Tom Deady is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Haven (Cemetery Dance, 2016), Eternal Darkness (Bloodshot Books, 2017), and Weekend Getaway (Grinning Skull Press, 2017). He also has several short stories published and a nonfiction publishing credit with Rue Morgue magazine. He holds a Master’s Degree in English and teaches Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. He is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association and a member of the New England Horror Writers.
His newest book is Backwater:
Tim Douglas returns to his home town of Edgewater to bury his mother, wanting nothing more than to get back to his retirement in Arizona. A strange sequence of events compels him to attend his 40th high school reunion, where the past encroaches on the present and Tim realizes that the ghosts of his youth must also be laid to rest.
There’s nothing like exploring an abandoned building to bring history back to life. So when Stan Powalski and his urban explorer friends learn that Edgewater’s Grand Hotel is slated for demolition, they can’t wait to get inside. None more than Stan, who has been raised on his grandmother’s stories of the majestic building, the site of his parents’ wedding. What Stan doesn’t know is the Grand holds its own memories — and history has a long reach.
Welcome to Edgewater, Massachusetts. You’ve driven through towns like it: quiet tree-lined streets, a gazebo on the town common where band concerts are held in the summer, maybe an ice cream truck surrounded by children. But haven’t you wondered what secrets lie hidden behind the elegant brickwork or buried in the postcard-pretty hills and forests? In Edgewater, nothing is as it seems.
Did something in the real world inspire Backwater?
Backwater is a two-novella collection where the stories are loosely tied together. Each story was definitely inspired by real events, though in vastly different ways.
Class Reunion is about a man who returns to his hometown to bury his mother. Coincidentally (or not?), his 40th high school reunion is taking place that weekend. I’d been toying with the idea of a man who attends a reunion and discovers some secrets from his past, but the story just wouldn’t come to me. Then I attended my own 35th high school reunion and the feeling of nostalgia and talking with old friends just made it all fall into place.
One Night at the Grand began during a writing retreat at the Stanley Hotel in Colorado. There was a Hollywood producer in attendance, who wanted to publish an anthology of Frankenstein-inspired stories and pitch it as a series to the networks. The gimmick was that Mary Shelley wrote the original manuscript while vacationing, so he wanted us to each write a story while we were staying at the Stanley. I had paid extra to rent a 4-hour writing block in the infamous Room 217. That’s where most of The Grand was written.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
Great question! In Reunion, it’s the entire flashback scene at the club between Tim and Judy. I think it’s a very powerful and poignant scene and true to the times (unfortunately). In The Grand — and you’ll think I’m weird for this answer — it’s when Stan is being questioned. He feels the detective is mocking him and says, “Play the fucking video, gumshoe.” It’s such a random and outdated expression for a younger person to say that it effectively demonstrates Stan’s state of mind.
What was your writing process like as you wrote the book?
As I mentioned, a good part of The Grand was written at The Stanley Hotel. The project I wrote it for ultimately fell apart, but because of the project’s word count restrictions, I felt I had only told part of the story. So I revisited it and added Stan’s backstory. Class Reunion was written during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Every November, a bunch of lunatics hide in their writing bunkers and try to crank out fifty thousand words in thirty days. Reunion was mostly written in the blur of NaNo.
What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?
Well, it’s not really part of the promotion, I guess, but having John R. Little write the introduction was a huge honor. He’s been both an inspiration and a supporter. For actual promotion, I participated in a horror panel at An Unlikely Story, a bookstore owned by Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid). The third floor of the store is Jeff’s writing and drawing studio, all decorated in Wimpy Kid glory! On the panel with me were Pete Kahle of Bloodshot Books and Paul Tremblay (A Head Full of Ghosts and Cabin at the End of the World). It was an amazing night.
What do you have planned next?
I have a middle grade horror novel with my agent. I love the MG and YA arenas, because it’s where people fall in love with reading. It would be cool to be a part of that. I’d love to see it be a series and have already started book two. I also have a modern-day ghost story novel that’s about eighty percent done and a post-apocalyptic novel in its final stages. I want to write a sequel to Eternal Darkness and a tie-in novel to Haven. I just need a lot more hours in the day!