Spooky Time! with Pierre C. Arseneault of Moncton, NB.
With Halloween just around the corner, what better than a horror story from a talented author.
Pierre’s been here before. Most recently in February with a SBTS for another of his works - HERE.
His first visit to the Scribbler was in February 2015 – HERE.
It’s been a pleasure to work with Pierre on the Paths Anthologies as part of the Seasonal Collective. See more HERE.
Read on about Pierre’s newest novel.
The youngest of eleven children, Pierre C. Arseneault grew up in the small town of Rogersville, New Brunswick. As a cartoonist, Pierre was published in over a dozen newspapers. As an author, he has six titles published so far. You can also read short stories by Pierre in the Paths anthology series.
Working Title: Maple Springs
Synopsis: Maple Springs is a town with a lot of history, and a lot of mystery. People seem to disappear at an alarming rate, yet the townsfolk brush the disappearances off with bizarre explanations. But some, like Robyn Skidmoore, think there is more going on in Maple Springs. As Robyn searches for her missing friend, she deals with tales of a legendary recluse, monsters, mobsters, and meddlesome neighbors.
The Story Behind the Story: I always love to hear what inspired a story. Sometimes it’s the most mundane things like an image on a book cover which is what inspired my novel Poplar Falls, the Death of Charlie Baker. Or perhaps it’s some small event that happened to you on the way to work, like what inspired my short story called Melvin in the upcoming Winter Paths anthology. Sometimes you just set your mind wandering on a topic and a weave of a tale starts to form, like my short story A Path to Redemption in the Autumn Paths anthology.
I recall having coffee once, long ago and all around the booths, there was a slot in the backings. Patrons had inserted pennies which were a perfect fit. I remember telling my friend that stories can comes from just about anywhere, I said pointing to the coins in the slot.
“Penny for your thoughts,” said I as I proceeded to talk of Delroy, a homeless man with a curse and a gift rolled into one. Right there, I had the premise for a short story that would get published in my anthology Sleepless Nights.
Origins of story ideas fascinate me almost as much as the stories themselves. For this new horror novel called Maple Springs, its origins stem from a few places. The first being this idea I had for a gifted woman who had abilities. Things she learned to use at a young age to get the things she wanted. I had her in the back of my mind and even though I’m one of those people who don’t have a mind’s eye, I could picture her. Long wavy blonde hair, large golden hoop earrings, a long flowing black skirt that reached the ground and a man’s button blue shirt with the sleeves rolled to her forearms and a large knot tied at the waist. She had a boldness about her, even before I wrote a single word.
Which brings me to the second part that inspired this horror novel. A television show that never ended, leaving me hanging with unanswered questions. Too many times, I began watching a show that captured my curiosity only to have it get cancelled with forever unanswered cliffhangers. Happy Town was one of these shows for me. I absolutely loved the characters, settings and mysteries. In Happy Town, people were vanishing mysteriously at the hands of someone they called the Magic Man. I’m positive this entire show was inspired by the song from the band Heart. This show was epic, but after airing six episodes during the summer, it was pulled off the air. There was a total of eight episodes filmed and blam… cancelled and left hanging forever. So, with what felt like an itch that I needed to scratch, I decided to write my own story about mysterious disappearances. Only I would answer the questions.
With that said, don’t go thinking I stole the idea. The only premise which is similar is the mysterious disappearances which wasn’t an original idea that the creators of Happy Town had invented. There are many books, television shows and movies out there also about mysterious disappearances and even they didn’t invent this either. This is something that many real-life monsters have made a sad reality for many. But I’m not alone in having a fascination for dark fiction. So, I sat down to write a novel about mysterious disappearances, monsters and things that live in the darkness. Things that might scare some and attract others. All you have to do is go to a Halloween store to see the evidence of this fascination with the macabre and horrific.
Maple Springs is one of those novels that I got so engrossed in writing that it took over my life for a short while. Which leads me to mention the hardest part of being a writer.
When you write a story you love as much as I love this one, you want to share it with readers. I was itching to have someone read it. But I’m often hesitant to have someone delve into it before my publisher or even close friends read it. It’s a strange feeling to be sitting on this new book you’re completely excited about only to have to wait to share it. And the strangest part is writing something new while you still have this on the back burner, waiting to put it out there.
I could tell you more about this novel but that would involve way more spoilers than I’m comfortable with. But Maple Springs was a labor of dark love and I’m excited to finally get to share it with readers.
A question for you before you go, Pierre.
What is your favorite part of writing and the part you enjoy the least?
My favorite part of writing is the very beginning as the possibilities are endless. Before you write a single word, you could be a pirate captain on a ship about to face a mutiny. You could be a gunslinger, about to face an opponent that you know will be your undoing. You could just as well be a warrior in armor on a battlefield as much as an accountant on the brink of insanity. You could be in space, on another planet, in Detroit or at the bottom of the ocean. You could be anywhere, anything and anyone… just about anyway. You can’t be Harry Potter or Batman. Someone out there might have something to say about that. But you could be a time traveling accountant who’s on the brink of insanity and is now convinced he’s Batman. That you could do.
My least favorite part of writing is when I hit a wall. Denial that writers block is something I can get was once a thing but no more. Sometimes you write and get to a point where you realize that the novel you were writing has dried up. What comes next? Sometimes you know what comes next but if I write that part, well my novel could now be a novelette or novella. But I can’t stop there, can I? Not if I want to make this a novel. Like as I write this, I’m thinking about the crime thriller I’m trying to write. I’m stuck. But like most writers, I’ve been there before and will get through it. So, type on, people. Stories don’t write themselves…
I think a lot of authors feel like you do, Pierre. Sometimes we get stuck and have to redo, or pause , or reflect but as you say “… and will get through it.”
Thanks for sharing the news about Maple Springs, Pierre. It’s a great story and we wish you continued success with your writing efforts.
And a humongous-Grand-Canyon-thank-you to all our visitors and readers. It's all for you.
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