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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Guest Post: When Worlds Collide by Michael West

Please help me welcome to FMB, author Michael West! :)

          Growing up, I don’t know if I fully understood the concept of a “shared universe.”  I just knew that whenever I saw Batman in a Swamp Thing comic, or The Six Million Dollar Man fighting Fembots on The Bionic Woman, it thrilled me to no end.  And, of course, as a life-long Horror fan, I loved reading all of Stephen Kings references to other stories in his novels.
            Yes, Carrie White’s mother worked on the blood-thirsty folding and pressing machine featured from “The Mangler.”  Sheriff Bannerman from The Dead Zone showed up in Cujo.  And Cujo was then mentioned in The Body.  The Overlook Hotel popped up in Misery.  Billie from “The Crate” got talked about in The Dark Half.  Pennywise the clown still had a thing for sewers in The Tommyknockers, and on, and on, and on.
            It was always fun to find these little Easter eggs, like watching an Alfred Hitchcock film and laughing or cheering when the great director finally made his requisite cameo.  But more than that, to me, it just made good sense.  I mean, think about it...if all these characters live in or pay a visit to the same town, wouldn’t they eat at the same restaurants?—stay in the same inns?—maybe pass each other on the street, or better yet, actually interact with one another from time to time?
            Sure they would!
            And so, when I started writing about my fictional town of Harmony, Indiana, it was only natural that familiar people and places would crop up from time to time.  The Woodfield Movie Palace that was a teenage hangout in The Wide Game became the focus of Cinema of Shadows, and characters from the first novel were mentioned, or played key roles, in the second.  It wasn’t something I even did consciously; it just made sense. 
            Now, here’s where it gets interesting.  You see, as I was typing away on my Harmony, Indiana novels, I was also hard at work on an epic, dark, horrific Urban Fantasy series called The Legacy of the Gods.  The two series are very different in tone.  One is supernatural horror, with ghosts and demons, while the other deals with sea monsters and all other manner of strange, mythical creatures, and yet, the more I worked on them, the more they started to bleed together.  Characters from Legacy would have ties to Harmony and vice versa, until it became quite clear that they all existed in the same ever-expanding, shared universe. 
            I’m not saying all crossovers work--and just because different series are created by the same writer, or owned by the same studio, doesn’t mean they can successfully co-mingle--but if it feels natural rather than forced, why not?
As a matter of fact, at this very moment, Earl L. Preston Jr., a fan favorite from Poseidon’s Children, is about to play a major role in my new Harmony, Indiana novel, Spook House, and I’m having an absolute blast!  I just hope that, when the book comes out later this year, it will be as fun for faithful readers to read as it has been to write.  








"Man no longer worships the old gods; forgotten and forsaken, they have become nothing more than myth and legend. But all that is about to change. After the ruins of a vast, ancient civilization are discovered on the ocean floor, Coast Guard officers find a series of derelict ships drifting in the current--high-priced yachts and leaking fishing boats, all ransacked, splattered in blood, their crews missing and presumed dead.
And that's just the beginning.

Vacationing artist Larry Neuhaus has just witnessed a gruesome shark attack, a young couple torn apart right before his eyes ... at least, he thinks it was a shark. And when one of these victims turns out to be the only son of Roger Hays, the most powerful man in the country, things go from bad to worse. Now, to stop the carnage,Larry and his new-found friends must work together to unravel a mystery as old as time, and face an enemy as dark as the ocean depths."

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Michael West a member of the Horror Writers Association and serves as President of its local chapter, Indiana Horror Writers. A graduate of Indiana University, West earned a degree in Telecommunications and Film Theory, and since that time, he has written a multitude of short stories, articles, and reviews for various on-line and print publications.


He lives and works in the Indianapolis area with his wife, their two children, their bird, Rodan, and turtle, Gamera. His children are convinced that spirits move through the woods near their home.

For further information, please visit Michael's site at www.bymichaelwest.com




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