The Halloween Man

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The New England coastal town of Stonehaven had a history of nightmares and dark secrets. But when Stony Crawford fell in love with beautiful Lourdes Maria Castillo, he became the unwitting pawn in a game of horror and darkness, a game that had been played since long before his birth. The Halloween Man walks when the screaming begins, and only Stony Crawford holds the key to the chilling mystery of Stonehaven, and to the power of the unspeakable creature trapped within a summer ...
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Overview

The New England coastal town of Stonehaven had a history of nightmares and dark secrets. But when Stony Crawford fell in love with beautiful Lourdes Maria Castillo, he became the unwitting pawn in a game of horror and darkness, a game that had been played since long before his birth. The Halloween Man walks when the screaming begins, and only Stony Crawford holds the key to the chilling mystery of Stonehaven, and to the power of the unspeakable creature trapped within a summer mansion.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Novels come and novels go. Some are good, some not so good. But once in a blue moon, you'll stumble upon a work of fiction that's great. Great fiction melds reality with fantasy with no seams showing. And Doug Clegg's The Halloween Man starts out in a scenario that could arise straight from today's newspapers. Psycho-religious cults and psycho religion. Psycho teenagers and psycho crimes. And psychos abducting kids. In Clegg's very heavy opening, we've got a seemingly chain-smoking dirtball named Stony Crawford kidnapping a 12-year-old boy from a Branch Davidian-ish cult of Texas wackos called the Rapturists. At once, the reader is at odds with his/her initial perceptions. What's going on here? Is Stony just a run-of-the-mill freakjob kid-snatcher, or is there a more deliberate purpose to this abduction?

And what the hell is locked up in his glove compartment?

Here, all the makings of a mainstream thriller get twisted into something much more as Clegg stokes the creative furnace to develop a novel of monumental scope, part horror, part psychological drama, part gothic, with trimmings that include tragic rites of passage, lost love, and violent sociopathies. What Clegg has done here is produce a paramount work so ingeniously rich, dark, and intricate that, in my own ten-novel career, I can scarcely believe it. I'm even jealous. This is the hardest kind of book to pull off, but Clegg does it effortlessly and to maximum effect. This is a big novel composed of multiple concepts, characters, and viewpoints, a story told by stories within stories, secretswithinsecrets, myths built upon more myths, one whose horrors unfold as shadows within shadows.

But before I go on, let me tell you a bit about the author. Douglas Clegg has for years proved himself one of the masters of the supernatural thriller, sharpening his craft with such preeminent short stories as "White Chapel" (from Love in Vein) and "O Rare and Most Exquisite" (from the British anthology Lethal Kisses), as well as his a number of successful novels, including Goat Dance, The Children's Hour, and, under his Andrew Harper pseudonym, Bad Karma. Bad Karma, landing on several bestseller lists, brought him a wide audience for his mainstream thrillers. But now, with this, Clegg returns to the all-out novel of terror, and the effort instantly drop-kicks the reader into a harrowing nightmare.

The story moves on, like peeling back layers of an onion, as Clegg takes us back to the origin of Stony's madness — his childhood. Beginning with his birth in the New England coastal village of Stonehaven, Stony Crawford has always been in the eye of a mystery that he can't decipher. When he's 15, and falls in love with Lourdes Maria Castillo, he thinks his life is just beginning. But just as love hits him, so do the responsibilities of adulthood. Lourdes is pregnant, and now they must make some tough decisions. Meanwhile, there's the dark and brooding presence of the Crown mansion. This is a summer home for one of America's wealthier families, a dynasty built on war and exploitation that can trace its ancestry nearly as far back as royal families do. At the center of the Crowns is young Diana, a 20-something beauty who has a reason for seducing Stony's older brother, Van. Van is a prime bad guy, a temperamental nasty teenager who is subdued and controlled by Diana. Like her namesake goddess, Diana rides and hunts in the nearby woods, corrupting Van as she teaches him a love for blood sports.

