Book Tour – The Demons of Plainville Daniel R. Mathews
Posted by authorcamilson
Title: The Demons of Plainville: A Survivor’s Story of Storms and Reconstruction
Author: Daniel R. Mathews
Publisher: Lost Legacy Press
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Format: Paperback – 292 pages / eBook / PDF
Genre: Autobiography / Memoir / LGBT / Non Fiction
Buy The Book:
Some true stories read like fiction, but for those who have to personally live through the experiences, the nightmare is vividly real. Daniel R. Mathews digs into the darkness of his past with his haunting memoir, The Demons of Plainville.
As a child, Daniel struggles to find his footing in an upside-down world. His mother is mentally ill and addicted to drugs; she performs black masses to summon demons, is physically abusive, and plays brutal mind games that make him doubt his sanity and despair of ever making sense of life or himself. Even his father beats Daniel after “rescuing” him from his mother. Thanks to a few unexpected friends, Daniel survives his devastating youth and emerges stronger for it.
But Daniel’s battles aren’t over. Finally free of his abusive parents, he now must face himself and wrestle with his sexual identity in a community that sees nothing wrong with homophobia.
Candid and compelling, this is a triumphant tale of a young man who walked through the darkness, bravely faced his demons, and against all odds carried the faint light of hope with him every step of the way.
Accusations. This is how it always begins. S Screaming follows when my answers prove inadequate. Then come the threats, and finally the misery of surrender.
I was about eight at the time, living in a small red brick apartment building in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Our apartment was on the basement floor, so there was not a good view outside, only a few small quarter windows allowing in some daylight. The building stood on a grassy hill that overlooked Myles Standish State Forest. Some days I would just curl up on the sun-warmed grass, staring down into the forest below me and imagining that I was a bird darting between the trees.
My anger grew as we went through the same cycle day after day. I stood in our tiny living room facing the yellow sofa with my mother giving me that disdainful stare that made me feel ashamed. I’d look towards the light tan carpet, afraid to make eye contact with her. The details of the accusation did not matter, as I seldom had any idea what she was talking about. Whether there was a quarter missing from her bureau or the bathroom light being left on at night, there was no end to the possibilities of accusations. Each day the school bus dropped me off at the bottom of the hill, I paused at the bus-stop to gather whatever courage I could muster. I knew that a new accusation would be awaiting me, starting the cycle anew.
“Stand up straight when I’m talking to you!” She barks at me. “And stop looking down at your feet. Where is it, what did you do with it?” she screams, finger pointed towards me.
“I don’t know,” I say defensively, shrugging my shoulders.
“You little fucking liar,” she says, standing up from the couch and slapping my face. “Now get in your room!”
I would rush into my small room in our apartment, slamming the white door shut before ripping clumps of my own short blond hair out. I hid the hair under my giant stuffed bear, which stood up to my waist in height. The bear was a gift from my maternal grandparents, ever standing ready to accept my love. I clung to the bear; its soft white and gray fur brought me comfort during times of sadness or anger.
My mother grew suspicious of the growing bald spot on the top of my head and one afternoon decided to tear the room apart. Eventually, she found the tangled lump of blond hair hidden under the bear and challenged me for answers, answers I did not have. I could not explain the anger inside me, at least not an explanation I dared speak in front of her. I had begun craving independence and the seeds of rebellion sprouted forth. She pushed me at every opportunity, accused and cursed me for anything ranging from theft to family misfortune. I just did not understand.
My only outlet was to punish myself through self-inflicted pain, just to release the frustration. My mother took an attitude of open hostility against me, one that persisted throughout my childhood.
“I’m going to send you to a mental institution!” she screamed at me, her long dirty blond hair swinging between her shoulder blades as she frantically shook her head. She wiped the sweat from her flushed brow then paused for a moment and looked down at me with great disgust waving the fist full of my hair she found at me. I clung to my stuffed bear, looking up at her.
“If you do not learn to behave, I’m going to send you to a reform school for boys.” She had hesitated for just a moment longer before her voice shifted into a menacing tone. “They just love cute little white boys at the reform school. They will take care of you real good.” Turning her back on me, she stormed out of the room, leaving me weeping into my bear’s fur while I continued to hug it with all my strength.
