Friday, May 8, 2015

Interview and Giveaway Town from Hell by T.W. Kirchner

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

Besides writing, I like doing anything creative including painting, drawing, photography, and making crafts. I love putting together book trailers and made one that’s on YouTube for Town from Hell. I also like staying active with tennis, yoga, hiking and walking the dogs. I love animals and have four dogs, two cats, a guinea pig and several aquariums. I also volunteer at the local shelter. I was inspired to write a supernatural/horror because I enjoy reading and watching both.

What is it about the paranormal that fascinates you so much?

I really don’t know why I like paranormal. I just remember that ever since I was little, I loved watching Frankenstein, werewolf and Dracula movies. I also liked reruns of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, the Munsters and the Addams Family.

What inspired you to write this book?

Honestly, I wanted to write a book that my daughter, Marisa, would want to read. She’s a horror/supernatural buff, too.

Please tell us about your latest release.

Dagger & Brimstone: Town from Hell tells the story of what happens when seventeen-year-olds Racer and Arloe try to go off the grid so they can have the perfect summer together without their parents interfering. As you can gather from the title, they should have probably researched the vacation spot better. Everyone in town is hiding a secret, but so is Arloe.

Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?

Some of my characters are named after family and friends. In my Pirates Off series, Tommy is named after my son, and Connor and Dil are his good friends although they’re his brothers in the book. Francois l’Olonnais was a real pirate, and I searched French baby names in the appropriate time periods to get the names Fleurie and Cosette. For Town from Hell, my friend Hillery suggested the name Arloe and I found Racer in a baby names book. 

Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?

I usually will write down traits that I want a character to have before I start a story, so I can be consistent with the characters’ reactions—unless they undergo a change. For instance, Arloe is easily frightened at the beginning of the book, but under the circumstances, she has to toughen up. The characters always develop more traits the farther into the story I get.

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

My favorite scene is when Racer finds out Arloe’s secret. She wasn’t ready to tell him, but events that happen make it impossible not to spill it.

Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?

I’ve done research for every book I’ve written, and I’ve found out many interesting things. I can’t say what I researched for Town from Hell because it would be a spoiler. I’ve typed some odd things into search engines because I needed to know for a story. For instance, for The Troubled Souls of Goldie Rich: The Zombie Next Door, the zombies are created by voodoo, so I researched tons of information on bokors, voodoo, and zombies. I also go to the library and check out many books when I’m doing research.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

I stump writer’s block before it starts. I usually have to projects open at one time, so if one story isn’t flowing, I switch to the other. Spending time away from a story is usually all I need to get ideas flowing again. My kids sometimes can be helpful to get ideas flowing. I’ll give them a scene and ask them ‘What would you do?’ Even if I don’t use their solution, it can spark an idea. I’m also in SCBWI critique groups, and they are always helpful. As a side note, I really recommend joining a critique group if you’re a writer.

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life? 

I love to play tennis, do yoga, hike, walk the dogs and do anything creative including painting and drawing. I can never be bored. There’s too much I love to do and not enough time to do it.

What can readers expect next from you? 

Readers can look forward to another book in the Dagger & Brimstone series titled Call from Hell.

Where can readers find you on the web? 

I am on Facebook as T.W.Kirchner, WordPress, Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads and I have a website with my art and books. 


Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

I didn’t normally mind the heat, but it was like crazy hot outside. Mind-numbing, brain-melting hot. It ranked a ten on the hotness scale just behind Arloe’s bod, a lava flow, and how I imagined Arloe’s dad’s boiling, red face after we split and he found her note and cellphone. I figured at about that time, he’d be hell-bent on, as her dad would put it, shooting my ‘white-trash’ ass full of buckshot for stealing his princess. The thought made me grin. He’d never find us—I made sure of it. In three months, I’d worry about the return visit when he’d try to put me in traction. Torrid, hated, and wanted. I was turning into my old man. Another Roane on the dark side.

Town from Hell
Dagger and Brimstone
Book One
T.W. Kirchner

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal/Horror

Publisher: Short on Time Books

Date of Publication: April 19, 2015

ISBN: 1508982635
ASIN: B00V0R61H8

Number of pages: 274
Word Count: 76,636

Cover Artist: Tony Bryson

Book Description:

Seventeen-year-old Racer and his girlfriend Arloe want to be together despite resistance from her parents. In defiance of an upcoming separation, they run away for the summer, going totally off the grid to a remote town in the Nevada desert.

