author Edgar Swamp is here to help me
wrap up the week by chatting about his new novel that has elements of horror and
fantasy, Amber Hollow.
During his virtual book tour, Edgar will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and
Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be
entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your
chances of winning, feel free to visit
his other tour stops and enter there, too!
Swamp is the author of the Gyre Mission, Glitch in the Machine, and Blackout. His short stories have appeared in Alienskin, Macabre Cadaver, and
Urban Reinventors. When he isn’t holed up in his office playing online poker,
he likes to dig up the recently deceased and make furniture out of their skin.
He lives and works in San Diego, California.
Welcome, Edgar. Please share a little bit about your current release.
is my fourth self-published novel, one that I intended to write for a wider
audience than my previous three books, which means it is for “all-audiences”
(I’d say it’s roughly PG-13). This novel is a mystery but not in the
traditional sense, although it does follow a whodunit format stylistically. The
elements of horror and fantasy, however, keep it from being conventional, and
it was my intention to write a page-turner because the reader simply must know
how it ends.
What inspired you to write this book?
am from a small town in Wisconsin (DePere, a city next to Green Bay) and to my
overactive imagination it was a creepy place, full of bullies, town drunks,
weirdos…you name it. I swear there was a guy like Norman Bates on my paper
route, this strange older man who lived with his elderly mother in a ramshackle
house next to an abandoned barn at the edge of town. Every time I went to
collect and he invited me in, I figured it was going to be the last thing I’d
ever do! The place was straight out of a Hitchcock film. That said, I wanted to
write a story about a creepy little village where an event of mass hysteria
occurs and kills everyone except for five people practically overnight. The
story would be the mystery of finding out what happened the night of the
tragedy, and what was behind the horrific events.
Excerpt from Amber Hollow:
threshold, and the woman jumped as if jolted with a stun gun. When she looked
from Sadie to Jeremy her eyes grew wide and her nostrils flared.
frozen halfway to her mouth, the Jell-O precariously perched there, looking in
danger of spilling on her hospital gown.
Conrad, and this is my partner Detective LeFevre. We’d like to ask you some
questions about what happened on Sunday night.”
startling shade of green. They darted back and forth from Sadie to Jeremy, the
spoon forgotten in her hand. Gravity finally won out and the Jell-O fell off
and onto her hospital gown, however she didn’t appear to notice.
we come in?” Sadie asked, pitching her voice low, trying not to startle the
poor woman any further, but she surprised them by uttering a deep, guttural
ask? Does that mean I can say no?”
room and taking a small recording device from his pocket. He’d had the presence
of mind to preload a fresh cassette beforehand. “We are both very sorry for
what happened to you, to your entire town. Please accept our most sincere
condolences. However, we need to ask you some questions. We’re hoping that you
can help us.”
eyed the two of them thoughtfully before noticing she was still holding the
spoon. She set it down on the nightstand next to her, then the cup of Jell-O.
She still didn’t notice (or didn’t care) about the gelatin on her gown.
What did they want to know? The entire town was gone, burned to the ground, her
family and friend’s dead, and she asked them what they wanted to know? It was
becoming apparent why she was in the psychiatric ward and not the burn center.
Sadie wondered if the woman’s answers could be considered relevant, given the
nature of the circumstances.
figure out what happened that night. Are you aware that you survived a massive
woman’s face was gone, exchanged by an expression of fear that was seemingly
boundless. She again looked from one face to the other, licking her lips
nervously. She began to mutter, but it was too low for either of them to hear.
“What are you saying?”
Sadie for so long the detective began to feel uncomfortable. It was something
in the woman’s eyes, some secret she wasn’t sure she should share. She took a
deep breath, exhaled, and then eyed them with something akin to wonder.
statement, not a question. “Am I the only survivor?”
quick glance from her partner stopped her from even forming the word with her
instead of answering her question, and their silence seemed to calm her even
more. She closed her eyes, leaned back into her pillow, and exhaled again even
more sharply, this time with an air of resignation.
