A troubled writer of supernatural tales has confounded his fans by returning from his sojourn in an isolated New England backwater not only with a fresh and healthy outlook on life, but also a fully completed first draft of his latest novel.
Master of the macabre Stephen K Torrance, a recovering alcoholic who has recently suffered a string of personal tragedies, checked in at a deserted out-of-season hotel over a month ago, in the hope that the solitude would help combat a crippling bout of writer’s block. ‘It was my hope that the oppressive snow-bound isolation would get the creative juices flowing. And the Bates Motel looked so nice in the brochure.’
‘I didn’t know that the motel was built on the site of an ancient Indian burial ground, but once the restless spirits realised that I wasn’t there to desecrate their graves, we got on pretty well. In fact a conversation with the ghost of Stalking Wolf resulted in some much-needed realism for the hunting scene in my new book.’
Torrance also revealed how the malevolent psychic presence of the motel, scene of a number of gruesome murders over the years, actively assisted the writer in combating his difficulties. ‘You’d have thought that any place where the walls drip with terrifying messages written in blood would be enough to send you crazy, but when you’re at a loss for a particularly gruesome simile, they really do the trick. Oh, and those fridge magnet letters that rearranged themselves overnight – great for spell checking.’
‘Rarely have I had such an untroubled working vacation,’ he continued. ‘The freaky clown that lived in the sewers was actually quite a nice guy once you got to know him and ignored the smell, while the industrial clothes press in the cellar possessed by an evil demonic entity was easily dealt with by switching the thing off at the wall. In fact the only time I hacked through a door in a murderous rage with a fire axe was when I accidently left my keys in my room.’
His work completed, Torrance is upbeat about the future. ‘My writing career will be assured once I’ve delivered this blockbuster to the publishers – which I’ll do just as soon as I’ve driven my niece Carrie to her prom night in the second-hand ‘58 Plymouth Fury I’ve just bought with the advance.’