The teens think no one knows where they are—but they couldn’t be more wrong. Racer’s well-orchestrated plan for freedom turns into a nightmare from hell.

Lies, deception and betrayal blur his lines of reality, and he discovers everyone in town is hiding a terrifying secret, including Arloe.

Available at Amazon

The town appeared as a dot over the hill.  Five miles max.  Anticipation overtook my shaky nerves.  We passed several road signs that promoted ‘going green’ and ‘recycling.’  Another sign boasted Winthrop’s claim to fame: Home of the World Famous Green Links Heath Food line. 
     An ancient gray truck with Nevada plates lumbered up the road.  We passed it on the left side like it was standing still.  The old dude driving the clunker stared at me through the open window, a cigarette clenched in his yellowed teeth.  Just as much smoke billowed from the cab as sputtered from the exhaust.  I wondered how the truck made it that far from town…or the old dude for that matter.  Neither he nor his truck modeled ‘going green’ with all the pollution they created.  
     Any other time, I’d have ignored his stare, but it made me uneasy, more so after the gut-wrenching incident moments before.  I reassured myself it didn’t mean anything—no different than all the other stares I’d received though my seventeen years. 
     I pulled off the highway into a run-down gas station on the edge of town, a half mile past the faded wooden ‘Welcome to Winthrop’ sign that likely would topple over in the next stiff breeze.  It didn’t surprise me when Arloe hopped off my bike and flew around the side of the mini-mart toward the ladies’ room.  She didn’t even wait to take off her helmet.  Her urgency made me laugh because I’d always kidded she had the bladder of an ant.  What amazed me was that she hadn’t asked to stop at all in three hours on the road.  For her sake, I hoped the bathroom didn’t require a key. 
     The midday sun blazed hot, yet the intense heat didn’t seem to affect the flies swarming around the overflowing garbage can placed between the two retro pumps.  As I stood up, my butt peeled in layers from the leather seat.  My jeans and boxers fused to my legs from sweat.  I’d never traveled that long a distance on my bike before without stopping, and my aching legs paid the price. 
     Even after I took off my sweltering black helmet and hung it on the handlebar of my once black, now gray-looking bike, the slight breeze didn’t give me any relief.  In fact, it was worse.  The breeze simulated a blow drier set on hot, pointed at my face. 
     A few stray flies abandoned the trash and went on the attack, buzzing around my sweaty head and biting my arms.  I hoped the attraction didn’t indicate I smelled worse than the trash.  One black fly landed on my right bicep inside of my new dagger tattoo.  My hand nicked the annoying pest, but it had already bitten me and buzzed away.  The skin around the tattoo immediately tingled and itched.  Damn.  I ran my hand across my hair.  It was sticky and wet because I sweated faster than the air could dry it.
     As I staggered toward the door to pay for a fill-up, I tried to stretch the stiffness out of my legs while I pulled areas of my soaked jeans away from my skin.  Halfway across the parking lot, the heat from the asphalt felt like it had eaten through the soles of my boots.  It wouldn’t have surprised me if they melted like crayons into a waxy puddle.
     The desert excursion proved interesting at best, so far.  My dark blue jeans had lightened by two shades of dust, my white T-shirt had darkened by two shades of dust, and sandy grit crunched between my teeth even though the helmet’s face shield had been down the whole time. 
     When I pulled open the glass door of the mini-mart, a rusted cowbell clanked across it.  The metal made an ear-splitting slap, and I expected the murky glass to shatter or at least crack, but it didn’t.  I slinked through the door thinking I’d attracted unwanted attention, but the place was almost empty.  The top of the attendant’s head showed behind the counter, but my presence went unacknowledged.  What did I expect in a town of fifty residents that boasted a twenty-foot rattlesnake fashioned from beer bottles as the main attraction?  I ducked into the first aisle.  The half-stocked shelves carried very few of the usual mini-mart snacks but a lot of the Green Links Health Food products.  A half-filled refrigerated section stretched across the back wall. 
     I walked up the second aisle before approaching the faded, red counter, covered almost entirely by paper ads and signs.  The middle-aged attendant relaxed on a wooden barstool with her feet resting on a two-foot stack of magazines piled on the floor.  She slumped over to browse through a magazine spread out on her lap.  The tabletop, portable fan behind the counter blew her frizzy hair all around.  It made an annoying click each time its blades completed a rotation. 