When the sport becomes human, Van is too mired in his own prison of lust and nightmare. In between we meet a man named Alan Fairclough, a rich antiphilosopher/de Sade-esque human monster, tracing mythic lore for a diabolical end. Fairclough makes the doctor in "Hellraiser II" look like Mr. Rogers — he orders up children for his debaucheries "like ordering groceries." Fairclough has spent his life searching for an ecstatic religious experience...and now he's discovered one.

See, there's something else going on at the Crown place. Inside the mansion, there's a chapel made of stone, but no cross hangs over its altar. The Crowns are keeping some creature trapped in a metal coffin, a creature that might be an angel or a demon. Stony's friend, the blind woman Nora Chance, tells him old stories of Stonehaven, of the night the Halloween Man, a bogeyman from the 17th century, rose from his grave to take revenge upon an entire village. As Halloween night approaches, Stony feels a darkness settling over the cursed town.

Intricate enough yet? Soon Stony gets to face the heart of this evil mystery, and the story soars as we come to understand why the adult Stony would kidnap this little boy and bring him to this desolate place...

Combining both the quiet horror of a Charles Grant with the all-out spectacles of a Stephen King, Clegg's storytelling has never been better. The Halloween Man is a brilliant novel, up there with the best of Straub, King, and Koontz, and one of the most original tales of terror to come along in quite a while. Don't miss it!
— Edward Lee, barnesandnoble.com

Pixel Planet
The Halloween Man is one of the best horror novels that I’ve read in years. It’s got a great story and it doesn’t feel like a repeat of the same old story, like a lot of other horror novels you’ll find on a local bookstore shelf. I had never read anything by Clegg before reading this novel, but now I’m going to go out and get the rest of his books. If you’ve never heard of Clegg either, or are a fan of horror fiction, get this book right now.
Paula Guran
In The Halloween Man one of the characters explains she doesn't tell scary stories: "All my stories are the truth and about human love. Human love comes in all forms." And, although she does not say so, you soon realize that love involves sacrifice and fear. The Halloween Man is about overwhelming love and devastating terror, human strength and supernatural power, and the eternal cycle of death and re-birth. Like other members of a new generation of horror writers, Clegg abandons the traditional trope of good vs. evil (what David Hartwell calls the moral allegorical stream of horror) instead exploring a grey zone of redemption and That Which Should Not Be. By building on cultural myths and the psychology of a quest for truth and identity, the author mainstreams his story in a way that will still appeal to readers who seek the emotional effect the moral allegorical brings. Why is this important? Because commercial horror, the realm of the bestseller, has been defined for a generation by the good vs. evil tradition -- and Clegg may prove to be a writer who can re-define "what the commercial audience wants" for the next generation.

Centering around a compelling protagonist, Stony Crawford, The Halloween Man has the attributes of a bestseller partially because it can be blurbed with gothic hyperbole like "only Stony Crawford holds the key to the power of the chilling mystery of Stonehaven, and to the power of the unspeakable creature trapped within a summer mansion" and "ancient secrets and terrifying tales of unnamable horror" -- yadayadayada. But -- packed with vivid imagery; a broadly scoped, but fast-paced plot; powerful, evocative writing; superb characterization; and facile intelligence -- The Halloween Man is more than its blurbage could ever convey.

The story itself is impossible to boil down to a paragraph -- and maybe that's something else it offers modern readers used to the necessarily simplistic plots of 90 minutes of film. The Halloween Man might make a good mini-series or movie -- but one that enevitibly loses much in translation. It would earn the book-selling sobriquet -- "Yeah, cool, but read the book, it's better!"

With an already solid body of work (Goat Dance, Breeder, Neverland, Dark Of The Eye, The Children's Hour,the "Andrew Harper"-penned Bad Karma) Douglas Clegg has given horror lovers the best Halloween gift possible -- an entertaining spinetingler written with unique style and in no one's tradition -- but respectful of what came before. Little Leisure Books and its perspicacious editor Don D'Auria may already have what bigtime publishers have so fruitlessly been searching for -- the Next Big Name in Horror.
darkecho.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780843944396
  • Publisher: Dorchester Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 4.22 (w) x 6.78 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas Clegg is the author of more than 25 books, including The Hour Before Dark, The Children's Hour, The Nightmare Chronicles, You Come When I Call You, Breeder, Neverland, Purity, Afterlife and many others. He is married and lives near the coast of New England.
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First Chapter

Prologue from The Halloween Man by Douglas Clegg

The shattering of glass and metal, as some unseen intruder broke the window, did not wake him.