I’d heard of reform school before I was in second grade. However, I was left pondering the nature of how they would take care of me. Strange feelings overtook me. At first, heat surged through my body, then excitement. My heart began to beat faster, and for the first time that day I smiled. The words take care of you echoed in my mind over and over. Other boys at this reform school were going to take care of me. My mind reinterpreted her hidden threat; other boys were going to be touching me. I did not understand what this might mean, but I wanted desperately to find out. These strange longings would grow and expand in time. The seed long within me had sprouted. Yet, it did not grow for a while.
We eventually moved from the basement apartment to my grandparents’ house in the same town. The small ranch style house was nestled in small groves of pine and oak trees. There were numerous cranberry bogs in the area and a large waterfront district a few miles east of the house. Small single engine airplanes frequently flew overhead, taking off and landing at the local airport just to the north.
The yard was ideal for play, with a large back yard that sloped down into a small grove of pines and blueberry bushes. The neighbors behind the house owned a pair of horses that I visited every day. The house had three small bedrooms. My room was adjacent to the living room, just wide enough to fit my bed and a small dresser. When in the house I spent most of my time looking out the large living room bay window watching the cars and trucks drive by. Otherwise, I sat on the back deck with my grandmother. We would try to identify the particular birds visiting the feeder using a small field guide to birds. I went down the stairs and tossed a ball around with my grandfather on the lawn or helped him weed his small garden.
Because of the influence and presence of my grandparents (my mother’s parents), my problems decreased. More often than not, my mother would go off with her cousin Alice, leaving me behind. Alice’s arrival frequently corresponded with noticeable changes in my mother’s behavior. Alice was stern yet generally pleasant towards me. However, when they left together, they would return in a giggly or light-hearted mood, which would come crashing down a few hours later. I found the sudden mood shifts to be the most troubling occurrence because it added uncertainty and fear to my already besieged mind. One afternoon, though, while my grandparents were out for the day, my mother and her cousin called me into the small bedroom my mother was staying in at the end of the house.
Mother closes the curtains and shades, leaving just a shaft of sunlight entering the room. She held a large red case, almost like a toolbox of some sort. She opened the case and took out some items, including candles, a bell, incense, goblet, matches, and a book. The book was entitled The Satanic Bible. She placed the black and red candles around in a pattern that she refers to as a pentagram with a circle around it. She ordered me into the imaginary circle and told me to remain silent and not leave the center of the circle for any reason,” or else.”
She and Alice joined me in the circle while they lit a burner and then some incense. The snaking trail of smoke climbed towards the ceiling. The ritual was both exciting and frightening. She picked up the book and looked over at me, smiling. She told me that she would pray to Satan and summon demons, but the demons were not allowed to enter the circle. As long as I remained calm, I would be protected.
She began the mass by ringing the bells; she used the book to speak words I’d never heard before. The ringing echoed faintly in the room, combining with the sweet smell of the incense. I felt almost dizzy, overcome by a giddy feeling of excitement.
She proceeded to cut herself with a silver knife with an ornate looking pearl handle, just enough to draw a steady trickle of blood from her finger, allowing it to flow into a tarnished bronze colored chalice. Alice took the knife and sliced her own finger, allowing drops of blood to fall into the chalice. My mother held the chalice upwards as an offering and mumbled a few words.
After placing it back on the ground, she took a long slender writing instrument and dipped it into the blood. The blood served as the ink, allowing her to write on a small blank piece of white paper. I couldn’t see the writing, but she told me it was an offering for our luck and fortune. She ripped the paper into small pieces and set it ablaze. The mass finished with a final ringing of the bells, driving away the demons.
I couldn’t see these creatures, but the air was laden with smoke and darkness. I was sure the demons were there.
About The Author
For the past two decades, Mathews has worked as a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified ground instructor, meteorologist, and a member of the web development and Internet technical support community. He currently lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Connect with Daniel R. Mathews:
Daniel. Thanks for being my guest today. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Daniel Mathews and I live in Flagstaff, Arizona. I’m a professional dreamer and certified technician of insanity. Well, the insanity part is more of a hobby really. I’m a writer that has published a memoir titled ‘The Demons of Plainville’ and I am currently working on several novels in various stages of production. I write primarily in the genres of horror and science-fiction. However, I’m also a part-time Meteorologist, which represents both gainful employment and something of a life-long obsession.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I would say the sweet, alluring smell of bacon but alas, nobody has invented self-cooking bacon. So, I settle for the fact that my day requires some level of writing or marketing, along with my Meteorology job.
