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Superheroes Possess a Dark Side

Alan J. Paul
Alan J. Paul Author Interview

The Walrus: Monster in the Mist follows a young man that’s about to take a dark path in life, but a new neighbor changes things in ways never expected. What inspired the idea behind this riveting novel?

The story is very loosely based upon a relationship that I had as a young teen with a man and his wife who moved into our neighborhood. As in the book, this man became a mentor to me and helped me through some difficult times. There was a vacant lot which bordered our properties and it was quite an eyesore, though I’m pretty sure it wasn’t haunted.

I enjoyed the unique infusion of superheroes in this story. Why was this an important aspect for you to include in the story?

I was a big comic book fan as a child, especially Superman and Batman, from the DC Comics stable. Paul takes comfort within the good-triumphs-over-evil world of superheroes, and immediately perceives the charismatic George Albert as his own personal superhero. Many superheroes possess a dark side, though, and Paul eventually discovers that this might be true of the superhero who lives next door.

The mystery at the heart of this story was deeply intriguing. Did you plan it or did it develop organically while writing?

It really evolved organically, as I needed some narrative thread that would link Paul’s recurring nightmare, which takes place in a Southern cemetery, with his mysterious neighbor and the equally perplexing vacant lot nearby. I eventually hit upon George’s semi-famous relative, who was a Civil War colonel with a mean temper and a gripping connection to the institution of slavery and the Underground Railroad.

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

I’m currently doing research for a book that will have as a backdrop the bluestone quarry industry that flourished in New York’s mid-Hudson Valley during the middle-to-late 19th Century. It’s a ghost story. At least, at this early stage, I think it’s a ghost story but one never knows for sure. Hopefully it will be available sometime next year.

Author Links: Amazon GoodReads

The Walrus: Monster in the Mist

The Walrus: Monster in the Mist by Alan J. Paul, follows the story of the curious and superhero obsessed pre-teen boy Paul A. Tonetti, Jr. Paul is clearly obsessed with superheroes from the DC comics and consistently compares them to the popular Marvel superhero brand. I was pulled in by the deft character development. Right from the beginning, and really even from the title of the book, I was intrigued with the story.

Author Alan J. Paul writes with a unique imagination and creativity, you could compare his writing to the popular late author C.S Lewis. With vivid descriptions of alluring characters, we’re able to imagine how each character looks especially with Paul’s creative metaphors and his use of superhero comparisons. He also brings in the aspect of children using their imagination to run away from their toxic family drama, using the reality vs imagination fantasy concept to great effect. You can also see how the author uses his superhero knowledge to his advantage in this book, as comic fans will appreciate the references.

It has been awhile since I have read a book like The Walrus. This is a story with great depth, but it’s laid out methodically. The ever present sense of something sinister lurking on the fringes seems to permeate the story in a way that make it hard to put this book down, and impossible to forget the pensive feelings it instills in you.

I related deeply with Paul’s mother and his aunt’s relationship, even though it does not play a big part in the book, the author does briefly touch on the sister relationship between Annette and the main character’s mother, mainly because I have such a close relationship with my own sister and believe that your sibling or siblings are the ones that are always there for you. I was a bit suspicious of George B. Albert’s character because of how Paul idolized him, making him seem a bit too perfect to be true. It sets up a riveting character study that evolves slowly throughout the story.

This is a dark urban fantasy novel that goes in unexpected directions. The Walrus: Monster in the Mist is an enthralling horror novel with a premise that utilizes superhero’s in a unique way.

Pages: 218 | ASIN: B09354L47M

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Mercy: The Devil is in the Details…

Mercy: The Devil is in the Details... by [Alan J. Paul]

Anthony’s life has never been what most would call normal. From an early age, his entire family was plagued by one tragedy after another. Anthony can’t escape what some might consider to be the family curse. When he is dared to enter a room otherwise off-limits to students at his military school, he again meets up with an old acquaintance–an entity vile in the most personally devastating ways. One after another, the demon lists his family’s shames leaving Anthony to fear what may follow. Once Anthony steps from the cursed room, will his life ever be the same? Will he look at his family in a new, more ominous light?

Mercy: The Devil is in the Details, by Alan J. Paul, follows Anthony Banna on a strange venture into the supernatural as he deals with the presence of a demon who seems hellbent on showing Anthony the error of his family’s ways. Anthony is introduced to the entity as a young boy and can’t seem to shake it. It’s almost poltergeist-like feel makes the demon all the more palpable and keeps readers on their toes.

The author has mastered the art of the backstory. Including a good bit of historical fiction/supernatural history, he has created a truly terrifying read. The notion that a possession can pass from generation to generation is as unsettling as it is fascinating. No matter where Anthony is, he faces the return of the demon–his fate seems sealed. His resolve to prepare himself and remain armed for the next encounter makes for a well-rounded character. It is interesting to watch Anthony research and gather an arsenal of information to combat what is coming his way.

The introduction of Professor Gilligan into Anthony’s life is a godsend for Anthony as well as the reader. It is through Gilligan we see how deeply disturbing the study of the occult can be. Gilligan’s own story adds a new layer to the plot and enhances Anthony’s own family tragedy all the more. There is something about a tragic character who draws strength from his adversity that draws me into a book. Both Anthony and Gilligan are these types of characters. As a team, they are unstoppable.

Readers who are interested in the religious aspect of angels and demons will find Paul’s work a fascinating supernatural read based on historical religious figures and tied neatly into an engaging fictional account of one man’s struggle to overcome his family’s mistakes. Paul’s main character is memorable and relatable and takes readers on quite the thrill ride through history and into his present day nightmare.

Pages: 213 | ASIN: B086JDH43C

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