Jennifer Brozek | April 2014

Tell Me - K.W. Taylor

I’m honored to have my novelette The House on Concordia Drive offered as an all-backers reward for Lucy A. Snyder’s Kickstarter! Lucy is in collaboration with Alliteration Ink to release Devil’s Field, a new novel in her Jessie Shimmer series. The Kickstarter runs through April 13th, and Lucy’s book is due out in late 2014. All backers receive several great rewards, one of which is an ebook copy of Concordia Drive. This novelette is a prequel to my forthcoming urban fantasy début novel, The Red Eye, which is also being released by Alliteration Ink this spring.
The House on Concordia Drive is part mystery, part horror, and part character study. I wrote it on a lark, challenged by a fellow writer to write something new for a literary critique event we were both attending. Since The Red Eye was forthcoming, I decided to rewind the main character’s story a little bit and explore what leads up to that adventure. Sam Brody is the host of a late night radio show that debunks supernatural events. He’s a caustic cynic with personal problems, and underneath his rough exterior he wishes he could be a believer. In Concordia, Sam goes on assignment to a famous haunted house featured in a 1970s documentary. His search for the truth—Was it real or a hoax?—leads him to face some deep truths about himself. In The Red Eye, we see Sam about a year later, still hosting his show, but now supernatural forces reach out to him even more, leading to epic battles against evil. Ghosts and magic, sirens and prophecies, knights and dragons…Sam lives through a lot in these pieces. Fans of Joss Whedon, Jim Butcher, and Kevin Hearne will enjoy this relatable, world-weary new hero.
I conceived of The Red Eye and its protagonist as a response to monomyth/hero’s journey stories where a “chosen one” is called early in his or her life. The question I really wanted to answer was what would it be like if someone were called to heroic duty later in life? What did urban fantasy for and about adults in their thirties and forties look like? Even though Sam is not exactly the most mature of adults, his concerns and experiences are very different from those of a teenager. This is a guy who’s lived through college, divorce, and job issues. He’s flawed—and deeply so—and his heroic calling takes a lot more convincing because of his natural cynicism. My other purpose in writing about a character like Sam was to see if I could infuse a protagonist with the same sort of comic relief personality traits we normally see in supporting characters. In genre fiction, the protagonist can often be a bit dull, stiff, and humorless, while the things audiences tend to find interesting about secondary characters or even villains—sense of humor, whimsy, “bad attitudes,” unconventional behavior—are largely absent from the protagonist. My feeling was that a protagonist doesn’t need to be dull, nor does he or she need to be perfect and upstanding. You can still be a good guy in your fight against the forces of evil, even if you’re not the sort of everyday good guy who pays his bills on time or would make a good boyfriend.
The House on Concordia Drive is a great entry into my work for new readers, and it pairs nicely with Lucy A. Snyder’s brand of horror/urban fantasy. Jessie Shimmer is exactly the sort of heroine I love to read about, and I’m excited for the revival of her series.