Maybe—just maybe—if the demons were only interested in possessing his ex, Mike could suffer their company, because in all honesty, the demon masquerading as Gilly is a step up from Gilly herself.
Unfortunately these monsters intend to kill everyone. Mike’s foster brother swears that when he opened the portal in the attic, the creatures claimed they only wanted to make new friends. He had no idea the things were involved in something called the Human Skin Trade.
Mike would argue that you shouldn’t be opening doors into other worlds in the first place, especially not on the night your brother and sister invite the entire high school to party, but no use dwelling in the past.
The portal is open.
The demon-alien-thingamajigs are here.
Guests are being abducted left and right.
Everyone’s identity is in question.
And Mike, ever an opportunist when it comes to boosting his reputation, is determined to be this party’s hero (even if it means sacrificing a few friends in the process).
I’m a sucker for otherworlds and monsters and house parties gone awry.
That’s the backdrop here.
Interdimensional demons infiltrate the type of liquor-drenched party that would otherwise be right at home in a raunchy teen comedy.
But the real fun lies in just whose party the demons have crashed. These presumptuous creatures think they’ve entered a house full of sheep. They don’t know a couple of wolves are already among the herd.
We’re so used to seeing courageous and noble protagonists thrust in nightmarish situations, I wanted to explore the opposite. Lesser evil confronted with greater evil. How would, say, American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman handle the cenobites from Hellraiser?
Which feeds into the other thing I love: antiheroes.
Not abrasive personalities hiding hearts of gold.
While Mike isn’t the mastermind he likes to portray himself as (his nefarious plans tend to backfire), he’s a walking horror story well before you add monsters to the equation. And his best friend may be even more unhinged than he is.
The two pave the way for a ride that goes completely off the rails.
The Guests in the Attic has been a pet project of mine for nearly a decade. I made the mistake of thinking the book was “done” on multiple occasions. It took longer than I’d care to admit to notice some pretty glaring issues. Namely: poor pacing and rambling narration. This thing used to clock in over 120,000 words. It now runs at a mean and lean 76K.
I’m proud of where I’ve gotten it. But even during the ugliest and most cold-hearted edits, I’d still find myself laughing with the characters. For such a gruesome story, I was constantly surprised by how much fun I had reading Mike’s depraved adventure. Of course fun is a dangerous word to use when we’ve got demons running around butchering teenagers. Its usage may say more about me than the story itself. I grew up loving movies like Nightbreed and Hellraiser. The Thing. Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Fright Night and The Lost Boys. All of these influences wormed their way into the book.
I left South Carolina for Los Angeles in 2010 to pursue multiple dreams. A couple years in I decided I was being too ambitious and focussed on writing. Two years after that I self-published a vicious little horror novella, which Kirkus awarded a generous writeup. Unfortunately I stumbled when it came to advertising the work and the thing found very few readers. Rather than risk Guests suffering the same fate, I hope to leave the promotional side of things to the professionals.
Except that puts me in a catch-22. I still need to raise enough awareness to prove there’s a market for the book. With mainstream horror on the rise (see: It / Halloween / Stranger Things / Haunting of Hill House / A Quiet Place), there definitely is—but how do I find readers willing to invest in an unknown author? I don’t have a perfect answer, but I have a plan. In an effort to garner support, I’ll be recording chapters from The Guests in the Attic—creating a podcast of sorts—so that folks can follow the story audibly. The first three chapters are already linked above. I’ll post updates with the release of additional episodes, and hopefully this gets the ball rolling.
Thank you for reading,