In the remote, eastern European town of Borslav there is St. Sebastian orphanage, a place where people discard their unwanted children. For the American, Blaire Baker, it’s the perfect place to volunteer her services. Paired with a cheerful volunteer nurse, Blaire is enthusiastic about the possibilities, but is quickly discouraged when she encounters the nefarious nature of the staff and the deplorable conditions of the facility and the children.
Upon arrival, one of the children informs Blaire, “There’s something in the basement.” It isn’t long before strange things begin happening, including Blaire’s flashbacks of the accident that killed her parents. The children soon suffer injuries that Blaire, first, fears may be the deeds of the callous workers but she soon thinks the abuse may originate from a source that is less than human, something unwanted.
The unwanted is coming but in order for Blaire to fight it, she must dig into St. Sebastian and herself in search of truth. Blaire wants nothing more than to help the children, but when discovers the tragedy that happened in the basement and learns that the same evil forces are still at work, it will be Blaire who needs help…There’s something in the basement.
- If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
This is a tough question, but I think that I would have to go with Stephen King. Not only is he a vault of the some of the most creepy thoughts and ideas that I have ever come across, he is a master storyteller and a wizard with words and I respect his relationship with his craft tremendously.
- What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
First things first, COFFEE, unless I am in one of those completely delusional states of mind in which some random article has convinced me that caffeine is bad for me and I cut it out of my diet. Usually, thank goodness, these delusions only last approximately 2-3 hellish days at even given point in time. Next, I work out, this part of my morning routine is mostly fiction, but I keep hoping that the more I pretend, the more likely it is to happen in real life, not working too well thus far, but I keep trying. Last, I get a second cup of COFFEE and get comfortable in my office where I write for 2-3 hours (with short Facebook breaks in between, of course). For the most part, I write in the mornings as once late afternoon hits, my mind tends to get a bit mushy. My writing takes place mostly in my home office, complete with comfy teal chair and fluffy white blanket.
- What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
The editing. Writing the book, getting your ideas down on paper (beginning, middle and end) is the easy part; that is the time that I am at my computer clicking away like a mad woman. The editing is where I find, I have to bring the real work and concentration, thinking through deep plot and character flaws and finding the discipline to return to the computer, day after day and week after week in order to get it right. For me, the editing is the most difficult by far, but at the same time the most rewarding as this is the phase in which your story blossoms.
- When and why did you first start writing?
I have been writing all of my life, but I only got serious about it approximately six years ago. The fact is that I always wanted to be a writer, but in my younger years, lacked the true passion and discipline to bring that dream to fruition. Six years ago, I woke up one day and decided that it was time.
- How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Soon after completing Black Water Tales: The Secret Keepers I found myself watching an inordinate amount of documentaries and I came across one on orphanages in other countries and what I learned was frightening. I don’t much care for jump scare horror, I prefer horror that chills one to the core that makes you question, not what’s in the closet but what’s in the mirror. This documentary on the deplorable conditions of the facilities and the failing health of the children haunted me, how could things like this still be happening all around us? And while I was intrigued, I was not yet fully inspired to write the book, writing the book still hadn’t occurred to me. It wasn’t until one evening after watching this documentary when I woke in the middle of the night and there they were, those children who were severely malnourished and abused among other things were all standing by my bedside looking down on me. When I woke the next morning, I knew that I had to tell their story.
- Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I read quite a bit, though not as much as I would like. I just started the Southern Gothic novel, The Devil In Canaan Parish by Jackie Shemwell, excellent read so far.
- Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Jean Nicole Rivers
@jeannicole19 (Instagram and Twitter)