First off, I’d like to thank A.O. Chika for having me on the blog today. Such an honor to be here to chat about my third young adult novel, The Night Screams, which will be published through Harmony Ink Press on January 28th. I wrote the book back in 2014, when this strong image came to me of teenager running through the woods, naked, fleeing some unknown villain. Sometimes when I start out with an idea like this, I get this sensation of just knowing and understanding a character. That’s how I felt about the main character in this particular project, Cal, a sixteen-year-old boy who, after experiencing severe traumatic violence at the hands of a sadistic man, finds he can’t speak.
After Cal escapes this horrible man, he’s stealing food from a convenience store when he encounters the store clerk, Jake. He and Jake end up in a fist fight that knocks Cal unconscious. When Cal wakes up, he’s in Jake’s uncle’s home. That’s when they discover, through helping him write out his experiences, that he needs immediate medical attention. After they get him help, the family takes him. But Jake is very guarded. He doesn’t like the new addition to their home, and it takes him some time to warm up to the stranger. And gradually, he and Cal come to realize they need each other to find the strength to survive some very difficult times.
The novel is about coping and moving forward when the world keeps throwing problems at you.[Tweet “The novel is about coping and moving forward when the world keeps throwing problems at you”] How do we rebuild our lives when it feels like we’re just being bombarded with one thing after another after another without any breaks in between? So often, this is how we experience the world. Not as one bad thing happening and then recovering from it, but just as this period of repeated abuse where it feels like there must be some wicked deity piling things on top of us. But through it all, we have to find a way to keep going and build relationships with those around us. That’s the real story of Cal and Jake—their perseverance with each other and how these tragedies cause them to grow together and see each other for who they really are.
At the time when I was writing this novel, I was experiencing this sort of turbulence in my own life, and I think that’s one of the reasons the novel went in that direction. If it wasn’t one fire that needed to be put out, then it was another. And when you just keep getting beat up like a twig being tossed around a raging river, it feels like you’re never going to come out of the other side, but you do. At some point, you find the water calms, and you can catch a breath. And if you’re lucky, during all this turbulence, you can find some wonderful people to help you through it.
Thanks for reading. And thanks again, A.O. Chika, for having me on the blog today. I really appreciate it! [No problem 🙂 ]
The Night Screams
After Cal escapes a deranged kidnapper who tortured him, he doesn’t even have the clothes on his back. Desperate and afraid, he breaks into a convenience store. But Jake, a clerk at the store, confronts what to him is little more than a petty thief. After a violent tussle, he knocks Cal out.
Jake encourages his Uncle Gary, the owner of the store, to report Cal to the police, but Gary can’t bring himself to report a kid who was just looking to steal food. When Cal wakes, Gary asks him if he’s okay. But Cal’s trauma has left him mute. Instead, he has to write his experiences down, relaying the horrifying events that led him to the store. The police track down the sick man who held Cal captive, and when he confronts them with a gun, he’s shot dead. However, Cal discovers that even with his captor gone, he is far from free of the nightmare he endured.
Gary and his wife welcome Cal into their home, determined to help him heal. Jake doesn’t trust Cal, and he isn’t afraid to say so. But buried beneath Jake’s disapproval might be the person who can help Cal recover from the terrifying experience that continues to haunt him.
About Devon McCormack:
Devon McCormack spends most of his time hiding in his lair, adventuring in paranormal worlds with his island of misfit characters. A good ole Southern boy, McCormack grew up in the Georgian suburbs with his two younger brothers and an older sister. At a very young age, he spun tales the old fashioned way, lying to anyone and everyone he encountered. He claimed he was an orphan. He claimed to be a king from another planet. He claimed to have supernatural powers. He has since harnessed this penchant for tall tales by crafting whole worlds where he can live out whatever fantasy he chooses.
A gay man himself, McCormack focuses on gay male characters, adding to the immense body of literature that chooses to represent and advocate gay men’s presence in media. His body of work ranges from erotica to young adult, so readers should check the synopses of his books before purchasing so that they know what they’re getting into.