Although I say that I’m a writer, I really see myself more as a storyteller. And with each new day, I’m presented with a new opportunity to prepare, plot or dream up stories to share with people. More than anything else, that is the one thing that induces me to face a new day.
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
That’s a tough question since the fanboy in me struggles with a few possibilities. I admire storytellers and would value spending a day picking their brains and hopefully learning some tricks of the trade. However, there is one person that perhaps more than most, influenced my childhood love of the horror genre, and my desire to share similar stories with the public. And that would be Director John Carpenter. While I have absolutely no film-making training or experience, John Carpenter just fascinates me both as a movie fan and as someone who wants to tell the world stories. I believe there is a great deal of symmetry between movie directors, authors and game developers and so there is something to be learned from any of these professions when it comes to the art of crafting compelling stories.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
My current book ‘The Demons of Plainville’ is a memoir that nearly didn’t happen. My personal backstory was one I seldom ever shared with anyone, except for the closest of friends. Even then, nobody really knew the full extent of the bizarre events that constituted my childhood. The little bit that I shared had always prompted some degree of “Wow, you should make that a book!”
However, I was too ashamed of my own past. I questioned everything from my sanity to my masculinity. I called the memoir ‘The Demons of Plainville’ because I had to fight the demons of fear, regret, sorrow and anger to survive my childhood. Then, I needed to fight them again to write the memoir.
I had the book professionally edited and had a few people read it. Even though the response was quite positive, it sat on a shelf for years. Every time I thought about publishing it, my courage faltered and I let my demons get the better of me.
As it happens, I had been preparing to publish my first horror novel but was having issues with scheduling my editor. I ended up with a large gap in my planned publishing schedule and had just made a significant change in my life. I decided to use that as an opportunity to polish the memoir and finally publish it.
Tell us your writing process.
Writing the memoir was a little different than how I handle genre fiction, but the general idea is the same. I usually come up with a broad premise for a story and then begin envisioning some major scenes that I play out in my mind like a movie. I then begin plotting out the book in outline format, including the key scenes and developing my main characters.
Now for the memoir, I needed to recollect the key events in my life that would resonate with readers or would otherwise help them understand how my life evolved over time. In reality, that isn’t too different than handling a fictional character. The character is given flaws and obstacles and then evolve over time as they attempt to overcome those challenges presented during the story. The only difference here, of course, is that character was me, and the childhood obstacles were quite real.
What tips can you give other authors who are looking to get the word out about their book?
Marketing a book is a long-term battle of attrition. There is no magic bullet or technique that will place your book in front of relevant readers at an efficient price. Your best strategy is to keep writing books and improving your craft. This will allow you create a library of works that are always available, and can be marketed at an increasingly efficient price point.
Once you start getting some strong reviews on your books, you can leverage some of these major e-Book newsletters and advertise periodic sales which will help develop a readership that will hopefully endure as you continue to write new content. At least that’s the strategy that I’m pursuing, and it requires a multi-year commitment.
Even if your fortunate enough to have a publisher with a marketing budget that can outreach to bookstores, as an author you need to be reaching out to the public. Blogging and using services like Bublish (www.bublish.com) that allow you to comment on your own book excerpts, using your existing social media platform to distribute the links. You need to take every opportunity to showcase your talents. Words are your greatest weapon and asset, so use them well.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Around age twelve I had begun writing my own little newspaper to share with my classmates. At first, it was an excuse to share my weather forecasts with them, but eventually that morphed into something more substantive. I had developed a love affair with the written word, and began writing about news stories and upcoming movies in my own words. This little hobby began as a typed, one-page carbon-copied newsletter that gradually grew to several pages in length that I typed every morning. But, I didn’t see myself as a “writer” at that point, it was something I just enjoyed doing and made a little money on the side. It would be some years before the little stories and roleplay scripts I developed for friends would become a serious endeavor.
