It’s weird being done with Bone Carvers, because that story has been rolling around in my mind for fifteen years. My mom and I were driving from Montana to Missouri and came across the creepiest little town (which will remain nameless, because I’m sure the people there are great and I don’t want to get murdered).
Almost all the buildings looked terribly damaged or unkept, but in really fascinating ways. They seemed normal, but once you got a closer look, the foundations were cracked, the paint on the walls was almost non-existent, and almost no one had maintained their lawns in weeks, if not months.
We stopped at a gas station to get sodas or whatever, and almost everything inside was out of date and dusty. We eventually got so weirded out we just decided that whatever we needed could wait until the next place.
That real story became a novel I actually wrote in… mmm… 2009 or 2010. It was a miserable piece of garbage, but it had some good elements in it. In that version, a widower and his daughter flee the memories of the wife he felt he had to kill. she’d developed brain cancer that had left her wild, vicious, and more than a little abusive to their daughter, so rather than watching his wife and daughter both suffer, the man killed her in her hospital bed.
When they fled across the country, they wound up in a small town – Hamber – where the man’s daughter disappears after he goes in to get food and gas. His search for her is aided by an assassin on the run from the law (who later became the foundation for Garrett Moranis, the protagonist of my novels), but as they peel back the layers of Hamber, they realize the place is under the thumb of some great and terrible demon half-trapped in their world and looking for a human host in the daughter.
Most of these elements didn’t make it into the final product some seven years later. Obviously the leads changed to Garrett, Brianna, and Murphy, the heroes of my Rankin Flats series. But there are definitely elements of that original story that bleed through the paper, so to speak. The gas station plays a pivotal role in introducing the weirdness o Hamber. As mentioned, Garrett has roots in one of the characters in that novel, but Kyo was a much more brutal, strange character and badly written in every regard.
In a way, finishing Bone Carvers helps me tie a bow on a period of my writing that went unfulfilled. I can now move on to other stories, fresher ones, and can bank that one in the win column. At least I hope it’s a winner, anyways. It’s far more brutal and horror-centric than the prior novels, but I like it regardless. It has teeth.
Lots and lots of teeth.