     The attendant ran her knobby pointer finger along the page while she read.  She must have reached the end of the article because she looked up and pushed her wire-framed, granny glasses down on the bridge of her pointy nose.  “Kin I helps ya?”
     This time, I stared.  Her dental work looked like she’d tried to stop a bowling ball with her face.  She lacked every other tooth, and the remaining few resembled gray and yellowish nubs.  She only needed a wart on her chin and a long black dress.  The broom already leaned up against the wall behind her.
     I placed a twenty on the counter.  “Yeah, I need a fill-up.”
     The attendant slid off the barstool and set the magazine down.  The legs on both her and the stool creaked and wiggled.  She tugged at the bottom of her black, oversized tee and pulled up her baggy jeans.  They hung pathetically off her emaciated frame and were frayed at the bottom where they dragged the floor.  She picked up the money, sniffled loudly, and wiped her nose on the back of her vein-popping hand.  “Which pump?”
     I gazed out the huge, front window.  The station only had two pumps, and my bike was the only vehicle around for at least a mile.  I bit my lip and choked back the smartass comment that popped into my mind.  “Pump two, please.”
     Witch Hazel pushed a gold button on the ancient cash register and the drawer barely slid open.  With the swiftness and grace of a baboon wearing a baseball glove, she placed my twenty in the drawer.  I tried to figure out how that register could possibly be connected to the pump when she enlightened me.  “Go on and pump.  Lemme know how much it comes to, and I’ll give ya your change back.”  She slammed the drawer closed.  She looked me up and down.  “You ain’t from around here, are you?”
     I wiped my forehead on the sleeve of my T-shirt, exchanging a layer of sweat for sand.  “No, how’d you guess?”
     She pointed from the cubic stud in my nose, to the gold ring through my eyebrow, and at the three tattoos on my right arm.
     I shrugged.
     She smacked her cracking lips and turned away, only to pick up the magazine and plop back on the creaky barstool.
    I’d already forgotten about the cowbell, and it smashed into the glass again when the door closed behind me.  As I headed over to my bike, Arloe came from around the corner, swinging her helmet back and forth by the chin strap.  She smiled like she’d won the lottery.
     I pushed the nozzle into the gas tank and flipped the lever, unable to hold back my grin.  “Feel better?”
     Arloe hung the bright purple helmet I’d given her on the bike’s handle and snuggled up against me.  She smelled sweet from the freshly-applied cherry lip gloss.  When she smiled, her eyes sparkled as much as her pink, shiny lips.  “Lots.”  Arloe ran her hands through my damp hair to spike it up and took a step back to admire her handiwork.  “But now I’m thirsty.  Can we get something to drink?”
      She had me so totally captivated that when the pump clicked off, I jerked.  Arloe smirked, but I pretended not to notice and replaced the nozzle.  “Sure.  Witch Hazel will hook us up inside.”
     She stared at me with her eyebrows lowered and shoved her hands in the back pockets of her acid-washed, body-hugging jeans.  “Who?”
     I shrugged.  “Never mind.  Bad joke.” 
     She gently slapped my hand.  “Racer, stop.” 
     Without realizing I’d done it, my stubby fingernails had scratched the area around my dagger tat to a bright red.  I shoved my hand in my pocket. 
     While she examined my bicep, she grimaced.  Her smooth fingers glided along my skin, but her voice had lost its sexy edge.  “Racer Roane.  You should’ve gone back to the tattoo shop.  It’s been two weeks and you’re still messin’ with it.”  She leaned back and stared into my eyes.  “Maybe it’s infected…or the ink was bad.”
     The first two tattoos never bothered me like that one had, and it did concern me.  I just didn’t want Arloe to know it.  Besides, I couldn’t do anything about it now anyway.
     Arloe pulled her silky hair back into a ponytail and swatted at a fly that attacked her face.
     I shooed the fly away and pushed a few stray strands of hair from her eyes.  “Just think, you could be in Spain taking classes right now, but you gave up the opportunity for all this.”
     She surveyed the empty desert and turned back to me, holding my calloused hands in her delicate ones.  Her eyes showed determination and a spark of renewed energy.  “No, I gave it up for you.  For us.  We’ll see Spain one day.  Together.”

About the Author:

T.W. Kirchner is the author of the Pirates Off middle grade series and The Troubled Souls of Goldie Rich young adult series. Besides writing, she loves tennis, yoga, painting and gardening.  She lives in Las Vegas with her husband, two children, and furry menagerie known as the Kirchner Zoo.

Twitter: @TinaInLV

a Rafflecopter giveaway


T.W. Kirchner said...

Thank you for hosting my book!

Mary Preston said...

This sounds amazing. Great excerpt thank you.