June 2001's Author of the Month
Douglas Clegg (aka Andrew Harper)

(Chosen by reviewer, Beverly Rowe)

Unlimited and Accessible


Book Reviews

Unlimited and Accessible

Douglas Clegg was my choice as Author of the Month for June because he is a great writer with an unlimited imagination that can keep you glued to the pages long after bedtime, and too frightened to go to sleep when you finish.  His "Nightmare Chronicles" was winner of the International Horror Guild Award in 1999.  Clegg books are suspense and horror, but rest assured, if there is carnage and mayhem, it is in there because it is necessary to the story, and not just arbitrarily added for shock value.

Another reason I chose him is for his fan-accessibility.  Doug always welcomes e-mail, always answers it and has many book signings throughout the year.  I first heard of Doug a few years ago when he was the guest author on the AOL weekly online chat for the Horror Writer's Workshop.  He was very impressive during the chat and I was inspired to go searching for his work.

Doug has been a pioneer of e-publishing and during the summers of 1999 and 2000 he sent a chapter a week as he wrote them by free e-mail to fans by subscription. The first one was "Naomi" and last summer we received "Nightmare House," which was the first of a trilogy of stories centered on the title house.  I feel privileged to have been able to read these books before their publication.  You can download "Purity" in it's entirety at his web site, and it's free!

"Naomi" just came out in paperback, and Doug announced that all of his author's royalties for that publication would go to the National Down's Syndrome Society.

Be sure to check out Douglas Clegg's Web Page

Beverly Rowe


Bev:  Could you tell us about yourself?  A thumbnail autobiography?

Doug:   I was born in Virginia, but grew up in a few other places -- and ended back in Virginia, where I also went to college. Then, I traveled a lot, and spent time in Washington DC working for a magazine publisher, before heading out West to live and work in Los Angeles.  I wrote my first novel in 1987 (Goat Dance) and sold it about a year after finishing it to Pocket Books. From there, I've been writing and living and doing consulting and freelance work when it interested me. I love writing fiction, but I find I stay a bit fresher if I also pursue non-fiction interests. As I've gotten older, I've found that I enjoy publishing and bookselling, and seem to have a genuine love for these industries.  So, currently, besides writing fiction, I consult with publishers, and am currently fairly immersed in both the novel I'm working on, and with a specialty hardcover publisher called Stealth Press.

Bev:  When did you start writing?  What was your earliest writing inspiration?

Doug:  I began writing when I was eight or nine. Might've been earlier, but what I really remember doing is sketching and painting a lot. I was quite serious about it at that age, and only let go of the sketching when I was in my teens.  My earliest writing inspirations were probably the Bible stories my mother read to us as kids -- they were often terrifying. Daniel and the Lion's Den. The three men walking through the furnace. Worldwide destruction. What could be closer to horror fiction? And then, she also read us a lot of Poe's poetry. I can practically recite "Annabelle Lee," backward and forward, even now.  From there, I read more mainstream literature (Pippi in the South Seas was a stand-out, as was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and any of the Freddy the Pig/Detective books) -- and then went
on to discover William Styron, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Shirley Jackson, John Irving, and Toni Morrison -- but not in that order. Among others. Stephen King and Peter Straub and Dean Koontz were in there, also.


Bev:   Which of your books is your favorite, and why?

Doug:  I still think I like Neverland a lot, mainly because it was near to my heart in terms of how I felt about childhood at the time.  But The Infinite, which comes out in September 2001, is definitely up there at this point. I feel like I did something special with the haunted house idea and the people who come to occupy it.

Bev:  You have been a pioneer of internet publishing.  How do you see it's future?

Doug:  Well, I think its future is not terribly predictable. After all, the hardware we use to access the Internet and the interface for reading will keep changing, so I'm not really sure if it will grow into something wonderful and better than it is now, or if it will stagnate. I do know that it's pretty lively right now, and since so much is text-based on the computer, this is good for writers and readers.  The main problem I see with Internet literature is this: the written word is what I'd call an "epi" experience. That means: it's not the direct experience itself, but it's "about" the experience. Poetry probably comes closest to being the experience itself. (Follow me? I do, but I understand if you don't.)

A painting is the direct experience: you see IT.

Music is the direct experience: you hear IT.

Movies are an interesting "fake" of the direct experience: you believe, in the theater, that you're having the experience.

But with writing, you're reading about it, not having the absolute direct experience. I write about a man walking down the road, you have to make the experience in your head from my having written about it.

Admittedly, it could be argued that a painting of a lake is not the lake, but I'd say, true, but the painting is the thing. You react directly to it.

With the written word, you've got to absorb it, understand it as it is meant, and then create in your mind a picture or experience from it. The best literature and poetry nearly nail it.

Bear with me.

All right, given that, I think the Internet is a direct experience. I am with IT.  I'm not reading about the Internet experience when I'm online. I'm inside of it.  So, an e-book is a weird mix of direct experience and this epi-experience of the written word. I'm not sure we've completely explored the possibilities of this. I'm hoping near-future hardware and software transform this even further into a hybrid of art and mindfood.

Bev:  Who has been the greatest influence on your writing?

Doug:   My family. For both good and ill, they inspire me. Constantly.

Bev:   Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?

Doug:  Just write. Don't spend your life asking for advice or waiting for the approval of your peers -- just write and if you want to write for a living, get it out to publishers who pay a decent wage and in turn get it out to the reading public.  Enjoy writing. Have fun and relax while doing it. Don't take yourself too seriously, and don't make your life about talking about being a writer. That's the "epi" experience again! Just do the thing you set out to do.

btw, for those interested: epi is from the Greek for "upon." I believe it can also mean "about" or "on." I use it as the notion that an experience that is literally not "the experience," but "about the experience," is an epi experience. I just like saying the word "epi."

