The White Hand is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a macabre thriller and romance as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
The cross-genre aspect of The White Hand was always been known from the beginning of the project. Since the novel is part of the Rutherford Manor universe, there were some things that I could not change. The White Hand was the first time I have adopted pre-existing characters and a pre-existing world. Thankfully, I was also giving a lot of freedom to develop a unique plot and create characters that would best fit within the world and complement the existing elements.
Rutherford Manor has always crossed between historical, horror, and thriller. The romance side of the novel was not known initially. The protagonist, Spalding, is a character with a lot of complications. He means well, but also has a darker side to him. This makes him human. During the early phases of defining the premise and chapter outlines, I wanted to give him an internal struggle. He needed to develop throughout the story and be relatable. This is why Irene was created. She basically is the one person he is unable to get out of his head.
The emotions that Spalding feels for Irene creates a interesting dynamic for the novel because she is the daughter of the boss of The White Hand. Not often do I write romance sub plots in my work. It was a lot of fun to explore these emotions. As with the majority of people, we all experience love in our lives. This was one of the few times I have been able to tap into the intense feelings that people go through. It was a long of fun and added to the uniqueness of this storyline in my writing career.
How did you create Alastor and Spalding’s characters in a way that contrasted yet still supported the characters development?
Alastor and Spalding were pre-existing characters in the Rutherford Manor universe. There was some back story already developed for both of them. Alastor had less to work with and Spalding, which gave me an open canvas to decide what strong and weak character traits he would have. Naturally I turned to his two sons, Walter and Nox for inspiration. Alastor also had to provide a interesting wokring dynamic for Spalding.
Spalding is a complicated character. He is well defined within the Rutherford Manor universe and gets himself into a lot of trouble. The challenge with him was to do him justice in the written word when he’s had so much developed already. His internal monologue was a lot of fun to dive into because of his complex desires.
What was your inspiration for the setup of the story and how did that help you create the ending?
The premise for the story was open-ended when I was first thing contact with the Rutherford Manor creator, Preston Ewasiuk, and his wife Karla. Unlike previous novels that I’ve worked on, this was not just my own story to tell, but the story for everyone involved within Rutherford Manor.
I approach this novel as I would with graphic design projects. I found the creative process when designing logos, or other branding material, is incredibly transferable. Basically you start with high-level concepts and then work your way inward to the finer details. In regards to telling a story, this meant coming up with a couple of premise ideas, refining one, then forming the story outline and tweak, then chapter outlines, and finally the first draft and tweak.
There was preexisting canon in the Rutherford Manor universe. Knowing about what was core to the world made defining a story that would fit within the timelines a real challenge and glad I was able to participate in such a project.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
Currently I am working on wrapping up my dark fantasy series, Mental Damnation. It is long overdue. I also have an untitled slasher novel currently in the beta reader phase. There is also discussion about a sequel to The White Hand. So, there’s lots in the works with no definitive release dates as of yet. Readers can find out more on my website http://www.konnlavery.com or on social media where I post regular updates on what is going on with my writing progress.
Based on the award-winning Haunted House and forthcoming television series, The White Hand brings you into a historical thriller combining mobsters, forbidden love, old souls, murder, and betrayal.Rutherford Manor – a safe haven for some. For others, a home that holds many sinister secrets. Run by the Fleshers and the Savidges, these two families have survived for generations leading up to the present day of 1890. Headmaster Alastor Flesher and his business partner, Spalding Savidge, find themselves in desperate times to provide for their families.Their needs wrap them into a deal with the Irish mob – The White Hand. The two men willingly work with the gang as resurrectionists, obtaining bodies for anatomists. Alastor and Spalding develop a unique process, gaining access to the most well-preserved bodies. Their product becomes desirable throughout the black market in Illinois.Despite the handsome pay, Spalding is left in disarray. Alastor’s desperation for income runs deeper than he ever knew. His moral compass is shattered due to their snatching methods. Spalding plays with fire, developing something known as love for Irene, the daughter of The White Hand’s boss. With a dash of foul play and new allies, Spalding becomes the glue that holds Rutherford Manor together, and he is coming unbound.Join the Fleshers and the Savidges as they plummet into an era-altering series of events that will change Rutherford Manor forever.
