We all know about the whole ‘end of times’ scenario, we’ve seen ‘The Rapture’ not come & then go, the Mayans got it wrong too (we should have all died off seven months ago according to the dates compared with our calendar!).
Well, here’s a new take on the whole idea of the end being very bloody nigh; The Revelation Chronicles. Some of you may have already read John Prescott’s Pray, if you have you’d know that it has a very vivid & prophetic feel to the book. I asked John about the idea behind the book when I bought a copy of my own as soon as it was published in 2010, he explained things so well that I had to go & read The Revelations for myself (I hadn’t read it previously being the lapsed catholic that I am!)…. Pray really followed them to a tee & to be frank, the book astounded me in the way Prescott weaved every possible element of the original prophecies into the narrative. It was easy for me to get to know the characters & begin to vie for them on their perilous journey through America. Even the ‘look’ of the characters came across well; when the picture (below) of one of the main characters Roxi was exactly as I had pictured her whilst reading. It was damn spooky!
So, I asked John if he’d write a little something about the trilogy & how he came to even glimpse the idea…this is what he sent.
I was fine when asked to write a blog post about my two novels, Pray and Hell, but a quick sense of intimidation spread quickly after responding with Emma when she asked: “Tell us what you write and why as well.”
I’ve thought long and hard on this for the past week. What comes afterword is probably the most honest bio I’ve ever wrote. It might be lengthy, but it’s all Emma’s fault. She was the one who said, ‘Fill up the page.’ So blame her if you are stuck reading this and it takes time out of your day from your daily chores or soaks up your reading time.
I’m going to write the ‘why’ first because it seems logical for me to do that. I’m the youngest of three. I and my brother, who is now deceased, are adopted. My sister is the only one who is full blood, but that doesn’t mean I love her any less. We are close, and I have no recollection of my birth parents. I was brought into my parent’s home at 3 months old so I know nothing else, nor do I care to. There is a significant age gap between us. My sister is 17 years older and my brother was 10. So after my brother went off to college I was stuck as an only child. I was spoiled no less or no more than any other ‘only’ child and we lived out in the country. We had neighbours who lived directly across the road and they had kids my age. We spent countless afternoons together playing, laughing, and doing the normal things that parents don’t need to see their children doing. But they were semi-farmers and they had lots of chores and that left me that ‘only child’ alone many times so I had to entertain myself, and now that I think about it and look back on it with an outside eye looking in I think it all stems from that.
I fell in love with books at a very early age. My brothers books which were hand me downs were joyously received and I got to know the small town library very well. I don’t know exactly what age I learned to read, but I do know it was early. I grew up in the church and I read (or so I’m told) to the congregation from the Bible at age four.
I also had plenty of records that were narration of the old stories, and the first one that I recall ever really attaching myself to was Puff the Magic Dragon, which I think had an etching and burning effect on my brain and caused my love for dragons and fantasy. It had a long narrated story and then the well-known popular song afterwards. I couldn’t tell you or begin to even count the times I listened to that record. This was quickly followed by Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, and my most prized, a Halloween record that had over an hour’s worth of narrated scenes from the traditional monsters and sound effects. It scared me green, but I couldn’t help but listen to it. It drew me in. I listened to that record at least as much as I did the Puff one, thus spawning my love for horror.
I don’t know why and I can’t tell you where it came from either, but there has always been something driving within me that wanted more; to see other journeys those characters were taking. I call it an over abundant fountain of creativity, and so I created my own. I have four 90-minute audio cassettes that have an entire Star Wars saga that takes place after the Empire Strikes Back movie. Yes, I told them in real time with no script and on the fly, and I had both album soundtracks right by tape recorder and used them literally on my record player for theme music as I was telling the story. There are a lot of errors, blank spaces where you can hear me turning on the record player, the occasional chime of the clock, and the familiar scratching sound that only the LP’s make when you put the needle down on the record, but I love them for their honesty and memories.
I also love art, so much so I went to art school. I love looking at anything created in the visual medium be it painted, sculpted, or drawn. It’s an easy guess and no brainer that I love comics. I had quite a collection but like my brother I handed them down to my nephew and moved on. I also had a heavy interest in RPG’s (role playing games). I was introduced to Dungeons and Dragons around 7th grade and there that red dragon drawn by Larry Elmore sat on the cover just beckoning me to jump into this fantastical world, and I did with both feet. I played a lot of games but that creative spark was always there and I wanted more. So I began running my own games. It was the thrill of creating something that was my own that really drove me, and to my amazement, people enjoyed it. This creative spark led to a lifelong dream that I have accomplished; I produced and published my own role-playing game with many supplements. It was well received and is still selling well in the digital realm. To this day I still get asked “When are you going to come game with us and run something?”
