Welcome to the second of my “The Story Behind” posts. This time looking at my horror novel, Raised In Evil.
Back in 1975 (when I was 16) I wrote a story called Black. It contained the basic idea that would eventually become Raised In Evil. And if you think any of the horror in my stories is extreme, let me just say that I toned down some of the stuff from Black to use in Raised In Evil. I was one sick fuck when I was 16 (some might say I still am, but who cares?). I also left out the werewolves and vampires. It seems that, when I wrote Black, I threw everything at it!
To a certain extent, the decision to write Raised In Evil was a reaction to having finished Welcome Home. The supernatural aspect of Welcome Home is subtle – almost non-existent to be honest. I wanted to write a horror where there could be no doubt that what was happening was supernatural. Welcome to demons, dead ex-priests, psychic powers and a particularly bleak view of the afterlife. Throw into the mix a down-to-earth murder investigation that ties into the weird stuff and you’re off.
The other difference from Welcome Home is that, while that book took place largely in a fictitious town in a very real county (Cheshire), most of Raised In Evil takes place in real places, and most of them around where I live on the Wirral.
So, the first body is found on Thurstaston Hill (just down the road).
The detective investigating this murder and subsequent ones is based at the police station in Heswall (my closest town).
The big house where the historical raid takes place is in Caldy (another short drive from where I live). The picturesque village where Raymond works for a small computer company is fictitious, but to anyone who knows the area, the inspiration is probably very obvious. It’s also where I worked for almost 6 years for a small computer company (now defunct). It was to avoid direct comparisons to this company that I made the place fictitious. Other action takes place around Flint Mountain (near where my wife lived when I first met her) and in Rhyl (a place I knew from childhood visits and then re-visited when I started dating the woman who would later foolishly marry me).
It needs to be said that, while the above places are all very real, I took certain liberties with them when writing the book, so you won’t always find things in reality as you find them in the story. Some places simply fell victim to the length of time it takes to write and publish a book (for example, the cafe where Frank spends time in Heswall actually existed, but had gone by the time the book was published), others either don’t exist at all or have been “adapted” for use.
Both Welcome Home and Raised In Evil had been completed some time before either were published. Nothing unusual in that, I know. Whereas I chose to self publish Welcome Home in ebook and paperback together, the history with Raised In Evil is slightly more complicated.
Originally, Raised In Evil was to be published in paperback by Screaming Dreams (who had earlier published my short story collection The Midnight Hour). At that time, SD did not do ebooks, so I chose to self publish the ebook version. At one point there was a US small press interested in publishing the paperback for the US market (SD having UK rights only), but that ran into editorial problems on some of the more extreme bits of horror. I had agreed to tone down any sections they highlighted, but in the end, unfortunately, they decided not to go ahead.
Everything look okay for the SD release in the UK, until Steve Upham (the man behind SD) suffered a heart attack. This obviously put everything on hold while Steve (who is a friend as well as a publisher – and a superb artist) recovered. Through no fault of his own, he had to stop his other work (his main source of income) and severely cut back on SD releases (stopping altogether for a short while). During this time we agreed that he would release the paperback rights for Raised In Evil back to me and I subsequently self published the paperback, to accompany the already published ebook.
The cover of both versions is my design using a pre-existing piece of artwork from Mr Steve Upham himself. I have been fortunate to have his involvement on nearly all of my self published pieces – making them look professional.
So, there you have it. A quick look behind the scenes of Raised In Evil.
As always, if you have read the book please review it (on Amazon or elsewhere), and if you haven’t read it I hope you will give it a try. Let me know what you think.