I have a very special guest today on my blog. If you haven’t read any of William Todd’s Sherlock Holmes’ stories, you are definitely missing out. I love them. His collections of short horror tales are rather special, too. William’s new release, Something Wicked This Way Comes, is now on pre-order, going live on 8th July (you’ll find the link below). I’ve ordered my copy; what about you?
For those who don’t know me, my name is William Todd, and I am an indie author. I spend my time going from horror to mystery, Sherlock Holmes pastiches, to be exact. I love the Victorian / Edwardian era and most of my stories tend to be in that period. I’d like to think that I am somewhat of a traditionalist in terms of horror, and mine tend to be gothic in nature but not always. I have put Holmes on holiday for the time being to work on what is essentially my first horror novel, as most of my stories have been short story compilations and novellas. Not as easy task when you are used to telling relatively quick and gripping tales.
I have been asked more than once what the inspiration was to tell this particular story. It was, of all things, the ‘50’s sci-fi classic The Thing From Another World, or simply The Thing. I loved the premise—stuck in a small, enclosed space with something that wanted to kill you and no way out. I took the premise and bumped it back about 60 years and thought, what would happen if you were faced with similar circumstances without any of the modern conveniences of communication or firepower to deal with such a threat? That was the beginning of Something Wicked This Way Comes.
This novel is first and foremost a horror story. But there are elements of science fiction in it, which is also another first for me. I will freely admit that I did my best to keep to my comfort zone of horror in the telling, only dipping my big toe into the waters of sci-fi. It was a fun—and frustrating at times—ride but one I’m hoping to do again. As I mentioned, I’d like to think of myself as a traditionalist and there are even some undercurrents of romance. What Victorian-era story wouldn’t have that! I mean, even Dracula had Mina Harker (I’m not saying the alien creature falls in love but someone does). I am an unabashed hopeless romantic, and I think that even the scariest of stories need something to hope for.
So what is the premise of the story? Well, on one level you have a cash-strapped steamship captain, Jericho Mannion, who is at breaking point financially. He is losing money to the railways and desperately needs cash to keep his ship, the Orion, going. On another level, you have William Ross, the team leader of a university archaeology dig. He is tasked with getting the debris from what was initially thought to be a meteorite crash in a farmer’s field near Toledo, Ohio, back to the university in Buffalo, New York for study. But he must keep everything a secret because what they found at the crash site was actually the remains of an alien craft and its only occupant. Mannion finds out from his First Mate and best friend, an ornery Scot named Tal MacTavish, that William Ross wants to double the usual fare for his crew and cargo for a non-stop trip across Lake Erie. With the thought of more money and only a handful of passengers, Jericho is interested but becomes suspicious when Ross won’t divulge the contents of his cargo. He reluctantly agrees only after Ross finally triples the sum.
The 14-hour trip starts off well enough, but a quick-hitting summer storm now has the passengers on the boat reeling in the tumult. On top of this people are now being found dead—the only thing left is their covering of skin. It is only then that Ross reveals what he had stored in those crates in the cargo hold, but no one knew the thing they found was still alive.
Not knowing how to kill a creature like this, Mannion decides he must scuttle the Orion in the deepest part of the lake with the creature on-board after getting everyone into lifeboats. This is met with skepticism because of the storm, but it’s their only hope. The bad part is they still have almost two hours before they reach that point. They must stay alive somehow until they can trade one dread for another. Who will survive? Will anyone survive when … Something Wicked This Way Comes?
I hope I have given just enough to whet your appetite! Both the Kindle and paperback go live to purchase on July 8th, but you can pre-order on the link: Buy Link: Amazon
William Todd Bio:
William Todd has been writing online for nearly 20 years, primarily writing horror stories in the style of Poe and Lovecraft. He was the 2nd most popular author on the website storiesbyemail.com for two years before moving on. He had his first book, Bumps in the Night, published by Mystic Moon Press just a week prior to their abrupt closing, and he never saw his hard work pay off. Afterwards, he took publishing into his own hands, became an Indie author and hasn’t looked back. His first self-published book was the well-received Dead of Night, a compilation of Victorian horror stories, published September 2016. After its publication he left his comfort zone for mystery and wrote a short story about Sherlock Holmes in the original Conan Doyle style, Mystery of the Broken Window. It stayed in the top 100 on Amazon short stories list for eight months. He loved the process so much he then wrote a longer Holmes story, A Reflection of Evil, in 2018. He also released Beyond the Gossamer in 2018, another compilation of both Victorian and modern supernatural/horror stories, and his latest Holmes installment, Murder in Keswick was released June, 2018. Along with that, William Todd had been asked to add a story to a Sherlock Holmes anthology put out by MX Publishing called The Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Volume XV published in May, 2019. Although most of his work falls into the realm of short story and novella, Something Wicked This Way Comes is his first full-length novel.