Following up on the earlier post on the sunken villages in the nearby reservoir . . . part of the process of writing (for me) involves visuals that inspire me, usually things I see while out and about, which is why I always have my trusty camera slung over my shoulder all the time. So two things here: one, it’s critical as a writer to get out there and interact with the world, take it in. Second, observe. Like this image of the remains of a sunken pier in the Hudson River, sunken, rotting. Decaying. What’s lurking down there? Imagination is great, but experiencing things directly even better. It informs the process.
Also known as the “Armour-Stiner” house, this unusual Victorian masterpiece was completed in 1860. Sorry, no sordid history with this one (but I’m pretty sure I can cook one up), but it is apparently the only known domed octagonal house still existing in the United States. It’s certainly adorned with all sorts of curious details, including reliefs of the original owner’s dogs. Check out some of the internal photos on the official FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheArmourStinerOctagonHouse/
Inspiration behind the current novel in the series being written. Few people know that there are not one, but FOUR villages submerged beneath the placid surface of this local reservoir. The church steeple of one can be seeing emerging out of the gloom on days when the water level is low enough. Just the thought of that kind of gives me gives me the willies. Which of course begs the question – what else could be lurking down there?
The other source of inspiration behind the “Wyvern Falls” name is in fact a nod to the village I spent much of my misbegotten youth in, a scenic little village in upstate New York known as ‘Honeoye Falls’. It was (and still is) a quaint place and will always occupy an admittedly idyllic place in my mind. All the old friends and neighbors are now gone but that house and street where so many of my youthful dreams were forged still exists, and always will in my mind. For me and my family, at least, it was as perfect a place to grow up in as one can imagine, though not without it’s excitement. Like the time my uncle and a certain (unnamed) local biker nearly got pegged by a drive-by shotgun shooting after a bar fight downtown, taking out the window of the (then) Brick Oven Pizza at the four corners, or the time the bridge from where I shot this photo collapsed. There were plenty of odd and eccentric characters there of course, and plenty of devious adventures gotten into. Possibly involving fireworks, blowing up ship models in the creek, chasing girls and getting drunk. Not necessarily in that order. But there were also the Fireman’s Parades, the Fireman’s Carnivals, the endless summer days and long winters. It was a safe place. Which was of course why I had to leave it, though I realize now it’s still with me even now, partially re-imagined through the distorted lens of a certain village along the Hudson River.
It was also the place where, as a High-School teenager, I sat down at my Mom’s old Smith Corona and wrote my first short story.
Part of the creative process is like a scavenger hunt and part of it is this sort of mystery you have to let yourself surrender to. When you do, well, that’s when the magic happens. Not the Harry Potter/Houdini/ILM sort, but the kind where you feel like you’ve plugged into something bigger than yourself. When that happens you find things revealing themselves to you in a kind of synchronicity, such as this little fellow discovered on the inside arch of a church in London that is one of the inspirations behind the village name. You’ll also find him on the inside cover of the Hudson Horror novels as part of the Deathwatch Books imprint.
Keep your eyes and mind open. Inspiration is everywhere.
Okay Folks, we have a new feature video on Wyvern Falls that has just come out…enjoy!
Another shameless plug for the YA novella I had published by Muzzleland Press this past year . . . it’s a quick little romp about an abandoned train a few unsuspecting local teens discover in a rail shed known only as ‘Building 18’. Inside they are about to discover a locomotive that has been sealed up since it’s one fateful run on the eve of the Second World War . . . a diabolical piece of machinery known as ‘The Devil’s Engine’
Get your copy today from Muzzleland Press here
Just a quick note from Sunnyside, which I happen to drive past nearly every day and which continues to inspire every story I write. I do believe Washington Irving spoke the truth when he said:
“…However wide awake they may have been before they entered that sleepy region, they are sure, in a little time, to inhale the witching influence of the air, and begin to grow imaginative, to dream dreams, and see apparitions.”
That ‘witching influence’ is very tangible around here, especially when I drive by the Old Dutch church near twilight, or drive past the shadow-dappled bust of Mr. Irving by the entrance of his house. And what rich history! Sunnyside itself is a hodgepodge of architectural styles drawn from Irving’s imagination; part colonial Dutch, part Spanish hacienda, part English country cottage. The wisteria growing by the entranceway was gifted to him from Sir Walter Scott, brought from that eminent author’s estate in England during a visit.
There’s an energy here to be sure, I know because I locked onto it shortly after moving to this area and it manifested itself in an explosion of creative writing that immediately possessed me. My initial idea was simply to take his ‘Sketchbook’ and do a 21st century take on it, but things quickly ran off the rails. These past six years have seen me knock together six novels, three novellas and over two dozen short stories with a ton more underway, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
A few more shorts have been picked up for anthologies this year and one of the novellas is currently slated for a 2017 release – details to be announced – but I did just want to take a moment to thank Mr. Irving for inspiring me and opening those creative floodgates, along with whatever other forces continue to fire my imagination and keep me spooked…