Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Demons, Curses, and Things That Go Bump in the Night

© Marta Stephens 2017 all rights reserved 

Few people know that my paternal grandfather, Marcelo Ruggero, was a stage and film actor in Buenos Aires during the 1930s and well into the mid-1950s. He was a local sensation in his days. By the time I was born, he had long retired, but his many riveting stories lived on and were passed down to us by my father. 

I was always particularly drawn to the tales about the strange things that often plagued the crew and actors during certain productions; unexplained illnesses, props and tools disappearing. One had to wonder if something or someone was trying to get their own mysterious message across.

Actors often say they have to “get into character” in order to understand who they are attempting to portray and to also comprehend the character’s motivation. Immersing him- or herself into the role of the character is what ultimately brings the character to life on the screen. As a writer, I understand this to be true, but what happens when the plot is not of this world? When demons play a supporting role and/or are the focus of attention?

Several years ago, I spoke with a good friend of mine, a retired journalist, about some of the odd and unexplained things that happened in 2008 when my second novel, THE DEVIL CAN WAIT was about to be published. He listened intently and then had an interesting story to share with me. He said that he had been lucky enough to get together with Gregory Peck, Lee Remick and Billy Whitelaw at the close of filming for The Omen. They told scary yarns about what went wrong on the set – and even the destruction of a whole spool of key footage. According to the actors, it seemed Hell itself was on the job, doing all it could to put a spoiler on the famous 666 movie. 

Fortunately, none of the incidents that occurred during the final stages of my novel’s production were life threatening.  Individually, each could have easily been brushed off as coincidence, but cumulative, it was a different matter. I then decided to make a list and a pattern emerged. 

At every critical stage of production, several unexplained occurrences caused major delays; computers crashed, e-mails and manuscript pages disappeared, and three of the four graphic designers my publisher hired, left without notice. The final straw was when my publisher mailed my contract and twice it got lost in the mail. I received them weeks later; each was addressed correctly. We tried to laugh it off, but had a hard time dismissing the what if the book’s plot had drawn unwanted attention.

I don’t doubt that things can and do go bump in the night, but I refuse to let them get in my way. The proof is that THE DEVIL CAN WAIT was not only published, it went on to receive the bronze 2009 IPPY Award. Now, almost nine years to the day of its original release date (11/8/08), I’m excited to announce that it will be available again soon in e-books and paperbacks. The question is, what will try to come between it and its new release? 

You’ll be the first to know.

The city of Chandler, Massachusetts is plunged into terror when the bodies of three local teenagers wash ashore. While homicide detective Sam Harper hunts down the guilty, a sinister plot emerges overseas.  From the Vatican to the jungles of South America, a cursed black pearl ring, the demonic prophecy it represents, and the men who pursue its powers find their unfortunate way onto Harper's turf.

Enthralled by the ring's story and front-page spread, newspaper reporter, Jennifer Blake agrees to pick up the ring at a local pawnshop for her former college professor. When she does, unforeseen events shoot Blake to the top of Harper's prime suspect list. Soon, the seemingly unrelated cases converge, and the heat is on for Harper to expose the truth behind a Vatican secret and stop the self-righteous man who does the unthinkable in the name of God.

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Marta Stephens is the author of the Sam Harper Crime Mystery Series and Rhonie Lude Mysteries. Stephens, a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, lived in Los Angeles in the late 1970’s but has called Indiana home since the age of four. For more information about the author and her works, visit www.mstephensbooks.com.

1 comment:

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Marta, what a perfectly spooky post for Halloween! I loved it. Thanks for sharing and hope you had a nice night handing out candy to the little ones!!! ;o)