The White Hand (a Rutherford Manor novel) by Konn Lavery is a dark historical thriller set in 1890 outside of Chicago, Illinois. The Fleshers and the Savidges live at Rutherford Manor, a house filled with outcasts with a dark past. To provide for their family, Alastor Flesher and Spalding Savidge make a deal with the Irish Mob (The White Hand). They work as resurrectionists, obtaining bodies for anatomists. Alastor and Spalding have a unique process to get the dead bodies, by helping death along, which makes their ‘product’ more desirable. Their position is always precarious due to their methods of body-snatching, but things spiral out of control after Alaster is found dead and the residents of Rutherford Manor suspect he was murdered. Was he killed by The White Hand? Or did someone seek revenge against Alastor for his dark deeds?
I liked the author’s writing style, and the story was filled with intrigue that kept my interest. Even as I was reading about the dark actions of the main characters, I wanted to know what happened to them next. But I had trouble connecting to the characters because the book did not show the struggles the Fleshers and Savidges went through that led them to such desperate acts. Their actions didn’t feel justified. I wanted to know why they didn’t have any other option but to kill, and that compelling motivation was missing.
I liked that several chapters in the book started with philosophical inner narratives that gave additional insight into the minds of the characters. The book was told from the Fleshers and Spalding’s point of view, but they acted more as villains in the story than someone I wanted to root for. While plotting murder, Alastor and his son, Nox, questioned why God let bad things happen to their family. It was a stark juxtaposition seeing them willfully and remorselessly causing bad things to happen to others, yet believing that they themselves were not deserving of the bad things that happened to them.
The demon aspect at the end of the story was surprising and supported the otherwise mild supernatural elements in other parts of the story.
I enjoyed the art that was sprinkled throughout the book. The black and white illustrations by Yugen were able to capture the feel of the novel and gave the overall story some depth. I liked having the visual of what the characters looked like and an image of the scroll that Nox found in his father’s study.
Although the ending of the book left me with as many questions as answers because the story of Spalding and the Fleshers is not finished, I would love to read the next book in the series to learn more. Horror, history, mystery, intrigue… the list goes on. The White Hand is an intriguing page turner.
Pages: 207 | ASIN: B07RGH1KV1
YEGman is a thrilling crime novel taking place in the underworld of Edmonton, Canada. Why did you want to set your story in this location?
I had several reasons why I wanted to have the story take place in Edmonton. I prefer to write Canada-based stories and I’ve spent a lot more time in western Canada than I have out east, so can craft stories in these locations easier. A second reason is the name YEGman itself. YEG is the airport code and a common hashtag for the city. It is easier to say than – for example – YYCman for Calgary.
I also have grown up in Edmonton and have seen the city change over the decades. It is a pretty (no offence Edmonton!) bland city when it comes to major issues. So it is a good thing. That raises the question, how can you make a tame city feral and gritty? This was an interesting challenge to me.
This story takes a uniquely gritty look at the Edmonton crime scene. What were some ideas you wanted to capture when developing this underworld?
For YEGman’s version of Edmonton, I wanted to paint a crime-infested city that has some similarities seen in superhero comics. Daredevil/Hell’s Kitchen and Batman/Gotham are examples. A city that is in dire need of help. It becomes a motivator for someone to become a vigilante when they feel the city isn’t making any progress.
The details of the drugs and music scene I wanted to make real by showing there are good people that get caught up in these dark worlds of gangs and violence. Either they feel trapped or do not know any better to get out and just try to keep their friends safe.
Where did the idea for YEGman come from and what were some book titles you considered?
