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Interview with Peter Straub for A DARK MATTER

Posted on January 19, 2010 by Flames

straub cover photoFlamesRising.com is proud to present you with an in-depth look into A DARK MATTER. Written by New York Times bestselling author Peter Straub, this novel is already getting rave reviews from places like Publisher’s Weekly well before its official release date of February 9, 2010. Over the next, few weeks we’re going to share with you more about this modern horror novel which has been billed as “powerful” and “brilliantly terrifying.”

Here is a quote describing what A DARK MATTER is all about:

The charismatic and cunning Spenser Mallon is a campus guru in the 1960s, attracting the devotion and demanding sexual favors of his young acolytes. After he invites his most fervent followers to attend a secret ritual in a local meadow, the only thing that remains is a gruesomely dismembered body—and the shattered souls of all who were present.

Years later, one man attempts to understand what happened to his wife and to his friends by writing a book about this horrible night, and it’s through this process that they begin to examine the unspeakable events that have bound them in ways they cannot fathom, but that have haunted every one of them through their lives. As each of the old friends tries to come to grips with the darkness of the past, they find themselves face-to-face with the evil triggered so many years earlier. — Pre-Order A DARK MATTER on Amazon.com.

To kick off our in-depth look at this new horror novel, we’d like to share with you Peter’s answers to a few of our questions.

Can you tell us how you came up with the idea for A DARK MATTER?

straub photo

A DARK MATTER evolved out of a desire I had to think about the various sages and gurus I had seen pass through Madison, WI, in the mid-sixties. I think there were three altogether; at least, I witnessed the actions and behaviors of three of these gents. They were all articulate, interesting, and predatory. Almost all of what they said was nonsense, but they did get a bunch of kids to look into the Tibetan Book of the Dead. I started to wonder: what might happen if one of these sleazy wisdom-merchants did actually reveal a portion of the Other World, the World Unseen, in the course of a home-made ritual.

Can you share with us a little bit about your writing process?

My process is intuitive and a bit hit-or-miss. I did have a kind of outline for A DARK MATTER, which plotted out a novella of three parts, each comprised of three sub-sections. Some of this material survives, but it should be obvious that the original, rather elegant structure I had in mind disappeared very quickly. Over three or four years, I wrote about my characters acting together back then, in 1966, and in the present, where they acted separately but managed to reunite one last time. It became a novel about the telling of stories as much as anything else, about the partiality of individual stories and the power of imagination.

How do you feel A DARK MATTER will appeal to your existing fans?

Those people already disposed to like my work should have a field day with A DARK MATTER. I’ve never written anything quite like it before, its structure is eccentric and unconventional, but I think my fans will like the daring involved. Also, there is plenty of material that should make them feel right at home.

What do you like the most about A DARK MATTER? The least?

I guess what I like most about the book is the note of warmth and hope that suffuses the ending, when Lee Harwell is alone in his kitchen with his wife, the former Eel. And what I like least is probably that I could think of no better way to present a long section of material in which the first-person narrator played no part than by interpolating it into the novel as a work of fiction written by that narrator. What made it more or less okay was my certainty that by the time the reader reached the end of this section, she would very likely have forgotten that it was supposed to be a short story.

To keep up-to-date with news about Peter’s work, we encourage you to visit the official Peter Straub Facebook fan page or his website located at www.peterstraub.net. If you’re interested in pre-ordering A DARK MATTER, you can get your copy through Amazon.com today.

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