A voice in his head whispered, "Your soul."

The boy shivered. The rain outside, and the wind that blew across the near-desolate room, across the old woman's face as she too lay back in some dream, he knew this but none of it could draw him up from sleep; the crunch and squeal of a door opening, of glass being stepped upon, all of this played at the edge of his consciousness, but he could not tug away from the dream that had grabbed him.

The voice whispered, "Your heart."

His eyelids fluttered open for a moment, and then the boy closed them again, as if the real world were the dream, and his inner world, the truth.

Even the mindpain was only a shredded curtain, blowing against a window of the dream.

The boy dreamed on. His inner eyes opened onto the other world, the one of insane geometries, of orange lightning, of fire that rained from trees like leaves falling, of the birds rising from the water their impossibly pure white wings spreading across the burning sky. As the sky filled with bloody swans, he saw the dark ram with its golden eyes shining as it galloped towards him across the surface of the unbroken water. Then the eels wriggling across the glassy surface, turning the brown water red with their wakes. The ram rode across their backs, its hooves beating like knives on stones. The Azriel Light came up from its breath, forming crystalline in the mist of air, and then burned across the world. What was unspeakable found voice and its bleating froze the air for a moment hacked from the fabric of time as the secret of all stabbed at his ears.

Someone tried to wake him from it. The mindpain came back like a bolt of lightning, burning along his neural pathways. The boy's eyes opened, his dream torn apart.

The man shook him awake and held a hand over his mouth. The room came back with its shadows of curtains and half-opened cupboards. The trill of a mockingbird outside the window. The shroud of dawn. The room that always seemed too small for all of them. The others slept on around him.

The man wore a dark leather jacket and jeans, his dark hair in need of a cut, and the smell from him was almost sweet -- like sage on the desert after a rain.

"You Satan?" the boy asked in a hushed tone of reverence. Fear was not there. He didn't sense it. He didn't feel it from the man, and it wasn't within him. He knew, somehow, the man would be there. He knew just as he knew that his dream had foretold something.

"I could be," the man whispered, his breath all cigarettes, "If you keep quiet, you'll live. Understand?"

The boy nodded. The mindpain blossomed against his small skull. When it came on, as it usually did after one of the Great Meetings, it would blast within his head like the worst headache. Sometimes his nose would bleed from it. Sometimes he'd go into convulsions. He never knew how hard it would hit, he just knew it was PAIN. He knew it HURT. The mindpain didn't let go until it was good and ready to.

The boy felt something pressed against his side.

Cold metal.

"That's right," the man whispered. "It's a gun. I will kill you if you make a noise or try to fight me. Or if you try to do what I know you can do."

The boy began shivering, and wasn't sure if he could will himself to stop. He wanted to be back in his dream. It felt like ants were crawling all over his arms and legs. Ants stinging him all over, and then tickling along his neck. He wanted to swat and scratch, but he was afraid the man might use the gun. The boy had seen a jack rabbit get shot clean in half once. He didn't need to imagine it happening to himself.

But the markings on him, the drawings...

He knew they were moving, the pictures on his shoulders. He wished he could scrape them from his flesh. He wanted to tell the stranger with the gun about them, about how they meant bad things when they began moving, but the boy knew this would do no good.

The man grinned as he lifted the boy up, wrapping a shabby blanket around him. The boy's last view of what he had come to call home was the old woman lying there staring at him. Blood sluiced from between her lips, and tears bled down in rivulets from her eyes. The mattress beneath her was soaked red. Her fingers were still curled around a small amulet she kept with her, nothing more than a locket, a good luck charm.

The boy was too tired to fight, and weakened, too, by the previous day's performance. Mindpain always came after the show. Mindpain was like what the Great Father had called a hangover. It was the morning after. That was a problem for him, it sapped him of strength, and even when he had tried to kick out at the man, he could barely move his legs.