YEGman actually was birthed from the album that accompanies the launch – Sounds of Society. Both YEGman and the album tell a story of someone who can’t handle the constraints of society and go off the deep end. They also share similar content in the lyrics. Originally I was working on this album in 2012.
The plot and character of YEGman came to me in the summer of 2015 when I was at a book signing in a comic store. It was a quiet period and was daydreaming about super heroes because of the increase in popularity due to the Marvel movies, DC movies, comic expos and I was in a comic store at the time. Personally I am not a huge comic book far so I asked myself – what type of superhero story would someone who doesn’t like superheroes read?
From there I drafted out the concept of the superhero YEGman. Quite quickly I decided against super powers and made him very earth-bound. This helped map out the ending as well. If he was just an average person, and didn’t have any tech toys, money or ninja training, he’s going to have a pretty difficult time being a crime fighter. After writing out the outline for the ending I reverse engineered the story – a process I do not normally do with writing.
In November of 2015 I wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo but shelved the concept because my horror novel, Seed Me, wasn’t fully edited yet. That took a higher priority and I didn’t revisit YEGman until 2017 after doing some heavy research into police procedures and psychology. These two points of study helped craft the inner thoughts of Michael.
So overall, comic books were the inspiration and I looked at comics such as the Punisher, Sin City, The Watchmen, and Hellboy to name some.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I really need to wrap up the dark fantasy series Mental Damnation. Book three is coming out in the fall of 2018 and the fourth is in the works. I also am working on a slasher novella but it is in the early plot outline stage.
In the darkest streets of Edmonton, crime is around every corner. The police have exhausted their resources. Citizens are in a constant state of fear. The city is in dire need of justice. Someone needs to give the felons what they deserve – skip the courts and deliver their verdict with a fist full of fury!
At least that is what Michael Bradford tells himself. He struggles with violent tendencies while personally investigating the Crystal Moths, Edmonton’s most notorious gang. His vigilante methods get caught on film and are uploaded to the web with the hashtag YEGman. These videos catch the attention of a rebellious journalism student whose aspires to cover the developing story on the city’s underground hero.
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YEGman by Konn Lavery is a dark thrilling romp through the back allies and underworld of Edmonton, Canada. Michael Bradford, our hero, is a vigilante, who struggles with violence. His issues aren’t going to get better as he investigates the most notorious gang in Edmonton, the Crystal moths. His methods are caught on film and uploaded online to become viral sensations and are labeled with the hashtag, YEGman. The videos fascinate a rebellious journalist, who wishes to cover the story of this mysterious hero.
This novel is an unexpectedly gritty trip through the Canadian crime scene that I don’t find too often in literature. Most of what comes to mind may be cozy mysteries, not ultra-violent vigilantes dealing with criminals. The novel takes a fun turn with the involvement of the student, Lola and how she gives a better and deeper inside look of the gang culture. In some ways, the trope is rather familiar with an attractive journalist in training along with the brooding vigilante in Bradford. It kind of brings to mind a mix of Batman, Spiderman, and Lois Lane. It’s an affirmation of Lavery’s skill to synthesize all of this together to make a novel that engages the reader and doesn’t let up until the end.
Lavery’s style leans on description, which helps to develop the world of this noir thriller, but I felt that the characters sometimes overly explain things. The prose is decent and kept me involved, but the pacing sometimes slows because of the over explanation which left me often wandering from the story. With an action packed story like this, putting the brakes on to go into detailed explanations lowers the tension on an otherwise exciting story.
This novel is plenty gritty, with a dark narrative and the definite feel that danger lurks within every shadow. With a consistently murky tone and treacherous atmosphere to the novel I was able to sink my teeth into the dark underworld set in an alternative Edmonton. For Canadian readers and noir thriller aficionados alike this novel would be a fun read, even people who enjoy a little bit of mystery and can tolerate the violence, this is recommended reading. Overall, an exciting addition to Lavery’s body of work.
