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Nightmares Were Inspired

Jesse Rosenbaum
Jesse Rosenbaum Author Interview

The Condemned follows a college kid who starts to have horrific dreams and discovers a chilling new underworld. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I started writing this story when I was in college in 2000, so the main character was inspired by myself at that age as well as my experiences at that time with regards to the college experience, social interactions, etc. The dreams and the landscapes that they take place in, were inspired by books like Dante’s, Inferno and Richard Matheson’s, What Dreams May Come, but also from some of my own nightmares. For example, the jungle and city environment nightmares were inspired by dreams I had in similar locations. My goal, when I started writing this, was to mix the current environment that I found myself in everyday as a college student and then delve deep into some of the more dark, horrific places that my imagination would take me.

Michael is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

When I started writing Michael as a character, I tried to channel some of my own personality into Michael. At that point in my life, I was dealing with a fair amount of stress. A friend of mine named Walter had recently crashed his car and died, all my close friends had moved away, I broke up with my high school girlfriend, and my parents were getting a divorce. I was in a very emotional and lonely place with an uncertainty weighing down on me. I tried to channel that emotion into Michael as a character as he goes through the story and reacts to the events unfolding around him. My hope is that many readers will see a bit of themselves in Michael and feel his humanity, love and struggle as he responds to the world around him.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I really wanted to tap into themes like the bonds of friendship, emotions like fear, isolation, as well as loss with regards to losing people close to you as well as your own self, but also examine strength. Specifically, how someone deals with finding their own strength in challenging situations. I also wanted to explore vampires, but in a unique way while trying to tie to some more common mythology. That desire to do so comes from my love of the horror genre as well as vampires. I do believe that I found a unique way of approaching that, which readers have told me is refreshing to see.

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

I actually have several projects in the works right now. There is a podcast episode that I wrote for The Bane podcast, which is the premium content podcast for The Grey Rooms podcast, and that story should be coming out toward the end of this year or the beginning of 2022. I don’t really have any insight into the release date yet, but once I know, I will be announcing it. As for my next book, I am in the process of finishing a short story anthology, which at current will contain eleven or twelve stories. I have two publishers interested in that anthology and I have to review the final details before deciding on which publisher to work with, but based on my discussions, it would be due out during the spring or summer of 2022. After that I will continue work on my next full novel, which is a horror story about a group of amateur paranormal investigators who get in way over their heads in Texas. I have already written three chapters of that and have done extensive research. I also have some ideas for more podcast episodes that I will submit to some shows that I really like.

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I keep having these dreams. At first, I figured it was stress, being that it’s my last semester in college, but they just keep happening. The places I find myself…the things I see are just horrific. I see all these people, many of which are crying out, screaming in agony. The others that I see are dead, displayed or lying in gruesome and grotesque ways that make my stomach turn. There is this overwhelming sense of despair that just weighs down on me. The hopelessness that I feel from these tortured people is thick in the air and clings to my body.

In every dream, I see this…figure. I’m drawn to it by some unknown desire, but regardless of how close I try and get, I can’t make out what it looks like. It’s wrapped in shadows, hidden from the light. And each time I see it, my mind screams to run, but despite my best efforts, I can’t. I stand there frozen with fear, surrounded by all this anguish, torture, and death, but this figure’s voice cuts through all the misery. Its voice is clear and surprisingly soothing as it says to me, “I will become of your world.” With each dream, I feel this figure pull me closer. It needs me for something, but what? Why does it keep showing me these things?

The Condemned

The Condemned by [Jesse Rosenbaum]

The Condemned starts with Michael, our main character, who is living a normal life finishing up college, with student debts piled up to his neck. Michael is a very relatable character. But suddenly, he starts having dreams where he finds himself in a variety of places. Everyone’s dream is different. Sometimes you are in a magical land, sometimes it is all rainbows and sunshine. Alas, that is not Michael’s luck. He has visions of places where demons and death crawl the land. Where it is blood and limbs, and everyone who is eternally damned.

One of my favorite things about this book were these vivid and imaginative dreams. They were highly creative and sprinkled with gory details. With every scene I felt the need to read more! Was I terrified? No. But I chalk that up to my immunity to such reads. I believe most readers would feel the horror and the thrill of such scenes at a higher level.

The plot flowed smoothly and not only did we see Michael’s daily life, we saw the effects these dreams had on him and his life. I loved Orrix’s character. The first spawn of Lucifer, and the creator of other vampires. I liked the unique take on the myth of Lucifer and Orrix, and how they were connected was intriguing. Especially the uproar that hell is going through. While I enjoyed this book I felt that there were some instances where Orrix was talking or telling his story and it felt like we were given a lot of information all at once.

There were moments where great tension was being built up, giving depth to the scenes, and then the story takes a light hearted twist that moves the plot forward and gives this a more young adult feel. The Condemned is a riveting supernatural thriller that is highly imaginative and keeps readers engaged throughout this uniquely spooky novel.

Pages: 182 | ASIN: B0971QQD9Q

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