A spooooookkyyy welcome to the Blog Tour for Micah Dean Hicks’ newest book: Break the Bodies Haunt the Bones! A book about death, ghosts, hauntings, and escaping a small town!
What do I have for you in today’s tour? Well, a guest post on how the author wrote this book. I will also tell you about the book/author. And lastly, you can join the giveaway to win a copy of the book!
Let’s get this tour on the road~
Buy the book here: Amazon || B&N
About the author:
Swine Hill was full of the dead. Their ghosts were thickest near the abandoned downtown, where so many of the town’s hopes had died generation by generation. They lingered in the places that mattered to them, and people avoided those streets, locked those doors, stopped going into those rooms . . . They could hurt you. Worse, they could change you.
Jane is haunted. Since she was a child, she has carried a ghost girl that feeds on the secrets and fears of everyone around her, whispering to Jane what they are thinking and feeling, even when she doesn’t want to know. Henry, Jane’s brother, is ridden by a genius ghost that forces him to build strange and dangerous machines. Their mother is possessed by a lonely spirit that burns anyone she touches. In Swine Hill, a place of defeat and depletion, there are more dead than living.
When new arrivals begin scoring precious jobs at the last factory in town, both the living and the dead are furious. This insult on the end of a long economic decline sparks a conflagration. Buffeted by rage on all sides, Jane must find a way to save her haunted family and escape the town before it kills them.
Find him here:
Micah Dean Hicks is the author of the novel Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones. He is also the author of Electricity and Other Dreams, a collection of dark fairy tales and bizarre fables. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Hicks grew up in rural southwest Arkansas and now lives in Orlando. He teaches creative writing at the University of Central Florida.
Guest Post ~ How did the author write this book. Thank you for the guest post!
A story often doesn’t catch fire in my head until I have a strong sense of place. I might have rough ideas of characters and plot, but they don’t become full-fleshed until I know the setting deeply.
For my novel Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones, the first area that took shape in Swine Hill was the high school. I knew it would be crumbling, the buildings mismatched and poorly repaired, a labyrinth of dead-end hallways, floors closed off from water damage, and old stairwells that rose to doors chained shut. The sort of place where students could slip away unsupervised, where it was easy to get cornered, where violence was inevitable.
Later, I had the idea for the pork processing plant, Pig City, sitting high on a plateau and surveying the town like Dracula’s Castle. I created the plant as a kind of hell, a place that would maim its workers, use them up, and then cast them aside. A complicated place because, as awful as it was to work there, it was the only option for so many in the town, the only thing keeping Swine Hill alive. Once the plant felt real to me, I understood so much about the people who lived in this town. Not just how they were hurting and what they needed, but their greatest fear, the seismic event that could shake the community: what if the plant were to close?
So many questions I had about the book—Why are the people burdened with strange, supernatural afflictions? What do my characters want? Why do people stay here at all?—weren’t resolved until the I had more deeply thought about my town’s past. Once prosperous, Swine Hill had been in decline for decades. The ghosts of its bitter dead flood the city, haunting people and warping their lives, stubbornly chasing a vision of the town that is never coming back. People stay because the ghosts tell them there is nothing better, or because they love their ghosts and don’t want to leave them behind. The themes of the novel are made physical in the brick, wood, and tin of Swine Hill.
Most stories I write work this way. Understanding where my characters are from, the landscape where they came of age, helps me see what kind of people they are. Their values and needs become clear. Plot suggests itself once the setting is crystalized, like making a snow globe so I can shake it. And then, asking myself who will stand out in such a place and why they would be so different from everyone else, my characters finally step into view.
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