The man would probably kill him. The boy knew this is what kidnappers usually did. He had watched late night TV shows like "America's Most Wanted" and knew that kidnappers rarely kept a kid alive.

The boy tried not to think of the gun.

Tried to remember the Great Father holding his arms out, his hands open to him. "I will be your comfort in the valley of the shadow," the Great Father had said.

This was the valley of the shadow of death. This kidnapper and his gun and his blanket and the red stain on the mattress with the old woman's mouth wide open.

Thinking about it, the boy winced. The hammering in his head grew stronger. Everything hurt.

The pounding of the rain on the roof seemed unbearable. It was a terrible rain, it had come at first as ice and then tiny pebbles hitting the corrugated tin roof, until finally, it was just water. God is pissin' on us on accounta our sins, that's what the old woman who took care of him would say, her Texas twang increasing with her years. She was dead now. She was in whatever Great Beyond existed, the boy knew. She was in the pictures that covered him now, as were all things that were no more. If the mindpain hadn't descended that night, weakening him further, he might've been able to struggle against this evil man who took him. Even though the blanket covered the boy's ears, it was as if the hoofbeats of wild horses were beating down upon him from heaven.

The kidnapper threw him into the backseat of a car. Slammed the door. As they drove off, the boy glanced back at the place he'd called home and knew in his heart he would never see it again. Dawn was just bursting from the far horizon. Rain accompanied it, the first fresh drops hitting the car windows, dirt rinsing down. The pain in the boy's head grew, and he could feel the tingling begin along his back and shoulders. He knew that whatever was supposed to start, all the things that he'd been warned about by the Great Father, would come to pass now.

Through him, the radiance would come, like electricity through the idiot wires of the gods.

His skin felt molten.

--From The Halloween Man, by Douglas Clegg. © October 1998 , Douglas Clegg, used by permission.

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Interviews & Essays

On Wednesday, June 9th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Douglas Clegg to discuss THE HALLOWEEN MAN and NAOMI.

Moderator: Welcome, Douglas Clegg! Thank you for taking the time to join us online this evening. How are you doing tonight?

Douglas Clegg: I'm feeling great! After the chat, I'm going to watch the first Austin Powers movie on video -- for the third time. What more can you ask for on a Wednesday night? But because I'm a horror novelist, it will seem...evil...


Matt from NYC: With all the fuss about kids and violence, are you concerned you could come under fire for NAOMI and offering a free horror novel for anyone with an email address who requests it?

Douglas Clegg: Kids and violence? Do they go together? Well, NAOMI is a ghost story crossed with a romantic tale crossed with a dark fantasy -- and is fairly nonviolent toward kids. But if kids really want to fall in love and then try to find the loves of their lives after reading NAOMI, why, I'm all prepared to take responsibility for that.


JWC901@aol.com from New Jersey: By writing an entire novel in email form, don't you worry about the fact that many people simply don't like reading stuff online and prefer having an actual book in front of them?

Douglas Clegg: I love having a book in front of me. I love it when a storyteller tells me a tale. I love when I see a movie. And I really enjoy reading on my Rocket eBook™ (I'm reading DAISY MILLER by Henry James right now). And I love reading cybernovels. So here's what I worry about more than anything: Is my story, NAOMI, or my collection of short stories like THE NIGHTMARE CHRONICLES or my novel THE HALLOWEEN MAN -- are they entertaining? Absorbing? Regardless of what format they're in, I want to involve people in my fictions. And I'm having more fun with NAOMI than I thought I would.


Bonnie from BcatS@aol.com: Hi, Doug. I am a big fan. Any chance we'll see some of the characters from THE HALLOWEEN MAN in another novel?

Douglas Clegg: Bonnie -- I never say never, but truth is, each character lives in his or her own world for me -- and the world of THE HALLOWEEN MAN had a certain closure. Although, I guess if I came up with a strong enough story to entertain myself in the writing, I could do a sequel taking up at the moment THE HALLOWEEN MAN ends...who knows? Thanks also, Bonnie, for coming along on the NAOMI trip!