What exciting story are you working on next?
day I wonder what the follow-up to Amber Hollow will be because every
day I feel like doing something different. I have a sequel in mind for Amber
Hollow, but I’d only write it if people enjoyed the first one enough to merit
it. I literally have half a dozen ideas at any given time. Here’s one, inspired
by The Stepford Wives: In a small town in Anywhere, America, the men
have been replaced by perfect replica robots. They make the money, they clean
the house, and they give their lovely wives everything they need…without requiring
a single thing in return. The women there are very happy, until they find that
they can’t properly reproduce; scientists are unable to make serviceable
synthetic semen, so real men are cultivated in large Superfarms on the
outskirts of town to collect their manhood for breeding purposes. The hook is,
mutants were created from the synthetic sperm, and at one point, the robots all
run amok and the women need the men from the “semen farms” to help control the
problem of the both the mutants and the robots. Please tell me, seriously, does
that sound like something you would read? I’m really on the fence about this
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
first considered myself a writer when I received payment for an article I wrote
in 1997. It was for a website called Foamation, the designer of those funky
cheese wedges Green Bay Packer fans wear on their heads during the games (I
think you know what I’m talking about if you watch football). I met one of
their sales reps at a guitar store where I worked, and I told him how many
aspects of my life were connected to the Green Bay Packers organization through
various channels, and what it was like to grow up with them being considered
such a great team, when during the course of my life all they’d done was lose.
It would be like being a Patriots fan in the ’80s! The reason for the interest
in the story was because Green Bay was finally going to the Super Bowl after a 29-
year drought, and the sales rep thought fans of the website would like it
because of all the names I referenced (star quarterbacks, coaches, other
players, etc.) whom I had known or worked for. My payment? Had I known at the
time I would have met him at the restaurant with a bigger appetite because my
remuneration was my meal and parking, and all I ordered was French fries!
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do
you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
lifelong goal is to be a full-time writer. In fact, I’ve given some of the best
years of my life chasing that dream. Honestly, I’ve catered my working life
completely around being able to have time to write. I worked in dozens of
industries, then literally chanced into the veterinary industry when I was 30,
and trained to be a vet tech in Austin, Texas. I later moved to Carlsbad,
California (near San Diego) and at a clinic I worked at, I began taking pet
sitting jobs for extra income and soon enough it became my occupation, the
demand for pet care is that great out here. So, what I mean is: I became a full-time
pet sitter so that I didn’t have to work a “real” nine-to-five job so that I
would have more time to write. It worked great at first, until my business
became so busy that I was working more than 40 hours a week. Fifteen years
later and I am still a pet sitter, and what I do is budget my time, make myself
write when I don’t want to, and take advantage of creativity whenever it
strikes. I bring my laptop with me everywhere so that if a moment arises and I
can get something done, I can.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
am sarcastic to an almost ludicrous point. In fact, with “Amber Hollow,” I had
to dial it out because all of my previous books were considered to be very
snarky. I can’t help it; for some reason, I have a very skewed perception of
the world, and the way it comes out in my writing is simply overwhelming. I’m
still somewhat cynical, but I try to sparingly dole out the sarcasm and only
use it when necessary.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
things, and this is the reason I am still a pet sitter:
but I’d consider doing TV
play multiple instruments and write songs. Kurt Cobain and David Gilmour are my
stories, lyrics, poems, and essays. I seriously didn’t want to be anything else
but those three things, NOTHING else. And it’s a shame, really, because I
dropped out of college because I didn’t know what I was doing there, I didn’t
have any kind of traditional trade in mind. Zero. I figured I was wasting the
loan money so I tried touring with rock/grunge/metal bands and when that didn’t
pan out, I turned my attention to trying out for plays at local theatres, and
when that was a bust, I redirected all of my energy into writing. I do not
advise anyone to take this career path; stay in school and at least get a bachelor’s
degree in something. You’ll thank yourself when you are 50 and you are alone
with four cats on Christmas and your latest book is brilliant but being all but
ignored because of the glut of books available thanks to self-publishing. I
should have gone into marketing — that would have been a smart move!
additional you want to share with the readers?
I know how difficult it is to pick up a book by a writer you’ve never heard of.
Without great reviews from reputable sources adorning the back cover plus a few
celebrity endorsements, it’s hard for me to even check one out from the
library. Not kidding! To the readers of your blog, I’d say this: Take advantage
of all the free content that you are being given via book giveaways and
promotional campaigns by indie writers because you just might find a diamond in
the rough! Here are a few popular writers who began by self-publishing: Edgar
Allen Poe (seriously, he didn’t receive any commercial interest until he wrote “The
Raven”), Matt Groening (the creator of “The Simpsons”) and Edgar Swamp…whoops,
I said “popular”…my bad!
**This book is only $0.99 on Kindle.**
Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
you so much for having me, I appreciate it!