I'm going to let you in on a secret...I am not an experienced or well known author. My educational background is in finance and accounting, and my current day job is in local government. I've always loved story telling, and I've dabbled in writing short stories since I was kid, but The Thin House is my first book. Any idea I have of what i'm doing, largely comes from the advice of more experienced friends and internet research. My inexperience felt the most daunting when I first opened a blank Word document and asked myself, "Where do I start?"
I'm sure there are more academic ways to do it, but getting started for me meant figuring out my characters. I had a vague idea for the plot, but before I even really started to polish that into an honest-to-God story I knew I needed to figure out who it was going to be about. I've always liked character driven media so that's what i tried to get a handle on first. I thought for today's post it'd be fun to introduce three of them.
The main protagonist of The Thin House is an eleven-year-old boy named Finn Anglin. Finn was raised by his mother, who has kept a lot of her family's history from him until the sudden announcement that he will be spending the summer at his grandparent's boarding house. Finn is quiet, thoughtful, and curious, and is a good stand in for the reader as he is continually introduced to bizarre characters and situations. Finn's defining characteristic is a desire to understand those around him, and I based him on myself as a little kid interacting with my extended family, particularly grandparents, great aunts, and uncles.
Two other major characters in the book, are Finn's grandparents themselves. Their names are Eleanor and Ezekiel Blacklock. Little is known about them at the start of the book, but it quickly becomes apparent that both are larger than life. Eleanor is a yoga master, who shows her love for her guests by cooking elaborate and personal meals that seem to have an almost supernatural healing quality. Ezekiel is a quiet but imposing marksman, who seems to have the rare ability to see things exactly as they are, which can be difficult considering their usual clientele. Both are fiercely loyal and devoted to the grandson they have been waiting years to meet.
The Blacklock's are based on some of the best qualities of the men and women who I wanted to be like as a kid. Some of their interactions with Finn are pulled closely from stories from my childhood. Their relationship with each other; however, is pulled from my own marriage. Of all the characters in The Thin House and those planned for future books, I am the most excited to share the Blacklocks. They have stuck with me in a really fun way long since the book has been completed.
I hope this peaks your interest. I'm excited to introduce the characters that have been bumping around my head for the past few years. I hope to have some more announcements soon, including some new artwork from the book. Until then...
Welcome to the Jackalope Stories Blog! As I prepare for the launch of my first book, I thought it would be nice to have a platform to release news, teasers, and a little insight into the background of The Thin House and other projects. Be sure to check back here for regular updates.
For today's post I wanted to provide a little background into The Thin House. I began working on my first book almost two years ago. At the time, I was working on creating a comic book. I finished the scripts but the art was proving difficult. I was working with a very talented artist, but since we were both trying to get started in the industry there was no way I could pay what he deserved. As such he rightfully continued his own side projects, and we just were not moving forward like I wanted.
I ended up reaching out to a friend of mine who has some experience in the comic book industry as a creator, and asked for advice. He suggested I put my efforts into a project that was 100% on me. So I started thinking about a book. A friend of mine who did the editing for the comic scripts (and eventually The Thin House) had written a novel and she helped me understand some of the basic mechanics. With a very "here goes nothing" attitude I got to work.
I had been tinkering with the idea of exploring monster stories and childhood memories. When I was a kid I loved old monster movies, particularly the classic universal studios ones. I used to love the The Wolfman, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and many more. What I've noticed though is that as I've gotten older I've developed a deep sense of warm nostalgia for the monsters that used to scare me.
This all came at a time when my grandfather's health was fading. In fact, the entire generation that had stood so tall when I was a kid were slowing down. For the first time, I was really considering a future without the men and women who had served as the underlying mythology of my family for longer than I'd been alive.
That's where The Thin House came from. Finn Anglin's eventful summer in his grandparents boarding house is my childhood listing to the stories of giants. The supernatural guests are my great uncles and aunts and their bizarre exploits. The only real monster in the book, the creature waiting for Finn in the basement is my own fear of moving further and further from that part of my life.
Like all writers, I put a lot of myself into this book. There's a lot about it that I'm excited to share. Even though the book is filled with the creatures that I loved to be scared by when I was little, I would never call this a horror novel. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some moments that are meant to raise the hairs on the back of your neck, but overall this is a love letter. Not just to the monsters that used to inhabit our closets and the spaces beneath our beds, but to the people that made my childhood truly magical.
So I hope you enjoy this summer with the Blacklock's in their mysterious boarding house. There's a lot more to come. We haven't even gotten to the Jackalope yet.