Pages: 461 | ASIN: B07B3N5S92
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Seed Me follows Logan as he tries to navigate a murder, avoid a deadly cult and try to figure out who the girl was he made out with behind the dumpster. This is a unique setup to a novel. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this story?
The concept had evolved over time through various plots while keeping the same underlining theme of cults, a dead girl and carnivorous plants. The protagonist and scenarios changed from the original concept back in 2011. In a way, Seed Me is a prequel to the original manuscript. So there may be another book in the works in the future.
A lot of the inspiration that helped create Seed Me came from my own discomforts. For example, I had bed bugs back in 2011. They were hard to kill, only fed on human blood and spread like wildfire. I found it intriguing that a creature so small could cause something so large (being me) so much grief. This sparked my research into symbiotic relationships within nature. You see this style of monsters in the horror genre all the time. Some notable ones being John Carpenter’s The Thing or Ridley Scott’s Alien. This research is where a lot of the time was invested for the novel. I wanted to create a new kind of monster for the story l I was writing. Plants often get a bad wrap in the horror genre because they are difficult to make frightening, so I decided to challenge this.
As for the cult, religious groups are a huge interest of mine – you can see this in my Mental Damnation series as well. People have done some wild things in the name of their faith. It is a strong motivator.
I enjoyed the characters in this story because they were slow to build but had depth. What was your writing plan when creating these characters?
The characters within Seed Me are pulled from my own experiences of living in Edmonton. A lot of them being mashups of numerous personalities of people I know to create their unique persona. My Mental Damnation series has a lot of characters that serve a single function in the story. With Seed Me I wanted to strip away as many characters as possible and really see how deep I could go with their personas.
An example of that would be Janet’s passion for renewable energy and her father’s work in the oil industry. This brief backstory reveals conflict within her personal life, explaining some of her choices in the story.
There is a mysterious group of people called Harvesters that may or may not be behind the murders in town. How did you set about creating this group and did you accomplish everything you wanted?
The Harvesters went through MANY revamps. Much like the plants in the story, I researched to help define who the Harvesters were. Originally they were a group from eastern Asia, since these cultures have a vast history of working with plants and using them as medicine. However, after reading about the history of Edmonton and Alberta, I learned that many of the first settlers were from Europe. Settlers from Asia came to Alberta much later. With this new knowledge I had to restructure the Harvesters’ origins. Ultimately it worked better than the original concept: druids are well known in pop culture for having strong ties to nature which supported the plants.
I would say that the Harvesters accomplished what I wanted. The reader is given enough information to know what their goals are and where they are from, while how they came to be and their inner workings remains mysterious. There’s a lot more that could be told about them, perhaps this will be revealed in a sequel.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will that be available?
Currently I am working on the Mental Damnation series again. The story hasn’t been completed and I would love to give a conclusion for the readers. I have a lot more to share regarding this in the coming months. Keep watch for early 2017 for this next novel.
One thing I’d also like to add is that Seed Me’s release was accompanied by a musical score. Some of the tracks were written by me and others by local musicians in Edmonton who based their songs on various chapters found within the novel. The 10 track album encompasses the whole story of Seed Me through dark ambient music.
You can stream the album for free on Bandcamp
If you’re reading this, then you did not take the above warning seriously. In that case, you’re probably as stupid as me. I’m Logan, by the way. I didn’t pay attention to any warning signs either. Being an unemployed deadbeat in Edmonton with no family and getting dumped by your girlfriend for her best friend can wear a guy down. All I had was my cokehead buddy, Skip, to cheer me up.
Surprisingly, my precautionary tale was not caused by either Skip or the drugs. Let’s just say a drunken make-out session with a pale girl by a dumpster, who was supposedly pronounced dead earlier in the evening, can leave you mentally jumbled up. A good motivator to figure this scenario out is having robed cultists stalk you, asking where the girl is.
Is this an ill twist of fate? Did I bring this on myself? Is there a reason behind my misfortune? Is the moral to not make out with spooky girls behind dumpsters? Hell if I know…
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