Reviews and behind the scenes for At Horizon’s End

It’s been a week since my latest horror story, At Horizon’s End, went live and it has already garnered a couple of five-star reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, as well as on reviewers’ blogs. You can read these blog reviews here, here, and here. If you’re looking for a quick read, and you’re into horror with a twist of sadness, At Horizon’s End may be a good fit for you.

Some people asked how I came up with the idea and the title of the story.

To explain the idea, I’d have to introduce you to my way of developing stories. Originally, the idea was to have Death in a conversation and a mortal, contemplating Death’s job. For some reason, to this day, I picture them talking over a chess board. I don’t know why, but the image is stuck to my head. Anyway, that idea branched off into having the mortal being the next one Death would take. Which seemed interesting, only I’ve already published
something similar earlier in my career. So, I decided that the mortal should be a child, because of the antithesis it would create (children represent life and future, whereas death, well, the end of life and future).

At that moment, the idea of having something as massive and hard-to-process as death, contrasted with a child’s innocence simply appeared out of nowhere and it made sense. So I revised the story accordingly. But then I had to do something to answer the question, why would Death be talking or playing chess or interacting in any way with a child? That was the final blow to my chessboard picture. Bye bye chessboard.

Instead, I came up with the idea of having Stella’s mother’s passing (Stella is the child in the story). Which, in turn, led to the idea of having Death second guessing himself when he took the child’s mother. Given my Greek heritage where Charon (a name we still attribute to Death here in Greece) ferried the dead in a one-way trip, my story’s Death was also unable to return someone from the afterlife to the lands of the living. Which finally gave rise to the question, how would Death handle such a problem? To answer that question you’ll have to read At Horizon’s End.

How I came up with the title is a different issue. In the story, there is mention through Stella’s memories of the way her mother used to refer to the afterlife. Now, at the time I was listening to a song from Paradise Lost (a band I like a lot), called As Horizons End. Though the song has absolutely nothing to do with the story, it was one of those moments where epiphany knocked on my door. In my mind there was no better way for a parent to explain to their four-year-old child the concept of death. How can anyone explain to a child that they will never see each other again and at the same time attempt to relieve the pain of loss? How else better to soften such a blow, if not by telling them that they will meet again at some point? So when I heard the song, it just clicked.

Lastly, you may want to take a look at the Interviews section. Viking Reviews was kind enough to interview me a couple of weeks ago. If you want to know a little more about me, but never dared ask, this is a your chance 😉

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