by John Geers
Two couples from Madison, with entwined destinies, both seeking love, are connected by a single element: the ancient Siberian witch, Thuban-Pol. Her magic will either be their savior or their ruin.
Thuban-Pol is the latest in a lineage of Siberian witches. Their eternal aim is to guide humanity to true love. Their guiding tenet, “For love to bloom, these three endure: sacrifice, perseverance and suffering. But the greatest of these is suffering.”
Since the dawn of humanity, they have summoned countless couples, inflicting suffering with the intention to grow true love. They have never succeeded…but now they have their best opportunity in two couples from Wisconsin.
If they succeed, love will finally bloom for all of humanity, if the suffering inflicted on these couples doesn’t kill them first.
Slivered gray wood covered the outside. Macabre scenes carved like tattoos stretched from ground to gutter and marched around each corner in a black parade.
Clint stepped close to the dark images and put a finger to one. “It’s soft and squishy, like driveway tar in summer, but it doesn’t stick to my skin. Weird.” His finger went to his nose, and he said, “Interesting. Hey, sniff this stuff.”
Lucy pushed her nose forward and sniffed the carving. “Yum, smells like…” she let the scent tumble around her brain, “like peppermint and something else I can’t place, but definitely peppermint.”
“Check out these carvings of animals,” he said.
Real and imagined creatures prowled midst the gray slivers. Indigenous animals were well represented; the snowy owl, Arctic fox, caribou and ermine. Along with these were animals too strange to be from this age. Some warned. Others offered a wry smile of welcome. A serpent barred vicious fangs stained crimson, dripping pregnant bulbs of creamy poison. A grizzly bear smothered the head of a besieged she-wolf with one massive paw while tonguing the cheek of its pup. Wild caribou ran in stampede along the edge of a deep ravine, flirting with the abyss.
Woven among the animals were humans. Black eyes. Black bodies. Black forms. Black illuminated. A child held the face of its mother. A man raised a silver sword over the broken body of his slain foe. A son leaped into the arms of his father, reminiscent of the Prodigal Son, but on this wall, soaked in black, the anguish and joy were fresh. Sex was here too. Bodies engaged in all variety of forbidden acts, twisted and beautiful.
As the black parade marched on, frozen poses of pain pinched Lucy, forcing her tight against his chest once more.
A man groped the ground with orange coals where eyes once took in the world. A woman with a flapping tongue, split like the Serpent, hissed a song to the full blood moon. A young man pled for mercy, torn fingers lost in the gnashing teeth of his lover. A man pounded the ice above his head. A child wailed in the jaws of a terrible beast, eyes begging for a hero, a call for rescue swallowed by winter. A family huddled tight, defying flames that, in real life, would be their end. A woman slumped with blood and afterbirth at her feet, her ashen eyes stone, silence of mother and child scattered across eternity. A wrinkled face echoed hope, sealed behind tortured lips.
John Geers drew inspiration to begin his debut novel from a dream he experienced.
Hours spent in the caffeinated air of his favorite coffeehouse proved to be the perfect place to complete Emerge Beyond Circles.
John is a middle school literacy educator, where he inspires and is inspired by the writers of tomorrow. He is the founder and facilitator of his school’s Creative Writing Club. He is also a columnist for the online magazine Elephant Journal.
He loves a good story, being on the water, and witty puns. He can be found hiking the wilderness, biking big hills, sipping dark coffee, and looking for a chair in the mall.
WRITER WEBPAGE: http://bit.ly/2fSVGDL
WRITER FACEBOOK: http://bit.ly/2glo25s
THUBAN-POL FACEBOOK: http://bit.ly/2gTcBTQ
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I live in Hartland, WI and have always lived in Wisconsin. I teach 6th grade and also coach cross country and track. I facilitate the school newspaper and started a creative writing club at my school.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
I was inspired by other authors. We used to have a great locally owned book chain here in the Milwaukee area. They regularly had authors of all kinds do author talks. I went to dozens of them. Hearing the story of how a book was written was as fascinating to me as the book itself. It wasn’t long before I wanted to be part of that process.
The original nugget came in a dream. The other 98% came from careful consideration of what I wanted to include in my novel. It contains themes of love and loss from my own life. Then I included the elements of story that I love most. I constructed it in a way that I would love and I feel like I succeeded.
How do you create your characters?
I create realistic characters who are complex yet ordinary. These types of characters are my favorite to read about as well. I love being able to see myself in characters I read about.
Where do you write?
Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?) I almost always write in a local coffeehouse. I usually listen to music. My favorite bands are Arcade Fire and the Arctic Monkeys.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
My ideas come from my life. My characters do things I like to do. I make it a point to put myself in new environments so I experience enough new things to keep the writing going.
What do you like to read?
My favorite authors are Patrick Suskind, James Crace, and Tolkien. Each creates stories without bounds, they are fearless and unconcerned with offending people. I love that.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Be prepared to work harder than you even think possible. This is truly one of those endeavors that lives up to the hype of being extremely trying and difficult.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I would say that if you are writing for any other reason than because you love to write…give up now.
John Geers will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC, a signed copy of the book, and a stuffed tiger (US only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.