It’s with great pleasure that I announce that Matthew S. Cox is my guest today, as part of the Nine Candles of Deepest Black tour that is being organized by Xpresso Book Tours. I’ve asked the author to tell me a bit about the inspiration behind the story of Nine Candles of Deepest Black, I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did.
by Matthew S. Cox
Hi, and thanks for allowing me a bit of space on your blog for the Nine Candles of Deepest Black tour!
I’ve been asked what the inspiration was behind the story. June 2015 or so, I was in a Barnes and Noble doing a signing event for another of my YA books, The Summer the World Ended. In between people stopping by to chat, I found myself looking around at covers and titles of other books. Behind me one of the titles (I can’t remember it at this point) stood out to me as being the sort of title I always strived to come up with but felt as though I kept missing. Something cool sounding, deep, and a little on the poetic side.
On the end-cap nearest my table, I remember a swath of bright pink with a pentacle on it – The Merciless by Danielle Vega. I haven’t read it, or even looked at the description of it – but staring at a pentacle for six hours tends to put one’s brain in a particular mode. Some background process in my brain had gotten running, toying with interesting titles. Between that and the aforementioned pentacle, the phrase ‘Nine Candles of Deepest Black’ came to mind.
Right away, I knew I had to write something to go with that title.
I’ve written twenty-eight novels now, working on number twenty-nine, and have the outline ready to go for number thirty. Still, Nine Candles is the only time that I had a title ready before I had any inkling of a storyline or plot to go with it. My relationship with titles is a fickle thing. Sometimes, I’ll have a story idea and I’ll get a title in seconds that I love. Every other time (except Nine Candles), I’ll get a story idea and spend weeks or months trying to come up with a title… and never quite like anything.
So there I stood with this (what I think was an) awesome title, and I wanted to make it happen.
Recently, I had read Malus Domestica by SA Hunt (awesome book!), which featured witchcraft as a major topic. I had never considered myself a horror author before, but some parts of Division 0 people have told me “felt like horror.” I decided to write a horror novel (on purpose) so I started thinking about where I could take a story involving magic with black candles as a significant element, and spent a good week or so debating between having the main character be a high-school student and writing YA, or making her older, perhaps in college, and going ‘new-adult’ with it. I basically left the doors of my brain wide open to see what kinds of moths flew in. As little ideas of ‘ooh, that would make neat scene’ started to build up, it looked like the story wanted to be YA.
So, Paige became sixteen instead of twenty one. The rest of the story, her gift, her family dynamics, her hyper-cute little sister, all formed into an outline bit by bit. I can’t deny that there’s probably some subconscious influence from The Craft, though it has been a long damn time since I saw it, and I suppose one could argue that any story involving teenaged girls and witchcraft can be compared to that movie.
I did make a conscious decision not to have a romantic subplot in this one, since it would’ve been far out of character given Paige’s emotional state. (Though one of her friends does have a crush on her.)
In short, I can’t point to any one single thing as the inspiration for this story (other than the title). It came about from many small things I’ve seen and read over the years.
About the author
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.He is also fond of cats.
Nine Candles of Deepest Black
by Matthew S. Cox
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: September 15th 2016
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Young Adult
She saw it coming. She knew it would happen―but no one believed her.
Almost a year after tragedy shattered her family, sixteen-year-old Paige Thomas can’t break free from her guilt. Her mother ignores her, doting on her annoying little sister, while her father is a barely-functioning shell. He hopes a move to the quiet little town of Shadesboro PA will help them heal, but Paige doesn’t believe in happiness anymore.
On her first day at school, a chance encounter with a bullied eighth grader reawakens a gift Paige had forgotten, and ingratiates her into a pack of local outcasts. For weeks, they’ve been trying to cast a ritual to fulfill their innermost desires, but all they’ve done is waste time. After witnessing Paige touch the Ouija board and trigger a paranormal event, the girls are convinced another try with their new fifth member will finally work.
Once the darkness is unleashed, it’s not long before they learn it will give them exactly what they asked for―whether they want it or not.