Friday 14 June 2024

Book Spotlight: The Dark Between the Twilight

 Today I have a spotlight on the collection of memoir and speculative poems, The Dark Between the Twilight by Jamal Hodge. Enjoy.

The Dark Between the Twilight

The Dark Between the Twilight
is a unique collection of memoir and speculative poems that takes the reader on an unforgettable exploration of the darkest and brightest fragments of a lonely but loving heart. It is an accounting of one man’s soul through the power of the imagination. Through the redemption of his pain, Jamal Hodge invites us to turn from the shadows of the past and seek the light in our own lives.
Darkness purifies, loneliness empties, and in the light, all are made whole again.

"Jamal Hodge invites us to dive deep into our emotions to experience what it truly means to live. His latest collection The Dark Between the Twilight is an introspective look into the dichotomy of existence and existing. His words are raw, powerful, and unforgettable. They stay with you on this darkly haunting journey into the human condition."—Christina Sng, Bram Stoker Award winning author of A Collection of Nightmares

“In The Dark Between the Twilight, Jamal Hodge opens his soul while pulling readers into the light, bleeding over his pages a blend of love, passion, and emotional truth.”—Michael Bailey, Bram Stoker Award winning editor and Shirley Jackson Award nominated writer

“Every now and then, the world is introduced to a work of art that transcends without end; that is not bound to time nor space but rather collective consciousness itself. With soul-wrenching poems such as ‘The Dream of Worms’ and ‘Tomorrow, I’ll Be Five’, or the vulnerability of ‘Goodbye’, and the affecting ‘Stay. Live.’, Jamal’s book, The Dark Between the Twilight, touches upon a reader’s enigmatic soul with an introspective emotion that will inspire generations of artists to come.”—Nzondi, Bram Stoker Award-winning Author

About the Author:

Jamal Hodge is a native New Yorker who grew up surrounded by the perils of poverty, the diversity of convergent cultures, and the harmonious circus of six siblings. He is a multi-award-winning film director, a two-time Rhysling Award nominee, and a 2nd place Dwarf Stars award-winning poet, whose one obsession is exploring the great “Why?” inside each of us. 

Jamal loves the broken things that want to be understood and the secret things that never bothered to hide. With his writing, he hopes to uncover the paradox between suffering and meaning, to use darkness to show light.

When he’s not writing or filming, Jamal is traveling to odd locales, volunteering at some community organization, or in the gym working out to a near death experience.  

He fancies himself a pretty cool guy.

Somnium Blog Tour: An Interview With Deirdre Swinden

Welcome to today's stop on the Sominium Blog Tour. I have an interview the author of Somnium, Deirdre Swinden. Enjoy.

Interview With Deirdre Swinden

Give everyone a quick overview of your book, Somnium.

Somnium offers readers a glimpse into Gillian Hardie’s life after she’s struggled with persistent nightmare disorder. It’s affected her in many ways, and there were times when it affected the decisions she made. What she doesn’t know is that her troubles were caused by a glitch in dream advertising technology, and that the recent uptick in the strength of her dreams is no accident.


When the dreams are bad, MCL Nathan Keller jumps in to help. Aided by Dex Cooper and a host of Somnium Corporation’s technology, they battle her demons and usually win. When an accident traps Gillian in the dream state, it’s a race against time to ensure she not only survives, but that her survival doesn’t result in the unleashing of an unimaginable nightmare that could affect millions of Somnium’s customers.


At its core, Somnium is a cautionary tale about the lethal dangers of corporate greed and a society hellbent on advancing technology without thought to the repercussions. The focus on Gillian—one woman so badly affected by a glitch in the dream advertising tech that she will either die by her own hand because of her nightmares or suffer until death during those dreams—is my way of showing that advancement isn’t without collateral damage. At the same time, it’s about the nature of self-forgiveness – the struggle we all go through to accept ourselves as both good and bad in order to become whole and strong.


What were your inspirations for writing this book?

I’ve been fascinated by the concepts of sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming most of my life. The idea that people across time and cultures have had the exact same dream—an image of an old hag (the succubus)—and experience the same sensation of being awake and in the presence of something “evil” but not able to move resonated with me. I’ve had those dreams myself. Add to that a grumbling joke that soon they would be advertising to us in our dreams and a nightmare where I thought it would be nice if someone could jump in to help and you’ve got Somnium.


Tell us about the main character, what’s their personality? What kind of emotional journey does your character go through in the book?

The book centers on Gillian Hardie, who has had her life disrupted by bad dreams. She is introverted, isolated and has struggled to survive the deep depression associated with persistent nightmare disorder. She has learned to avoid technology to help calm her anxious brain and mastered the art of lucid dreaming to combat her fears. She’s had a troubled past, and throughout the book, readers will get to know what brought her to her present state of mind. The journey she undertakes is not only one to save her life, but to remind herself that it is worth living—no matter what she may have done in the past.