Brian Knight from Clarkston, WA: I am a writer, and my latest novel, BLACK DAY, has attracted some attention, but I have been unable to get published. How would I go about getting published online?

Douglas Clegg: Brian -- I'm not a publisher, but I'd guess you could approach various places like Hardshell Word Factory or the other online publishers -- or you could publish it yourself on a web site. It depends on your goals. Writing fiction for me is about storytelling and about expressing all the worlds I can dream up. I've discovered that any way these stories can reach readers, I'll probably try. I would suggest that if you believe in your story, you decide where your ideal readers are for it -- and then get your novel where they can find it. Good luck!


Mark from NYC: How did this e-serial novel come about? Also, will you also be publishing the entire thing at any time?

Douglas Clegg: Mark -- thanks for asking. I had wanted to write this novel for a few years (I guess since about '91 or so). I never had the time. Well, I have three books coming out in the next two years, and I thought: I really want to write NAOMI, but where will it appear? My publicist suggested doing something in email, and ta-da -- I went with it. I will publish the novel as an offline novel one day, but right now I'm not going to worry about that. I'm just going to focus on giving the subscribers to NAOMI a unique experience: a book that I'm writing week by week, creating as strong a story as I can.


Gary from Coos Bay, OR: I just finished HALLOWEEN MAN and enjoyed it immensely. It is the only one of your works I have read (with the exception of the NAOMI installments I have received via email). Which one of your books are you most proud of, and if you had to recommend only one (I know, it's a tough one), which one would it be? I love your writing and am anxious to read more. Thanks!

Douglas Clegg: Gary -- I wish I had a million readers like you. Thanks. My first novel, GOAT DANCE, is still high on my list because I had to really dig in and explore what storytelling was with that one; my third novel, NEVERLAND, is my personal favorite because I put so much of my childhood in it, encoded in fiction. But they're all my kids: I even love the one with the warts and the hacking cough that can't quite spell right. Tough to choose.


Curious from USA: NAOMI is scheduled to arrive to subscribers, via email, until the middle of October. Is it possible it could continue beyond this time, due to new plot ideas you may come up with?

Douglas Clegg: Curious -- no, NAOMI will pretty much not be an endless saga. This is a novel that will probably reach between 350 and 400 pages in book form were it to be published. I won't make it the dreaded never-ending tale. But I probably will present email novels or short stories over the Internet in the future -- I find the form really different and very much a challenge.


Fred from Pennsylvania: Do you feel more authors will go to the idea of releasing their work through the web type media?

Douglas Clegg: Fred -- yes, and actually there are lots of novels on the Web -- by exciting new writers. I just am hoping a top bestselling novelist does this, too. I think it's a great way to get more in touch with readers -- who are, in many ways, coauthors, because they use their imaginations to re-create the novel.


Dee Richter from Wisconsin: Your e-novel is a great idea, and I'm enjoying it immensely. Are there plans in your future for having a book signing in the Milwaukee area?

Douglas Clegg: Dee -- I wish! I'd love to, but given my current schedule, I would not know when to plan this. However, a good friend is moving to Wisconsin shortly, novelist Beth Amos (SECOND SIGHT is her recent novel), and my friend Brian Rieselman lives there, too. So if I go visit them in the next 12 months, maybe I can swing by Milwaukee.


Don from New York: Hi, Doug. Are you approaching the writing of NAOMI differently than you do your other novels? Do you feel compelled to go back and make changes to parts of the book that have already been serialized?

Douglas Clegg: Don -- actually, I'm creating more of a discipline for myself with NAOMI -- and enjoying it more than I ever thought was possible. I probably will try to use this same discipline when writing future novels -- that is, learn to focus more on story and not go off on tangents that don't serve the tale. But other than that, it's a very similar experience to writing my other novels -- I just get to fail or succeed with it in front of people every single week. Thanks for asking.


Randy from Columbus, GA: I have read all of your books, and I am looking forward to the next one. What is NIGHTMARE CHRONICLES, and when will it be published?

