He wrote his first short horror story at the tender age of seven and continued to write dark fiction while he pursued careers in retail, the newspaper industry, and retail pharmacy. His short stories have seen publication in various magazines and anthologies including Bell, Book & Beyond, A Feast of Frights, Night Terrors II, and Horror Library 6. His novel, The Crymost, is an exploration of tradition, superstition, and encroaching horrir in a small Wisconsin town. He and his wife, Julia, currently reside in the village of Brownsville.

The Crymost

There is a place just outside of town where the people of Knoll, Wisconsin take their sorrows and their worries. They don’t talk much about it, and they don’t discuss the small tokens they bring as offerings to the place known as the Crymost. After all, this is Knoll, where certain things are best left unsaid. The Crymost, however, will not remain quiet for much longer. Something ancient has awakened in that remote, sorrowful place, and time is running out for its inhabitants. Long-kept secrets will need to be unearthed before the entire town succumbs to the will of a powerful, dark stranger who works hand in hand with a hungry entity crossing Knoll’s borders, invading its homes and executing a soul-draining grip on its citizens.