Today I am interviewing Tommy B. Smith, author of the new horror novel, New Era, first book in the Black Carmenia series.
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DJ: Hi Tommy! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Tommy B. Smith: I’m a lot of things. Too many things, some days. I’ll keep it short, though. I’m a writer of horror and dark fiction, author of award-winning novels such as The Mourner’s Cradle, Anybody Want to Play WAR?, and others. I also have a short story collection out, Pieces of Chaos. I’ve done some editing and freelance work on the side, and have taken some involvement in film as well. New Era is my newest book release.
DJ: What is New Era about?Tommy: The story of New Era revolves around a few different characters, and even different time periods. It opens with the story of Terry and Marjorie Valentine, who have moved into a cabin deep in the countryside of Concordia Parish, Louisiana, near the Black River, seeking refuge from a traumatic occurrence that almost fractured their marriage and lives. This area has a dark past, though, and what proceeds is a dual tale, that of Terry, Marjorie, and others in their circle, and of Raleigh Castel, a boy who disappeared under strange circumstances in 1918.
DJ: What were some of your influences for New Era and the series?Tommy: I spent some time traveling through central and eastern Louisiana a few years back, and there I found inspiration for the story, as well as in history and the concept that each object we perceive has a story which, by proximity, may become linked to our own.
DJ: There are many different definitions of horror in genre, so I’m curious, when you write “horror”, how is it that you try to scare your readers? Do you go for gore? Shock? Maybe build up tense moments? Or perhaps it is the unknown?Tommy: I’ve touched on all of the above at various points, though I don’t necessarily consider gore to be scary. Colorful, perhaps. New Era approaches more of the tension angle, since it is more of an atmospheric tale of quiet horror, though the book does have its distinct moments of sheer savagery.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?Tommy: Terry and Marjorie have a complex relationship. They’ve managed to continue their life together, but not without suffering some damage. The fact that they’ve survived it speaks much of their dedication to each other, even while it’s fraught with insecurities on both sides. Every day is a new challenge for Marjorie, who struggles to overcome her fears and even dares to pursue the strange secrets buried in the adjacent property.
DJ: Aside from the main characters in the story, who is a favorite side character or a character with a smaller role in the story? Why?Tommy: I would have to go with Chloe, best friend and roommate to Terry and Marjorie’s daughter Natalie. When such subtle dimension springs from a secondary character, this leaves us, the writer and hopefully the readers, wanting more.
DJ: What is the world and setting of the Black Carmenia series like?Tommy: Incredibly nuanced. While each book strikes from a different angle, the Black Carmenia books largely fall into the category of Southern horror. I happen to live in the South, so here I’ve taken advantage of the setting and identity of the surrounding regions. You’ll see folklore, mysticism, and even some cosmic horror come out of it. The black carmenia itself, a rare flower with unusual qualities, plays a pivotal role across the entirety.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing New Era?Tommy: I enjoyed the research that went into it, exploring the actual region of the book’s setting and its possibilities. So much of it doesn’t even figure into the book, given this is a work of fiction and not an in-depth lesson for academic purposes, but it provided an interesting experience nonetheless.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?Tommy: After finishing New Era, probably wondering where it could go from there. There is definitely more to come, and it may not be what everyone expects.
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began the Black Carmenia series? New Era is only the first book, but is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?Tommy: When I set out to write New Era, I originally considered it a stand-alone story. I’ve written short stories set in different parts of Louisiana and intended to set my next book there, and also to pen a dual tale spanning two distant eras. By the end, it appeared there was more room to explore. Much more. Themes of betrayal, family, and resilience are definitely a part of New Era. As for what others make of it, I will let the readers make their own interpretations.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from New Era that you can share with us?Tommy: The world never slept, she understood now, even when the channels signed off and the lights went out. Behind the curtain of night, screams pierced the stillness, car horns blasted, glass bottles smashed against streets, strangers banged on doors at two-in-the-morning, drunk drivers careened into telephone poles, and insomniacs fought for their last shreds of sanity.
DJ: Now that New Era is released, what is next for you?
Tommy: The second Black Carmenia book has already landed with the publisher. I’m currently in the midst of writing the third.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Tommy-B-Smith/e/B008WTNZHG?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1646510871&sr=1-3
DJ: Is there anything else you would like to add?Tommy: Thank you for having me, and thanks to all of my readers, friends, and supporters for being so excellent. Until the next.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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***New Era is published by Raven Tale and is available TODAY!!!***
Buy the Book:
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About the Book:
Insomnia. Headaches. Fear.
It drove Marjorie down, cost her a career, and almost destroyed her marriage. When she and her husband Terry escaped to the quiet green countryside west of the Mississippi River, their new home, it seemed too good to last.
The snake-ridden adjoining property, bordered by a row of maple trees, hosts a deadly secret. There the blood of fiends and innocents stain the crumbling ruins of an old farmhouse, a decaying testament to a web of treachery and murder stretching back to distant times.
The horror in the ruins watches in wait. Marjorie fears the end, and the end is coming.
About the Author:
Tommy B. Smith is a writer of horror and dark fiction, author of The Mourner’s Cradle, Poisonous, and Anybody Want to Play WAR? as well as the short story collection Pieces of Chaos. His work has been featured in numerous magazines and anthologies to span the years.
He has previously worked with Morpheus Tales as editor of the Dark Sorcery and Urban Horror special issues of the magazine.
Road Between Worlds: A Horror Author’s Chronicle is a documentary of the creative journey, that of the author and others including writers, artists, and filmmakers of varying backgrounds and persuasions. It begins in a cemetery and spans the book tour of 2018 across eleven cities.
In 2019, The Mourner’s Cradle received the Imadjinn Award for best horror novel, and in 2020, Anybody Want to Play WAR? for best literary fiction novel.
He currently resides in Fort Smith, Arkansas with his wife and cats.