Douglas Clegg: Randy -- hey! Long time no e! NIGHTMARE CHRONICLES is a collection of short stories linked by the story of a kidnapping and its consequences. One of my favorite books as a kid was THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES by Ray Bradbury -- and I wanted to do for nightmares what he did for Mars and its inhabitants -- tell short stories within the framework of a larger theme. I sort of discovered that many of my short stories were about horrific or wondrous transformations and that they really work together to create almost a novel via short fiction.


Joanne from Half Moon Bay: How can I subscribe to the email novel NAOMI? The concept sounds pretty interesting.

Douglas Clegg: Joanne -- actually, if anyone wants to subscribe, just send a note to JPBelleair@aol.com, the list moderator. Or go to www.onelist.com, register with them, and then search for the DouglasClegg list (one word on DouglasClegg) and sign up. You can find back issues at www.douglasclegg.com. Thanks for asking.


Niki from Niki_palek@yahoo.com: Hello, Douglas Clegg! Good of you to join us this evening. What in your opinion is the best adaptation of a horror novel to the big screen?

Douglas Clegg: Niki -- "Angel Heart" is a terrific film adaptation of FALLING ANGEL by William Hjortsberg. "The Haunting" is a terrific take on THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson (probably my favorite novel of this century). "Bad Dreams" was a really fascinating spin on Bari Wood's DOLL'S EYES.


Ratso Reilly from Statesboro, GA: This e-serial novel -- do have the entire thing already written, or do you write it as you send it? Also, do you still use an editor for a project like this?

Douglas Clegg: Ratso -- I write it as I send it, but a good friend who has edited some anthologies looks over it first to make sure I don't do anything suicidally goofy.


Linda from New York: Are you working from an outline, and do you find the added pressure of having a weekly deadline stimulating or not?

Douglas Clegg: Linda -- no outlines other than weekly ones, when I decide what needs to happen. And then I ignore it. I worked this novel out in my head, and I had to push down on my very small brain to let the characters come alive and take over so that they'd create the story and all I have to do is translate it as best I can. I'm at a point with my fiction where I trust that the story will go where it needs to and will pretty much drag me along with it.


Brooke from NYC: There is a lot going on so far in NAOMI, and I am just wondering if you have a preference for one particular story line and, if so, which one would that be.

Douglas Clegg: Brooke -- weirdly enough, my favorite characters are always the forgotten ones of life: I really love the Diary of a Witch character, and Romeo, and Naomi herself -- and even Jake. And Maddy -- who is not a forgotten one, but she's definitely on the outside looking in and will soon find her destiny within the story. I hate to sound goofy, but I love them all.


Bill from Trenton: Who would you say are the most underrated authors in the horror field? The genre's best-kept secrets?

Douglas Clegg: Bill -- best kept secrets? Tough question, since none of them seem like secrets to me. I loved Boston Teran's GOD IS A BULLET, I loved Bentley Little's THE HOUSE, but hey, Stephen King is amazing me again as if he just was born today when I read BAG OF BONES -- Lucy Taylor is terrific; I love anything by Elizabeth Engstrom. I'm a big fan of this genre.


Stan from Concord, CA: Have you read the latest Harris novel yet? I am looking for a legitimate source who has read it.

Douglas Clegg: Stan -- yes, I read it! He's a genius. It's a wild ride, it's outrageous and audacious, and if you're looking for a repeat of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, you won't find it. But it's a gothic revenge story that is both bizarre and believable, and I think Thomas Harris is a guy I'd like to meet.


Curious from USA: I imagine you could pretty much write whatever type of fiction you chose. Why have you chosen horror/dark fantasy? Has anything ever happened to you that would lead to a fascination with the paranormal?

Douglas Clegg: I have always believed in ghosts, and I have always loved nightmares and dreams and all the things we don't know are true. But my biggest draw to horror is that I fell in love with it early -- whether it was my mom reading the scary parts of the Bible or Edgar Allan Poe to us as kids, or whether it was watching "The Twilight Zone" and "Night Gallery," or even when I discovered Thomas Tryon's THE OTHER and Shirley Jackson -- I just felt drawn to terror.


