by Tamara Thorne
My books often start with a dream, and that’s how Eternity -on sale now for 99 cents – began.
One night I dreamed I was driving in the mountains. They were tall and green, the ground dotted with melting snow, the road a twisting asphalt ribbon spinning out through the shadows and sunlight. The incline was so steep that sometimes the car felt like it was going to tip over backward. And then my destination came into view.
The town lay in a little valley in the shadow of a tall mountain called Icehouse. Quaintly beautiful, it was exactly as I would later describe in it the novel – a huge green park surrounded by businesses. I kept driving as the road dipped toward downtown Eternity. As I neared, I saw a big blue house with white trim with a sign out front that said, “Dimple’s Boarding House.”
Next thing you know, I’m inside and an older couple named Dimples were introducing me to their guests. Among them was Elvis Presley – and he was looking healthy. The Dimples went on to warn me that when I explored the town’s local landmark, Little Stonehenge, I should watch out for a sanitarium escapee named Jim Morrison who, unlike Elvis, was a pretender, an escapee from Shady Pines Sanitarium.
I don’t remember much else from the dream, but those images were so vivid that I wrote them down and immediately began playing with the idea that would become Eternity.
The plot didn’t take long to put together because I was ready to write another book about serial killers and I really wanted an excuse to study Jack the Ripper in detail. I’d long been a fan of Ripper entertainment; my very favorite was and is a 1988 two-part miniseries starring Michael Caine as Chief Inspector Abberline. In this version, the royal physician, Sir William Gull, is the Ripper, which is patently absurd – but it’s the thought that counts and it’s a great movie. (Gull has been named as the Ripper numerous times, but in reality he wouldn’t have been physically able to carry out the crimes.)
I delved deep into Ripper lore and used it throughout Eternity; my Ripper was one of the original suspects and while I make no claims to know who the Ripper actually was, my suspect fit perfectly with my story.
The prologue opens with a tour guide discovering Sheriff Frank Lawson (cousin to John Lawson of Moonfall) dismembered on Icehouse Mountain, in the prehistoric stone circle known as Little Stonehenge. It’s rumored to be some sort of portal, sort of a wormhole with other connections on earth (Stonehenge, Sedona, and many more) that sometimes deposits strangers in Eternity. Most people think it’s nothing but tourist hype. . .
Soon, former Los Angeles police detective Zach Tully drives north to take over as as Eternity’s Sheriff. He has delusions of Mayberry when he arrives which are quickly dashed. Tully, a man haunted by the murder of his family by the Backdoor Killer – the serial killer that got away – is burned out and thinks Eternity’s quiet is the answer. Instead, he is immediately beset by citizens telling him about Bigfoot, UFOs, sanitarium escapees, and claims that Ambrose Bierce is their mayor and Amelia Earhart is the postmistress.
Tully can handle all that, but then the murders begin in earnest. There’s no rhyme or reason to the gruesome homicides but Tully knows he’s up against a serial killer for the ages.
As a side note, my collaborator, Alistair Cross, and I are currently working on a sequel to my novel, Candle Bay. It takes place in Eternity, when my vampires – and several of Alistair’s vampires from his book, The Crimson Corset, are taking a road trip there for a vampire family reunion. Look for more action in Eternity later this year! And right now you can get Eternity for .99 cents on Amazon.