What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

I love the process. From the first inkling of an idea, to building out the characters and their different personalities, to building the world they live in. Writing the story helps me get to know them, to learn who they are—which is often different than how I originally imagined them to be. It’s a difficult process, and I often find myself and my characters frustrated, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What did you find most challenging about writing your book?

For me it’s endings. I’m a “plantser” – writing by both plan and the seat of my pants – so I can see a general ending in my head when I start writing. As I get closer to the end, it gets harder to get there—to build the bridges from where my characters have unexpectedly ended up to the ending I had originally foreseen. With Somnium, I needed to break my hold on the original ending and incorporate elements of that idea with what popped up along the way. It was difficult to give up that original scene, but once I did, the ending finally came out.


Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book?

Not really about the process—I’ve been writing most of my life and have several novels that no one will ever see tucked away in a file, so I’m familiar with my writing process. I think what surprises me is some of the twists and turns that pop up as I’m writing. The way the characters can take over and as the author, you’re simply capturing their actions and words as they flow. I think Stephen King described that feeling as the hole that opens in the screen and you just fall into the world. You feel like you’re watching and taking notes vs. actually being in control of the story.


How do you create your characters? Do they begin as a name, an idea, or do they start talking to you fully formed?

Usually I have an idea about a scene and over time, I build the characters and their personalities around that scene. How do they interact in that moment? Do they make me laugh? Make me angry? What about them captivates me because they’re in that scene? If I can’t let them go after that initial scene, then I know I need to write their story.


What is the hardest challenge you’ve had to overcome in your writing life? 

I think my fear of rejection is probably the most difficult thing I’ve had to overcome. To be a writer is to put yourself out there on paper and pixels for all to see, and as an introvert, that is really hard for me. My MFA program helped me to overcome that fear, but it certainly still plagues me from time to time.


How do you make time to write, and how do you utilize that time.

I try to write whenever I can—lunch hours, a few hours on the weekends. Sometimes I talk myself through a scene in the shower or on a commute to work. I prefer to write in the morning and edit in the evenings, and knowing those proclivities, I find I’m better able to use the hours I can snatch to work on my writing.


Do you have a favourite author, or writing inspiration?

There are so many! Margaret Atwood, Shirley Jackson, Michelle Paver, Stephen King, Richard Matheson, M.R. James, Susan Hill, Neil Gaiman…the list goes on! I love good dystopian novels, sci-fi epics, ghost stories and anything having to do with haunted houses (or haunted people…or objects…really anything haunted!).


When I need inspiration, I reread The Shining, Oryx & Crake, Hell House and The Haunting of Hill House (or watch their various movie iterations). The blend of science and spectre—of psychological and paranormal—is something I strive for in my own work.


Anything special on your 'to read' list for this year?

My “To Be Read” pile is huge! I have the latest from Stephen King and Margaret Atwood at the top of my list, but also several new releases from new authors that I want to try out. In particular, I’m itching to get my hands on some of my fellow female horror authors’ works!


Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

Sorry – nothing comes to mind on this one!


What’s your next project? What can readers expect from you in the future?

I recently completed a sci-fi/horror crossover where a group of misfits are isolated and experimented on by a scientist attempting to solve the problem of death itself. It inevitably goes horribly wrong. I’m also working on a fantasy/horror crossover based on the idea that sometimes, a world might need to be destroyed. It plays on the concept that the destruction of long-held ideals or beliefs isn’t always bad, and that those who do the destroying aren’t always the villains they seem to be. I’m still working on that one, but the feedback so far has been good!

Somnium by Deirdre Swinden

Immerse yourself in a terrifying blend of psychological horror and high-tech science fiction in this riveting novel where dreams can kill. Gillian Hardie experiences nightmares so intense they threaten her very existence, thanks to a glitch in Somnium Corporation's groundbreaking dream advertising technology. Every night, her sleep unleashes monsters that her body reacts to as if they were real, pushing her to the edge of despair.

Armed with her lucid dreaming skills, Gillian battles these horrors, but when an accident traps her in a perpetual dream state, she must rely on Nathan Keller, a nightmare warrior, and Dex Cooper, an Operator, to navigate this nightmarish reality. With her darkest fears manifesting like never before, Gillian faces a race against time to survive a threat that could unleash unimaginable horrors from the depths of her mind.



This novel includes a brief depiction of sexual violence, gore, and nightmare imagery.


Book Link:

Author Bio:

A successful writer/editor in the corporate world for more than two decades, Deirdre Swinden is currently living and writing in North Carolina. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from Arcadia University and has published short stories in Griffel Literary Magazine and Grim & Gilded. Early in her writing career, she won the Popular Short Story Contest at the 2000 Philadelphia Writers’ Conference with her short work, “Shooting Televisions.”





Subscribe Now:

Search This Blog

Powered By Blogger

Monthly Pageviews