Danielle from San Francisco: Doug -- I must say I am quite enjoying the novel. The fact that it is coming to me via email makes me feel like I am hearing about an experience with a friend rather than reading a book. Do you think you will continue releasing novels in this form?

Douglas Clegg: Danielle -- absolutely! This is a fun experience, and I hope to find other ways to present my fiction to readers in addition to the more traditional modes. Other writers are doing it: Look at Michael Prescott, whose STEALING FACES is out now in electronic form in Rocket ebook well before the paperback comes out in the coming year. It's an exciting time for writers.


Bill from New York City: Would you ever collaborate with another author on a story or novel? If you would, who would it be with?

Douglas Clegg: Bill -- I guess I'd just have to take this on, case by case. I never really think about writing a novel. I pretty much get a story that won't let go and then write it down. I'm not sure how well this would work in collaborations. But it's a thought!


Matt from New York City: Leisure Books is incredible. God bless them for releasing such great horror books. Do you think that there's a chance other publishers could follow suit and start publishing more horror paperbacks?

Douglas Clegg: I hope so, but I also hope that other publishers also look at what horror novels they're publishing -- you can't fool readers, and if a story ain't there, it won't find a receptive audience. I would hate for publishers to suddenly start publishing horror novels that no one wanted to read. On the other hand, I'd love to walk in a bookstore and find hundreds of horror novels -- I'd probably read them all.


BcatS@aol.com from Tennessee: I'm fascinated with the forbidden city. Will it be fully explained by the end of NAOMI?

Douglas Clegg: Bonnie -- patience! You will experience everything about the world of this novel before it is over. Hope it continues to hold your interest.


DS from Texas: You've probably been asked this question millions of times, but I'll go ahead and ask it anyway: What scares Douglas Clegg?

Douglas Clegg: DS -- what scares me? God, just about everything. Come up behind me and tap me on the shoulder, and I'll jump three feet. The big question is: What doesn't scare me?


PlanetX from aol.com: So tell us...what did ya think of "The Phantom Menace"? I loved BAD KARMA, by the way -- any chance for the return of Andrew Harper?

Douglas Clegg: PlanetX -- thanks for the word on Andrew Harper. Hey, if my then-publisher had been more supportive, there would've been another one. I have a sequel, but I'm holding it back for now. Meantime: "Phantom Menace": I enjoyed it. I must be the perfect audience for it. I laughed at all the places other people groaned at, and I really liked Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor and all the aliens and that pod race!


Mario from Texas: With the reputation that Hollywood has of totally screwing up film adaptations of horror novels, would you ever consider a film adaptation of any of your novels?

Douglas Clegg: Oh sure. I invite Hollywood to come screw with my stories so that I can then do chats and say, "Man, they really screwed up my stories!" while I'm on my yacht.


Fred from Pennsylvania: When cranking out the stories do you have a special thing you do, like listen to the radio? Drink a soda? Wear a certain shirt? Do ten jumping jacks?

Douglas Clegg: Well, I drink a lot of water. And soda. My favorite is Tab, but I seem to end up with just Coke. Sometimes I wear no shirt; sometimes I wear a shirt; half the time, I'm not sure what I'm wearing. Naw, nothing special, although I do like to play with my cat's mind while I'm writing.


Beth from Virginia: Doug -- you say you've had this story worked out to some degree for a while but you're letting the characters take you where they need to go. Have there been any surprises for you in the development of NAOMI?

Douglas Clegg: Beth -- it's all surprises, because in a way, while I never work out the movement in the book, I just work out who these people are, where they're from, and what world they occupy. In my head, I pretty much need to feel I'm living in their world; then the story just begins to move where it needs to as if fulfilling that world. Okay, it sounds nuts. But I just go with it. I trust my absolutely absurd sense that my imagination has created this world in three dimensions.


Randi from Dover, NJ: Do you think writing horror ever negatively affects your state of mind? Do you ever creep yourself out and put yourself in a horror-filled or nightmarish state of mind?

Douglas Clegg: It never negatively affects my state of mind -- I actually find a lot of hope and redemption and fascination within tales of horror. But I do creep myself out at times and also get some cool nightmares out of it. I think horror is both a recognition and release -- a recognition of chaos at the heart of existence, and also a release of id and energy from the readers and the writers in fiction -- and a healthy, life-enhancing release, too.


