Sunday, January 10, 2016

The story of my novel NIGHTMARE CHILD


"NIGHTMARE CHILD is a bit different from any of Gorman's other horror works in that it has this off-center sense of humor that reminded me a great deal of Donald Westlake's writing style. Both display the ability to make readers sympathize with the dumbest of would-be villains, no matter how heinous their crimes."
Allen Richards on Facebook

"The suspense builds and builds as the mysterious events surrounding Jenny unfold toward a perfect climax. At that point the short novel could easily have concluded, but instead Daniel Ransom goes ahead and takes it one step further with a final segment that really sets the overall horror of situation in stone. It was a perfect ending I didn’t see coming, though looking back, I now realize it was hinted at over and over again with several tiny well placed clues. More important it was a story and ending that makes me want to read everything else this author has written."
William Malmborg on Facebook 

Ed here:

   Since I grew up on science fiction, fantasy and horror, it was only natural that when I began to sell novels I'd turn to those fields as markets. If nothing else I was certainly familiar with all the tropes.
   Looking back on those years I have to say there were some real highs and lows. The highs included winning an International Horror Writers Award (previous winners Stephen King and Richard Matheson) and the lows writing two novels so bad I won't have copies of  them in my house and refuse to discuss them when anyone deranged brings them up. They truly and profoundly embarrass me. 
   Last week on Facebook some readers began talking about one of the horror novels I wrote as "Daniel Ransom." Titled NIGHTMARE CHILD (not my title) it came and went faster than Jeb Bush's Presidential popularity. I recall that it got a few good reviews before it vaporized but it has hung on over the same years that have seen most of the other Ransoms go horror writer heaven. 
  I don't remember now what I had planned for the book (I'm not much of an outliner) but whatever it was did not appear anywhere in the first ten or so pages I typed out. In those days you got three even four book contracts for paperback originals because the market was expanding so quickly. Nightmare was the last book of three and frankly the first two, hard as I worked to make them otherwise, were not any different from dozens of others being published all over the world thanks to the success of Mr. King. 
   But something happened when I started to write this one. Without planning to I created two despicable people I knew nothing about. But they were, in some horrendous terrible unforgivable way, endearingly despicable. And I just followed them all the way through the book. There were decent people in the novel to be sure but what gave the book its originality was the black comic moments of the villains. I was even able to work in a scene about one of the ad agencies where I had worked--in The Hump Room as it was known, where some employees got to know each other better during the day. Take that Mad Men. 
  Judging by my mail over the years it's also effective as a ghost story, something else I hadn't planned on when I sat down to write it. I think if you like either mystery or horror you'll enjoy NIGHTMARE CHILD. It's not a masterpiece for the ages by any means but I do think it's a good read with a married couple straight out of Alfred Hitchcock's nightmares.


Todd Mason said...

It's a more pleasant thing when your good work haunts you! (One of the few advantages of being an infrequently-published fiction writer is that one's worst work exists in a drawer or in a word processing file rather than as something someone might flash at me or ask me to sign. Though one sodden misfire sits on my blog, still.)

Todd Mason said...

Hitchcock's nightmares probably involved being punished in kind by a cool blonde...his favorite fantasies perhaps likewise...