I’ve known Jennifer Brozek through the Horror Writers Association for years. She was kind enough to invite me to guest post on her blog when the first edition of Wish You Were Here came out in 2013 (here, if you’re interested) and again in 2015 when Kill By Numbers came out (here). When her new book came out, I couldn’t wait to ask her my questions about it.
Her description of To Fight the Black Wind:
Not all patients can be cured—or want to be.
Visiting psychologist Carolyn Fern’s newest patient is Josephine Ruggles, an heiress whose nightmares leave glyph-shaped wounds across her back. Miss Ruggles’s case is unusual, even for an institution like Arkham Sanatorium. Her case takes an even stranger turn after she claims to have met Malachi—Carolyn’s former patient whose treatment was cut short when he was brutally murdered—in her dreams. When Carolyn uses hypnotherapy to address Josephine’s trauma, they find themselves both journeying to a strange place Josephine calls “the Dreamlands.”
Together, Carolyn and Josephine discover that the mind is a powerful tool, but knowledge is dangerous. What is learned cannot be unlearned, and not everyone is prepared to pay the price.
Did something in the real world inspire To Fight the Black Wind?
The majority of the novella is set in the Dreamlands from the Lovecraft Mythos. I’ve always been a vivid dreamer. In some circumstances, I can lucid dream. This is what I used in the novella. Much of the crazy dream logic and situations are based on some of the things I’ve dreamed and experienced in one way or another. In an odd way, my dreamed experiences lend a certain sense of reality to the book.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
Josephine (the secondary protagonist) was carrying around forbidden knowledge. It was killing her slowly. My favorite scene is where psychologist Carolyn Fern had to physically dig the knowledge out of Josephine’s body. It was a terrifying and visceral scene that I just loved writing. I hope the readers both appreciate the scene — and wince at it.
What was your writing process like as you wrote To Fight the Black Wind?
As it was a tie-in novella for Fantasy Flight Games’ Arkham Horror line, my writing process was a bit more involved than normal. I had to create an outline that called out the specific themes and character arcs in the book. Every scene had to serve the themes and the arcs. Once the outline was approved, I sat down and wrote the book. The writing came fast. I knew the story well, though some bits still surprised me.
I write in the morning. That is when I’m at my creative best. Revisions in the afternoon because I’m usually working on more than one project at a time.
What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?
There were two unusual things that were both awesome and mystifying. The first was: on the first day of release, people on Amazon were selling the physical copy of the book for three times the amount that Fantasy Flight Games was selling it for. The second was that the physical copy of the book sold out within the first ten days. The kindle version is still available, but you have to get the physical copy through third party resellers now. I’ve never had that happen before with any of my books. It’s a good thing I’m so proud of this story.
What do you have planned next?
Right now, my life is all BattleTech all the time. I’m writing the first YA BattleTech trilogy in the Rogue Academy series (Iron Dawn, Hour of the Ghost, and Crimson Night). In-between the BattleTech novels, I do have a Shadowrun novella to write and several short stories. In the meantime, I have a couple of editing projects on my plate and my agent is shopping around my middle grade horror series called Fever County. I’m busy, but that’s the way I like it.
Jennifer Brozek is an award-winning author, editor, and tie-in writer. Two of her works, Never Let Me Sleep and The Last Days of Salton Academy, were nominated for the Bram Stoker Award. She was awarded the Scribe Award for best tie-in Young Adult novel of 2015 for BattleTech: The Nellus Academy Incident. Grants Pass won an Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication. In-between cuddling her cats, writing, and editing, Jennifer is an active member of SFWA, HWA, and IAMTW. She keeps a tight writing and editing schedule and credits her husband Jeff with being the best sounding board ever. Visit Jennifer’s worlds at jenniferbrozek.com or Twitter: @jenniferbrozek.