Lenea from Lenea734@aol.com: How far into NAOMI are you? Is it too late to sign up?

Douglas Clegg: Lenea -- it will never be too late to sign up. Come on board -- and tell your friends. I think this is an event that we'll all look back on years from now and just say: what fun. I think the electronic frontier needs to be crossed in covered wagons -- or with e-books -- and I hope that the more adventurous writers and readers will do it.


Dave M. from Texas: How come everyone seems to be steering away from full-blown horror? Thank God you're still doing pure horror -- I love it. Keep up the good work. Do you plan on sticking to the horror genre?

Douglas Clegg: Dave -- probably because they're not enjoying the landscape. Me, I love full-blown horror, I love the dark secret within the walls, I love the chimes at midnight and the pale specter in the dark corridor, and yep, I write what I write -- it's horror even when I try to make it a love story, and it's horror even when I try to turn it into a fantasy novel. It's my bent.


Don from New York: The earlier question about film adaptations of books made me wonder: Which of your books do you think would most lend itself to being a movie? THE HALLOWEEN MAN was incredibly cinematic, I think.

Douglas Clegg: Don -- I think HALLOWEEN MAN, CHILDREN'S HOUR, and NEVERLAND, although BREEDER might make a really good B-horror movie matinee.


Sunny from Minneapolis: I must admit I never read anything in the horror genre till a friend of mine sent me the first two installments of your email novel...now I am hooked. I went out and purchased all your books, read three so far, and found them incredible...not at all what I thought horror was. So I just wanted to say thank you for bring me into a new genre, and I love your email novel so far -- reminds me of the old cliffhangers from when I was younger.

Douglas Clegg: Sunny -- that's very generous and great of you. Thanks. Yeah, I love cliffhangers, and I love that aspect of NAOMI. I hope all of you here will give THE NIGHTMARE CHRONICLES a spin, as well as NAOMI, and just keep readin'.


Tim from Oklahoma: Doug -- I would just like to say thanks for the inspiration to actively start submitting my short stories once again. I am currently in my tenth year of service with the USAF and find it very hard to find the time to write, let alone submit them. (Although that's the world's most common excuse.) Reading NAOMI has been very enjoyable and has brought that itch back, and I am sending out another story tomorrow. Persistence, persistence, persistence.... Thanks!

Douglas Clegg: Tim -- scratch that itch! Write what you dream up, use that imagination, keep it sharp, and aim high. And don't forget to feed the dog now and then and mow the lawn when the grass is too high. Keep at it.


Moderator: Thank you, Douglas Clegg, and best of luck with HALLOWEEN MAN and your serial novel, NAOMI. Before you leave us, do you have any parting thoughts for the online audience?

Douglas Clegg: Well, I want to thank everyone here who has subscribed to NAOMI and who has followed my novels since 1989 -- I hope THE NIGHTMARE CHRONICLES and my upcoming novel, YOU COME WHEN I CALL, will enthrall you further and keep you turning pages. Goodnight.


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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    Omg

    Some of you feel that this book is scary. It keep you from front cover to last page. I dont think you are reading the same book i am . This book is a not is not worth the time . I will try one more book . I hope it will be a 100% better

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2009

    A very good book!

    I have read several books by Clegg and have enjoyed every one of them. This is a very good book that kept me wanting to read it when I had to put it down. I was very skeptical about the book given the way it starts out in the first chapter, but the strength to this book is when Clegg goes to the flashbacks of Stony as a kid. I found that his revalations in the book were perfectly timed and he kept you wanting more of Stony as an adult. But I found the book a little predictable near the end of the story, which is the cause for the four stars and not five. The book was billed as a scary and horrorifying story on the cover by reviews, but I found myself wondering what story it was that they had read. It wasn't a scary story at all but was more of a thriller with some horror elements to it, such as the demon worshipers. I loved the book despite what people thought that it was and would recommend it to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2003

    Great!

    This is a great book. Scary, heartbreaking, exciting. It's got it all. Read it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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