One day my grandfather, sensing I was unhappy with my Internet career at the time had taken me aside and asked why I wasn’t writing books. Honestly, while telling stories was always in the back of my mind, actually writing a novel was not something I had the courage to attempt. It wouldn’t be until after his death that I decided to test his notion that I had been “born to write.”
Tell us about your main character.
Well, this is awkward. You’re interviewing him already! This memoir focuses on my childhood between the ages of ten and twenty-one. I focused on these years because it best shows the evolution of my adolescent mindset and candidly reveals my struggle against abuse and homophobia. Perhaps more importantly, it highlights the few special people in my life who helped preserve my sanity and handed me the tools needed to build a more positive self-identity and ultimately break free.
One of the things I tried to accomplish in writing this memoir was to share my actual thoughts and reactions as a child at the time. As opposed to recollecting the events and commenting on them as an adult. So in many ways, I treat myself as a fictional character growing up and “stay in character” while only periodically adding commentary as an adult.
I want the reader to understand what was going on in my mind, and the mechanisms I used to cope and endure. And, of course, how these mechanisms would later sabotage my efforts as I entered college.
What are you working on next?
My debut horror novel ‘The Unseen Kingdom’ is currently in post-production. This is an LGBT Young-Adult, Lovecraftian style story which focuses on teenager Tommy Wilson and his close-knit group of friends in a small New England town. Just days before Halloween, Tommy discovers a dream portal to another dimension, the fabled city of R’lyeh. The city is inhabited by children that refer to themselves as The Unseen, who appear to be victims of a cult operating in the town. As a malaise begins gripping the inhabitants of the town, R’lyeh’s mysterious master beckons the children forward, to unlock the mystery of ‘The Unseen Kingdom’ before it’s too late. Look for this novel to be available for sale by early September.
Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I feel like this is an opportunity to shout out, “I’m Batman!” but that’s probably not the response you’re looking for. Although I’m rather out of practice, I am a student pilot and have logged time in everything from a Cessna-152 to a Super King Air. I have about thirty hours logged and am also a Certified FAA Ground Instructor. For several years, I taught aviation ground schools, a job that I confess I miss very much. I was also an Aviation Safety Counselor, I ran an Internet Service Provider for many years and am a few credits short of obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree in Geology. The later I hope to complete someday. I guess you could say I’m a jack-of-all-trades, but master of none. Although, I do believe this benefits my writing.
Who are your favorite authors?
J.K. Rowling, I think got me inspired to try and elevate my own writing because her world-building and characters are amazing. Stephen King was my inspiration growing up, along with H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe. My grandfather was a bookbinder by trade, so I grew up with the classics and have an enduring love for Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. During my teen years, I followed Tom Clancy very closely and this is probably why I enjoy cross-genre writing.
What do you like to do with your free time?
I’m a PC Gamer and enjoy games like World of Warcraft, Skyrim and am looking forward to Fallout 4. When I’m not doing that, I’m usually just surfing the internet or watching a movie.
Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
I’m currently revising a fantasy novel tentatively titled “The Druidic Chronicles”. This coming-of-age adventure novel focuses on a young druid and his eclectic group of friends that are struggling against a series of mysterious attacks on their land. I’m hoping to have this available during the first quarter of 2016 and will be the first in a series. I will be releasing more information on this before Halloween.
My next project is a science-fiction novel that detail the exploits of a group of military school cadets who are unexpectedly put to the test when their city comes under attack by what appears to be a supernatural force. I’m hoping to turn this into a series and is something of an obsession of mine. I’ll be releasing more information on this project later this fall. This is very much an LGBT-themed book to show gay teens that they can be heroes too though truthfully most of my writing is geared toward accomplishing that goal.
Any final thoughts?
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for this interview and hope that your readers who have an opportunity to become a positive force in the life of an abused or bullied child will accept that role and make a difference.
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Posted on July 22, 2015, in Guest Authors and tagged @DanielRMathews, author interview, book promotion tips, Daniel R. Mathews, Pump Up Your Book, PUYB, The Demons of Plainville, The Unseen Kingdom, virtual book tour. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.