I’ve come to realize and recognize that if I’m not creating something or if my mind isn’t thinking on something new I get in a stale mood, a mind fog, or as some would call it, a funk. It was during one of these times after the self-produced role-playing game was going strong that I needed to start something else to feed my creative impulse. I got to thinking what could I do that could encompass both the fantasy realm and the horror realm with maybe a very light touch of sci-fi thrown in.
It was during a move while I was unpacking that I picked up a Bible out one of my many boxes of books. I remember I got a call and set the Bible down on the corner of the moving box and before the call was over it had fallen on the floor with its pages splayed open. I picked it up and it was opened to the book of Revelation, the very exact chapter of the verse that starts off Pray. I remember reading that verse first and instantly ideas slammed into my brain like they were fired from a Gatling gun. I would say in about an hour I had the whole trilogy laid out from start to finish. But life had other plans and I let the idea go. I started to get serious about writing very soon after that. I self-published a book of short stories first and got some of my other stories published. Then I decided I wanted to write a novel. But what should I write about? Like all good ideas that are tucked away and left to simmer the trilogy came roaring back and I set myself to the task.
I did a ton of research for these novels; over 500 hours to be exact. Yes, I kept a log. But there was a problem. I couldn’t think of a way to start it. I know what had to happen, but how to get there to start it? I also needed another main character, a female one to balance out things. I found the way to start thanks to YouTube and the entire wide spread theories of conspiracy. The female character happened by chance and was like most of my ideas. It came like a bullet. I was looking at a photographer’s online portfolio when an image from it struck me. It was a woman in her early twenties, but the look and mood that photograph gave me was indescribable. She was my character. Her history and how she would play out in the story came together quickly and she looked how I wanted the character to look at the end of Pray. I added a few years to her but it’s basically her all from that one photograph.
For those of you who are reading this and haven’t heard about this trilogy let me take a moment to give you the spiel. The trilogy is based within the book of Revelation in the Bible. It is true the book of Revelation is scary enough, but with the keen eye on one particular verse, I think I’ve made it even scarier. That one verse allowed me to introduce werewolves, vampires, ghosts, evil faeries, and even a dragon within the trilogy’s confines.
So in a nutshell the trilogy is about a band of people trying to survive the coming of the end of the world told within the book of Revelation with some unique twists thrown in. There that’s it. That is the best way I know to describe my trilogy, The Revelation Chronicles.
I do want to point out that this trilogy is a horror trilogy first and foremost, however it is told from a Christian point of view and all the theology is correct as the book of Revelation goes.
I will say that was one of the hardest things (the theology) to keep straight with during the writing of the three books. I wanted to do this on purpose because I felt like it deserved it and it needed to be done that way.
During the writing of the first book, Pray, a couple of things have happened. I saw that the crazed ID chip is in full swing so I mirrored that in the book; specifically the college night where you can drink for free if you volunteer an ID chip to be inserted into your body. Also when our present President was running for office the internet sprang to life calling him the Antichrist. I can’t begin to tell you all the theories I’ve read about concerning the Antichrist. One of my favourites is the JFK scenario. This stems from the passage in Revelation where one of the dragons head was wounded and then miraculously healed. Tons of people thought that John F. Kennedy was going to rise up out of his coffin on the third day after he was assassinated. This however didn’t happen because if you go by the book of Revelation other things have to happen first before this happens.
The second book in the trilogy, Hell is just being released so I really can’t say that anything has happened during its writing or since it infant stage of publication. What I can say is that I’ve learned a lot of things as a writer while writing the second book. This was due to a drastic story plot change about halfway through the book at one of the climatic moments. I changed the death of one my characters and while doing this it changed the rest of the book heavily, so I had to rewrite that last quarter of the book. I found out that I’m not a plotter or an outliner of story lines or plot. It took me 4 rewrites to get it how I wanted and the best came from writing from the gut like I did the first book, and how I’m writing the last book, which is over halfway done now. I promised Emma a snippet from book 3, The End of All Things and you will have it at the end of this lengthy ramble.
I guess it’s time for me to say ‘what’ I write since I’ve kept you probably way too long already. But it’s very simple; I write what pleases me and what I would like to read. That’s the honest truth. For those of you who don’t know me I’m a lover of monsters. I like the things that go bump in the night and the things that lie just outside our vision. I can’t help it that I write about these things. It’s the filter God gave me and I can’t help what gets trapped there and wants to get out through my writing. I’m not a big fan of the sociopath next door or the crazed killer who just snaps one day and goes on a killing spree, and I think that comes from the state of the world we live in. We’ve become desensitized to it or I have at least. Nothing really surprises me when I hear the news of some grizzly murderer or some dastardly crime being committed by a human to another human. Many people like that sort of stuff, my editor for one and they have their own special place in literature and film. I just choose not to write about it because it doesn’t hold my interest. I mean hey, they’re human they can be killed. Give me something that can’t be killed or you have to go out of your way with a big chunk of luck or fate to kill it. Really? How many times can Jason or Michael Myers come back? I know, evidently a lot in film eh? But I do know that the mind is probably the most dangerous monster of all.
