About the Author
A graduate of the Department of Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Liz has a background in screenwriting and live theatre as well as fiction. Most recently, Liz was featured on the Tracking Board’s Young and Hungry List as one of the top up-and-coming screenwriters in Hollywood and her feature script PYONGYANG HOME VIDEO made the 2016 Hit List. She was a finalist for the Launchpad Manuscript Competition with her fantasy novel THE PHANTOM FOREST. Liz was selected as a 2015 writing fellow by NY-based media incubator Big Vision Empty Wallet, and participated in their lab in Costa Rica. She was also a finalist for the 2015 Lifetime TV Writers Project with her pilot, RISEN. Her play "...And Then She DIES at the End!", which she also co-directed, received an award-winning production at the New Ohio Theatre as part of the 2012 New York Int’l Fringe Festival, and she is currently workshopping two new plays in Los Angeles with theatre collective 125 & Laurel, where she also serves as Artistic Director. Liz is represented by Verve and Grandview and divides her time between Los Angeles and New York. She is the proud co-parent of two unruly small dogs.
As a pale, rosy dawn spread its arms wide across the Underworld’s violet night sky, Haben wondered, as he had every sleepless night since his arrival, why night and day were even significant in this place. A man, he knew, was required to count the days, to mark the seasons. It was how he might anticipate an event, how he might judge how long he had been in a place and when he ought to move on. But for Haben, there were no events to anticipate. And because he had already reached his final destination, there was no use judging how long he had been there and when he ought to be going. A man needed the warm light of day to tend to his duties and the dark shelter of night to shed his inhibitions and become who he truly was. Haben no longer needed these intervals because Haben was no longer a man.
“Time,” as Haben had once known it, was immeasurable when nothing ever changed, like floating along a vast ocean, looking out on the same horizon day after day. Motion was entirely imperceptible even if motion was occurring. It meant nothing. The years rolled onwards, like a tide he could scarcely detect. But at least he had his own company, his own cognizance. He delighted in the terror he felt each time a fragmented memory from Before resurfaced from the recesses of his ancient mind: bits and pieces of conversations, people’s faces, and distant places swam around in his head like a sluggish, primordial ooze. Nobody would ever hear his thoughts. The demons weren’t much for conversation. But that was all right. By now, he preferred the solitude. He preferred what he was accustomed to. The other demons probably did, too.
When he first arrived in the Underworld and was handed his eternal sentence, Haben had feared restlessness. He considered the eons of nothingness that awaited him and wondered what he would do to fill the endless hours. He didn’t realize that the thing he was about to become, the creature he was evolving into, had little regard for such concerns. The thing, the creature, wanted very little. When he was tortured, he wanted it to end. That was all. There was nothing else. He grew cold to the core and found himself unmoored from the world around him. The soul he carried in life began to decay inside his demonic new body.
And yet, he couldn’t shake the compulsion to emerge from the tunnels of the cave network at dawn each day to watch the sun come up. The ritual felt like a souvenir from the world he once knew, a world that had required him to rise when the sun did.
He peered over the cliff, not observing anything in particular because there was never anything new to observe. But he enjoyed this view of the Underworld’s landscape when it was bathed in early light. Even its darkest corners seemed a little warmer, though he knew better than to assume that they were.
The sun crested the hill along the western frontier, a mirror image of the morning sky in the world of the mortals. Its dusty violet, prismatic rays shone like a beacon across the...
THE PHANTOM FOREST is an impressive debut from writer Liz Kerin. It is a wholly original, beautifully written fantasy novel that reminded me of A WRINKLE IN TIME with added elements of the YA dystopian craze that has swept through publishing over the last few years. What sets it apart from others in its genre, however, is its deep meditations on life, death, spirituality and what it means to be human. This book deserves to make it out into the world and readers' hands - do whatever you can to read it!