I’ve started a lot of novels over the years. Some of them are about a person. Some of them are about an idea. Some of them are about a relationship. Some of them are about a place. Every novel has characters, ideas, relationships, and a setting. But one of them must rise above to become the primary “character” of the story.
For The Beast of Rose Valley, that question is answered right in the title. For all of the wonderful characters and situations that I have devised, the core element of it all is where the entire thing takes place.
Rose Valley is a tiny Texas town, not unlike the one I grew up in. There’s not much to it, but the people who live there have done so for generations. They have traditions and beliefs. There are prominent families. Prominent people. There are politics. There is folklore.
Yet, there are also strange and unexpected quirks about Rose Valley. It has a world-class biomedical research facility. It has a wildlife park that works to save endangered species. It has a sordid past of a mysterious creature that periodically appears and mutilates large swaths of the local livestock.
Rose Valley is not always front and center, but it permeates every character. Every action. Every decision. Everything has been touched by its influence, and every character is trapped within its idyllic boundaries.
My wife has read some of my manuscript and balked at some of the stuff inside, completely incredulous that any town would work that way. I’m not sure she entirely believes me when I tell her that it does indeed. I’m so excited to be able to share my fictional town with everyone, but I hope that those who grew up in my hometown — or in small towns just like it — will thoroughly enjoy learning about Rose Valley.
I grew up in a small Texas town not far from your hometown and am looking forward to see how you can bring mystery and excitement into a like small town!
When I was reading the plot overview I thought I caught a few autobiographical elements! Are you taking any inspiration from X-Files “Creature of the Week” episodes? What genre would you call your book?
It may change as it goes, but right now I would consider it Horror / Science Fiction. Embarrassingly, I never watched X-Files, so I can’t speak to how similar it is to that, but I will say that The Beast of Rose Valley is not intended to be part of a series. Just one mysterious creature here. I’d say the biggest source of material when thinking of “The Beast” is general cryptozoology.