Well, I guess I’ve kept you long enough. Thanks for sticking around. I hope I haven’t bored you too much and I do hope that you want to check out the trilogy and will then want to read more from this over creative brain of mine. I do want to leave you with one last thing and then what follows is a snippet from book 3 in the trilogy.
I am a lover of the fantastic. Be it fantasy, horror, or sci-fi. I don’t label stories by theme or try to trap them in some philosophical category. It’s all about the story. The story comes first. I’m not a big grammar person lawyer I can bypass some mistakes, and the passive voice doesn’t really bother me too terribly much if it moves the story along and is used sparsely, BUT I know their place in writing and the weight it carries with some. But the story for me always comes first and foremost no matter how it’s told, and I think that’s that way it should be.
The End of All Things
Roxi looked back at the dark cloud that covered Jerusalem and shuddered. She hadn’t been inside the city since the darkness came nor did she want to. She’d heard reports that no light could penetrate the darkness. Roxi didn’t want to test that theory. She turned back to the dirt road and put her arm around Aeris as they walked.
“The days are going by quickly now.” She said.
Aeris nodded, “Yes, it won’t be long before the whole world converges not too far from here.”
Roxi shuddered again. She kept walking and said nothing more.
They walked for hours on foot. Memories of her sojourn through the Rocky Mountains came back to her while they moved westward. She wiped sweat from her brow and wondered how much longer she could take this unbearable heat from the sun. “How long is it going to feel like a sauna turned up to eleven?”
“Till the end,” Aeris said.
She frowned at her husband’s answer and wanted to give a quick retort but even speaking was a chore in the blazing sun. Roxi decided to save her energy. She would need it. They had miles yet to go. She kicked a rock in disgust and kept on walking. Aeris smiled at her and stifled a laugh.
They chased the sun until the ground seemed to swallow the golden ball in the distance. Aeris spotted an object, which looked like a human a few hundred feet ahead of them on the side of the road. It might be a carcass now for all they knew or it might be a traveller succumbed to the inferno of the sun that was barely hanging on. In any case they hurried their pace.
Roxi started gagging when they got within twenty feet of the man. Her eyes went wide at the up close sight of this unlucky person. He was laying face down in the dirt with only tattered rags for a shirt. He stunk with a rankish odor and numerous boils covered his body.
Her nurse training took over and she slid her backpack off her shoulder and unzipped the top. She felt the smooth surface of one of her water bottles after only a brief second of rummaging through her pack. She pulled it out and opened the top. Roxi knelt beside the man to see if he was still alive. Her eyes roamed over his blistered body and she found herself staring at the boils he’d received from one of God’s bowl judgments. Her eyes watered because she knew from her nurses training that this man was in utter agony from the boils and the heat only compounded his pain. She reached out a hand to check his pulse when the man jerked and then shot straight up to his feet. He turned and faced them with bared dirty teeth quicker than Roxi thought possible. Roxi held out her bottled water to the man as an offering. The man swatted at the water bottle. It flew out of Roxi’s hand and emptied onto the dry heated sand. Aeris was about to step in front of Roxi but she held him fast. The boil ridden man looked at the two of them long and hard. A snarl escaped from his lips and his eyes betrayed nothing but pure hatred. Roxi stood still not knowing what the man would do but she would be ready in case he tried to lunge at her. Instead, the man raised his fist to the sky and then craned his face skyward and uttered a bunch of sounds or words, Roxi didn’t know all she did know was that whatever it was they weren’t nice in tone.
“Aeris…what…what’s he doing?” she asked just above a whisper.
“He’s cursing God for his sores.”
The man’s words grew in pitch and he clenched his fist and shot his arm skyward again. A wettish pop filled the air. Roxi watched in horror as a boil on the man’s forearm all but exploded. Yellowish white puss ran down his arm in rivulets emptying from the ruptured boil. His screams filled the air as the sun baked the inside of his wound. He fell to the ground and kicked and rolled in what looked like to Roxi as an epileptic’s seizure, but all the while still cursing God while gnawing his own tongue.
Aeris got them moving; he’d seen enough. Roxi didn’t resist his nudging. She didn’t look back as her feet raised and lowered on the hot sands of the desert leaving the man behind with his chosen torment. The only sound between the two of them was the clanking of her two swords as they chased the setting sun into the night.