Malign Forces at Play

T.C. Schueler
T.C. Schueler Author Interview

22 Dutch Road follows Billy who goes back to his late father’s house and finds something strange going on with the statues on the property. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?

The inspiration came from an amalgamation of ideas that were stuck in my head for several years: wouldn’t it be creepy to be alone in a house surrounded by statues that seem to move? What would be the circumstances that would keep you there despite your own sense of self-preservation telling you to get out of Dodge? Was it all in your head, because of medical reasons, or were there malign forces at play? If these statues really were moving around, why were they doing so? How long have they been doing so? Who, or what, is pulling their strings?

Billy is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

From the beginning, Billy was going to be somewhat of a early twenty-first century “everyman”, a young man without means, living under the shadow of an overbearing and totally unfair father. He was, however, also going to be supported by a good (if not somewhat overbearing in her own way) mother as well as extended family “father figure” uncles. He would have a few close friends. He was going to be “a good guy” but not a perfect one, one with visible strengths and weaknesses. Despite being chastened by years of ill treatment from his father, he would secretly yearn for connection anyway. He was going to be reasonably clever and witty but not brilliant or hilarious. He was going to be likable and attractive in a Professor Snape sort of way. He was going to be good with his hands.

I enjoyed the mystery at the heart of this story. Was this planned before writing or did it develop organically while writing?

The basic storyline of a struggling, haunted young man returning to an “ancestral” home out of necessity, only to engage in a psychological struggle with his father, was there from day one. There were always going to be some key elements like a cute dog and a helpful neighbor. About 75% of the detail, however, developed organically; I found myself discovering how things “happened” in the story as I wrote it; most of the subplots developed by themselves and some of these plots changed significantly over the course of writing. For instance, the lawyer character, Bates, was originally going to be a one-dimensional character, merely there to develop the plot, but became interesting enough to me to flesh out more. He’s an adroit, cold lawyer, but why is he that way? Many of the sub characters started out this way–one dimensional–only to have their back stories flesh out over the three and a half years I spent writing this book.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next book is called The Evil Men’s Book Club. At the pace that I write–writing is a hobby and I have a job and family, like I imagine most writers do–it should be complete by early 2022. By the way, there really is an Evil Men’s Book Club, also known as the EMBC, formed in the DC area in the 90s. The EMBC is an informal club of my friends and the book, a murder mystery, will be loosely based on it.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

An estranged son drives twelve hours to collect badly needed money from his father’s estate. The same ugly McMansion still sits behind a security wall, but there are new features: a gaudy slate roof, a 70s-style conversation pit, and nearly two dozen statues posted along the wall like sentinels. It makes no sense; Billy Buchanan’s father was broke. Where had these fierce looking, valuable sculptures come from? Forced to spend the week at 22 Dutch Road, Billy begins believing these samurai-styled carvings can talk to him by day, and worse, move at night—his father might not be so dead after all.

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Posted on September 6, 2020, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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