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Anthony Hains Author Interview

Anthony Hains Author Interview

Nightshade’s Requiem follows Cole as he finds himself wrongly placed in an asylum where the ‘Creeper’ is preying on kids. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

Nightshade’s Requiem had its origins in my work as a young psychology student in the pediatric ward of a psychiatric hospital in the mid 1970s. The characters are all fictionalized, of course, but some of the images and the “feel” of my experiences made their way into the novel. I had to research what the conditions were like in psychiatric facilities during the fifties and early sixties, however. And, of course, I focused on the harrowing descriptions to make St. Edwards come alive (and to be sure, most hospitals were not like the asylum as portrayed in my book).By the mid-seventies, approaches to treatment were improving by leaps and bounds—and I observed very compassionate practitioners as a student back then).

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

My professional specialization was as a pediatric psychologist, while conducting research and teaching in a university setting. That meant that I spent a lot of time around adolescents and young adults. I enjoy the age range. In my novels, I naturally gravitate toward creating characters that fit this age. With Cole, I wanted to portray a typical twelve-year-old on the cusp of adolescence. He also needed to be intellectually curious and a thoughtful problem solver. At the same time, he needed to display emotional distress proportionate to his traumatic experiences.

I enjoyed the plot twists throughout this book. Were these planned or did they develop organically while writing?

I always go into my novels with a general story arc, meaning I have a beginning, middle, and end in mind. However, the plot frequently changes as the story progresses. The plot twists toward the end of this book were not planned. These developed organically as the story advanced. I am glad they did, too. The twists work considerably better. I guess you can say I didn’t see them coming.

This is book one in your Nightshade Chronicles. What can readers expect from book two, Sins of the Father?

Book two: Sins of the Father has just been released! The story picks up right where Nightshade’s Requiem ends. Cole learns more about his family and is trying to live a normal life. Of course, this wouldn’t be a horror novel without horrifying things happening. Cole becomes haunted by something unbelievably evil.

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Nightshade's Requiem (Nightshade Chronicles Book 1) by [Anthony Hains]

Before she died, Cole Nightshade’s grandmother taught him how to keep his demons from coming out of their hiding places and wreaking havoc. But none of Nana’s lessons have prepared him for Saint Edwards Mental Asylum, where he’s landed after a foster-care placement gone wrong. Saint Edwards has a history of abuse and death that makes itself known to Cole in alarming ways. Walls containing the spirits of prior inmates scream in agony. Young women who once ran from monsters, or from their own pain, leap to their deaths again and again.

The good news: Cole’s new friends on the pediatric ward believe him when he tells them what he sees. The bad news: they have a bigger problem than ghosts. For years, a creature known as the Creeper has been preying on kids in the asylum. Rumor has it that if you catch a glimpse of him, you die. And someone—or something—has been stalking Cole since his first night at Saint Edwards.

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Nightshade’s Requiem

Nightshade's Requiem (Nightshade Chronicles Book 1) by [Hains, Anthony]

Nightshade’s Requiem by Anthony Hains follows young Cole Nightshade after his life spirals downward when his Grandmother passes away. A short stint in foster care ends when Cole is put into Saint Edwards Mental Asylum. The mental institution is a terrible place with a dark history, and some of that dark history still lingers. Able to see ghosts, Cole fights for someone to believe him. Feeling something evil stalking him, Cole learns of a enigmatic creature known as the Creeper.

I found Nightshade’s Requiem to be a riveting psychological thriller filled with haunting descriptions of a grimy asylum. I think this is essentially a ghost story, and with any books in this genre it really comes down to the characters and the twist, of which Anthony Hains is able to setup both with a unique flair all his own.

We’re almost instantly empathizing with Cole, a young teen who is unfairly committed. One part that I like about this story is how readers get inside Cole’s head, akin to the internal dialogue of The Hunger Games. We know that he is innocent, but others have a different interpretation of him, this sets up readers to root for our character the whole time. Hains does an incredible job describing Cole’s emotions and inner thoughts. Even though she has such a small part, I was able to connect with the Grandmother, the one person who connected with Cole, believing in his supernatural abilities. While I enjoyed Cole’s character the most, all the characters have in-depth personalities, especially the other kids in the asylum.

Startling twists and unpredictable turns take this story to unforeseen places making this book a fun read from beginning to end. At times, the story reminded me of Stephen King’s, The Shining. The section where Cole speaks to Lambert, the handyman of the asylum, their conversation about seers made me think of Danny and Mr. Halloran’s talk about the shining.

I could read this story again. Nightshade’s Requiem is a book for horror fans or anyone who enjoys a good supernatural thriller. This is book one in the Nightshade Chronicles. Book two has some big shoes to fill.

Pages: 199 | ASIN: B083B5YY2T

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