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Hidden ValleyLisa and MYTHS


Paying Homage to the King

by Leigh M. Lane

Those who are familiar with my work know that I’m more or a meta-genre writer than anything else: Myths of Gods is my take on the interpretative power of religious texts; World-Mart is my commentary on the classic dystopia and a mournful homage to Kurt Vonnegut Jr.; and Finding Poe is a structural analysis of the Gothic romance. It should come as no surprise, then, that my newest novel, The Hidden Valley, is my own personal way of showing my respect to the reigning King of horror.

When I first came up with the idea for The Hidden Valley, all I knew initially was that I wanted it to be a ghost story, one about a haunted town that sustained itself by drawing in newcomers on which it slowly fed. I also knew I wanted to make it emulate stylistically Stephen King’s rich and physical prose. Little did I know at the time that King was also working on a ghost story—one about a haunted town! I have to assume the muses had whispered similar thoughts to both of us where this is concerned, and I’m very curious to see where my story and his (supposedly a sequel to The Shining, one of my favorites of his) end up crossing over thematically.

To take matters a step further, I thought it would be fun to play with the actual structure of the novel. I started by working toward making each chapter a work of flash fiction. While not all of the chapters adhere to the 1000-or-less flash fiction requirement, most do, and each has its own minor conclusion, even if some of them are more open-ended than others. As I progressed, my husband suggested I take this a step further and restructure the story into four novellas/novelettes, reconstructing the entire manuscript to divide each main character’s story from the rest—essentially offering each individual point of view, and with surprisingly different conclusions. As a result, readers have a choice in how they want to approach the story: as a flash fiction serial, as four separate stories, or as the full-length novel told in chronological order. Talk about meta-horror!

Just the same, this all ties perfectly into the King’s writing: he is an innovator where horror is concerned, and what better way to pay him homage than to be as innovative as possible in my own, King-inspired work?

About The Hidden Valley:

Deep in a hidden valley, there is a ghost town that has experienced a miraculous rebound. It is separated from the rest of the world by a mountain pass, but it’s found a dark and deadly lifeline…. Carrie and her husband Grant are moving wayward teenage twins John and Jane across the country for a fresh start. South Bend seems like the perfect place for it. Maybe just a little too perfect. When they become aware of the trap that has been set for them, will it already be too late for any of them to escape?

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About the author:

Leigh M. Lane lives in the beautiful mountains of Montana, where she writes speculative fiction that spans from sci-fi to horror. All of her works contain a gritty realism that hallmarks her unique voice, which also often has social or political undertones. Her recent releases are The Hidden Valley, Finding Poe, World-Mart, and Myths of Gods.

Leigh’s influences include H.G. Wells, Kurt Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, Rod Serling, and Stephen King.

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About Heather Powers

Extraordinary girl in an ordinary world. I'm a mom, part-time poet/writer, and earth goddess-protector of the furries and like.

One response »

  1. We seem to have been influenced by many of the same authors, yet we are worlds apart in the way we write. For example, the way you chose to pay homage to King at the genre level is the exact opposite to the way I have tried to pay tribute to him myself.

    He wrote a book about writing some time ago, and in it he spoke of the story as being this mysterious fossil you must excavate from your mind (or wherever stories come from). Sometimes things will go quickly as you break off huge pieces off the rock encasing the fossil. Othertimes you must go oh so carefully with a fine tool and a brush. I subscribe to this metaphor and find that it works very well for me.

    I guess my point is that each writer, no matter how similar their influences, style or subject, is going to be different. Each will find his or her own fossils to work on, and we will be left happily alone to do so. You seem to prefer the giant predators of the past, while I enjoy digging up the little guys. Your “The Hidden Valley” may, on the surface, resemble Stephen King’s idea, but I’ll guarantee he will surprise you–because that is what he does. The man can warp the common day and the common man into things no one else has ever dreamed. That is his genius.

    Enjoyed your post. I always do.

    Clayton Bye
    Author, Editor, Publisher


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