Today it’s my honor to introduce a guy whose books I’ve been reading and enjoying for several years. John Everson already has a great following, and it’s about to get bigger with the release of his new novel NightWhere. So without further preamble…
Take it away, John!
NightWhere: Seduced by Obsession or… Obsessed by Seduction?
By John Everson
I’m obsessed with obsessions.
I’ve always been intrigued by the things that drive people to success… and ruin. I think the characteristic that creates both amazing successes and amazingly destructive failures comes from the same place —-obsession.
Single-minded purpose regardless of obstacles or common sense.
The people who are both extreme successes or flaming disasters are usually people who are obsessed with something and follow their mental rabbits down into a hole regardless of its depth or potential negative consequence. You’ll find a desperate obsession in those panhandling for just one more fix or bottle. You’ll see it in musicians who live solely for their music and leave behind a string of broken relationships and lost dayjobs in their pursuit of stardom. You’ll see it in businessmen who live solely for their business, while their kids grow up alone.
I’ve always personally been more of a jack-of-all-trades kind of guy. I love to be with my family, garden, play the keyboards and write pop songs, design and publish books and, of course, write books. When I’m working on creative projects, I give them my all — interrupt me at your peril! But luckily I’ve never focused so narrowly on any one pursuit for so long that it utterly consumes me. I have too many interests for that, so I have learned how to switch gears.
Much of my fiction though has dealt with the subject of people who are consumed by their single-mindedness. I’m sure it comes from watching my mother trample over others in her quest to “show people what was right.” I feel her singlemindedness in me sometimes, bubbling up from my genes. Luckily I do have many things that draw my attention, so that I haven’t fallen down a rabbithole so far I will never get out.
But I like to write about that allure, maybe because I have at least felt its call, if not answered it. My first collection of short stories, released way back in 2000, was called Cage of Bones & Other Deadly Obsessions, and dealt largely with erotic horror… people consumed by the darkness of their desires. Since that book, I’ve published other fiction collections, and a handful of mass market novels, all of which have dealt, in some ways, with letting lusts and curiosities get the better of you. Just a look at the cover to my fourth novel, Siren, gets that point across pretty well.
My sixth novel, NightWhere, which just came out from Samhain Publishing a couple weeks ago (on the same date as Jonathan Janz’s House of Skin), was first conceived back in the days of Cage of Bones, but it took me more than 10 years to finally sit down and write it. The book is my most extreme, explicit novel, and it needed to be that, given the setting and plot. I was honestly too nervous to approach working on the novel for years, because I just wasn’t sure if I could “go there” and do the story in my head justice.
Last year, I finally “went there,” and I’m glad I did. NightWhere was a challenge to write, but it turned out as I always hoped it would. One reader recently posted about it on Twitter and said:
“NightWhere: what a sex club would be like if it was run by the cast of Hellraiser!”
I love that description, and wish I’d have thought of it to suggest for the back-of-book description. Speaking of which, by now you’re probably wondering what this book I’ve been backing into talking about for several paragraphs is actually about.
NightWhere follows the story of Mark and Rae – a married couple with a decidedly different kind of marriage. Rae is an extremely oversexed woman who can never be satisfied by just one man. Mark knows this, and so he gives her the rope to “play” so long as he is in the know. They attend swingers clubs and Mark has his fun there too… but he’s really only there to please Rae.
But when Rae hears about an underground sex club called NightWhere, where anything goes – anything – things begin to change. NightWhere is never held in the same place, and only a select few receive invitations. When Mark and Rae receive an invite, they race to the address they’re given almost immediately… and find themselves in a club that offers a real “club” atmosphere –with a bar and a live band. But there just happen to be people stripping down on the dance floor and shedding more than their inhibitions in the back where the whipping racks are lined up. Rae is in heaven, especially when she finds that there’s another club within the club. A place called The Red. When Rae is offered the chance to go into The Red by one of the strange Watchers, who supervise the club, Mark is left behind. He’s warned by Selena, a beautiful stranger he meets at the bar, to take his wife away before it’s too late. But once Rae tastes the painful pleasures of The Red, it is too late. And then one night she goes to NightWhere herself and doesn’t come home.
As the back cover of the book notes, “Soon Mark is in a race against time—to find NightWhere again and save his wife from the mysterious Watchers who run the club. To stop her from taking that last step through the degradations of The Red into the ultimate BDSM promise of The Black. More than just their marriage and her life are at stake: Rae is in danger of losing her soul…”
Writing Mark was interesting, because he’s a guy who is perfectly content to let his wife be taken and used by
other men. Most guys I know would never consider that, let alone tolerate and support it. But swinger and “cuckold” couples exist, though I don’t know that I’ve ever seen them written about in horror novels. There’s a fully developed “scene” for that type of kink, but while it was an oddball character trait in my two leads, that wasn’t really the thing I wanted to explore. Nor was the BDSM scene, though that certainly offers some of the backdrop for NightWhere to spin from. No, I was more interested in exploring the loyalty of lovers. How would someone react when presented with the secret lust of their life if it meant they had to leave their lover behind to have it? How far would the lover go to regain the embrace of the mate who has meant everything to him? And if you really did surrender yourself to the ultimate deadly sins in a club that’s not quite of this realm… what doors would that open?
I don’t want to give anymore of the plot away, but let’s just say that Mark has to literally go through hell to try to win back his wife. Mark is driven to pursue Rae through any degradation and pain the Watchers can throw at him. And Rae is driven to explore complete surrender to the lash… or chain… or other demons… regardless of the cost.
Both are obsessed with pursuing self-destructive desires (regardless of “white” or “black” motives), and both pay the price. I think all of us have some element of our personality that “won’t let go” of things, so I hope that readers will all find something to identify with in Mark or Rae, regardless of whether or not they’ve ever had an interest in the swinger/BDSM lifestyle. Mark and Rae could just as easily have been alcoholics pursuing the Secret Bar of Ultimate Inebriation and the core point of the story would have remained the same. Though honestly, that would have been less fun to write.
To get a taste of NightWhere, stop by the Samhain site – there’s an excerpt posted on the book’s main page: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/nightwhere-p-6803.html It’s just the prologue, but I hope after reading it, people will be intrigued to explore more of the dark desires that drive the mysterious NightWhere – where it’s definitely safer to be a voyeur than a participant. Or, then again, thinking about the prologue… perhaps it isn’t.
PS. Thanks Jonathan, for letting me poke in on your blog! I’m looking forward to reading House of Skin!