Bev:  Thanks so much Doug.  We appreciate your taking the time to respond to the interview questions.



Bad Karma
written as Andrew Harper
Kensington, May 1997

Pocket Books/Simon Schuster 1990

The Children's Hour
Dell 1995

Dark of The Eye
Pocket/Simon Schuster 1994

Limited Ed, Subterranean Press June 2001

Goat Dance
Pocket Books/Simon Schuster 1989

Limited Ed, Vox 13 Press August 2001

Halloween Man
Leisure Books 1998

The Infinite
To be published in September 2001

Cemetery Dance Limited Edition 2000

Paperback - Leisure Books, 2000

Subterranean Press Limited Edition 2001

Leisure Books  Paperback April 2001

All author royalties go to the National Down Syndrome Society

Pocket/Simon Schuster 1991

Nightmare Chronicles
Leisure, Sept. 1999

Nightmare House
Cemetery Dance Limited Edition,  Summer 2001

Purity (Novella)
Cemetery Dance Limited Edition 2000

e-book edition, published December 2000

 You Come When I Call You
Cemetery Dance Limited Edition 2000

Leisure Books, 2000

 The Necromancer
Cemetery Dance Limited Edition 2000

Tor Books, 2002

 The Hour Before Dark
Leisure Books, 2002



NAOMI by Douglas Clegg
Subterranean Press - 2001
ISBN: 1892284758 - Hardback, Signed Limited Edition

Reviewed by Beverly Rowe
 Buy a Copy

Jake Richmond and Naomi Faulkner grew up together in Carthage, Virginia. They were best friends, sharing everything, but something terrible happened to Naomi and she left Carthage at age 17. Jake migrated to Manhattan and lost track of Naomi. When Jake and his wife divorce his thoughts again turn to Naomi. He learns that she also moved to Manhattan. Is it coincidence that she lived in the apartment across the hall from his? Jake discovers that she was recently killed in a subway accident that might not have been an accident. Of course she's not dead...she can't be dead -- Jake can feel her presence. He still loves her. He even sees her in the subway and she seems to be willing him to follow her.

Maddy Sparke is renovating her seventh brownstone. This one is going to be the grandest of all. She anticipates selling it for several million dollars to pay off her debts and leave her sitting pretty. However, the workmen discover a very old burial chamber under the building complete with ancient artifacts and evidence of witchcraft trials. Maddy finds the diary of a young woman named Naomi, who seems to be one of the tortured remains under Maddy's brownstone. The discovery turns Maddy's world upside down, and the witch-ghost Naomi leads her to the underground maze of tunnels beneath Manhattan where her murderer now lives in his evil afterlife form.

Naomi Faulkner's ghost leads Jake to the same evil labyrinth. Why are they drawn to this place and to a homeless boy named Romeo who has grown up in the subways? This is Clegg's best novel yet with complex plotting and believable characters that lead you with breathtaking suspense right up to the ending that feels just right.



PURITY by Douglas Clegg
Cemetery Dance - 2000
ISBN: 1-881475-71-9  (Hardcover-Limited Edition)

(This novella is available as a FREE download from www.douglasclegg.com)

Reviewed by Beverly Rowe
 Buy a Copy

"There is no madness but the madness of the gods. There is no purity but the purity of love."

Owen Crites tells the tale of growing up on Outerbridge Island and falling in love with Jenna Montgomery. Owen's father is the gardener on the Montgomery summer estate, and Owen is destined to become the groundskeeper. He is becoming aware of the fact that he is socially unacceptable as a suitor for Jenna. Owen, however, must have Jenna as his own, and will go to any lengths to make it happen.

Jenna brings her rich lover, Jimmy, to the island to spend the summer with her. Owen's jealousy is monumental...his little statue of "Dagon" the sea god that he keeps in the pond is going to help him see to it that Jenna will belong to him alone, or no one.

This creepy story has a shocker of a surprise ending. You won't soon forget Owen. Douglas Clegg is a master at keeping you awake at night with his strange characters and the high tension of his plots. You KNOW something bad is going to happen, and you just can't stop reading!


BAD KARMA by Andrew Harper AKA Douglas Clegg
Kensington -
ISBN: 0786004800 Paperback

Reviewed by Beverly Rowe
  Buy a Copy

Trey Campbell is a psychiatrist at Darden State Hospital for the criminally insane in California. He is suffering burnout, and really needs to get away. He, his wife and two children go to Catalina Island for a much needed vacation.

Agnes Hatcher, a patient at Darden State (nicknamed "The Surgeon") believes that she shares Karma with Trey and that he is her lost lover reincarnated. Agnes is kept immobilized, restrained and her face covered because of her past history of escapes and murders. She thinks she can find out what makes people tick by removing their essence, usually their heart, or another vital part.

When a nurse and a patient make the mistake of getting too close to Agnes, this female "Hannibal Lechter" manages to escape from the institution, leaving a trail of murder. She's going after Trey because he abandoned her. Her plan for Trey and his family is beyond imagination.

This is a gripping, fast paced thriller that you will long remember. Great characters and a shattering conclusion make this an outstanding quick read. Don't start it until you have time to read the whole book. We may see Trey in an upcoming story. Doug has plans to write one.
2001's Honorary List


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