Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"The Shade: The Shade Trilogy Book 1" by Matthew Tallman

The Shade:
The Shade Trilogy Book 1
by Matthew Tallman

The Shade is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

James Langley's life is over. After an automobile accident leaves him comatose, James' body lies vulnerable in a hospital bed. However, his mind is lost, drifting between life and death, into The Shade.
Trapped in a world shrouded by the unknown, he meets Virgil, a mysterious stranger that informs him that his car wreck was no accident; that the man responsible has imprisoned them both, intent on keeping them there. Together they must race against time to get James back to his body in the real world before he becomes the next victim of a malevolent psychopath.
Enter the world of The Shade, where the boundaries of the human psyche are pushed to their limits and survival is not guaranteed. A place where death isn't the end, but only the beginning.

An intense wave of pain shot its way up my spine, telling me I needed to get up. The hard hospital tiles had broken my fall with the gentle care you would expect. Slowly I opened my eyes, getting my first look at the ceiling of the room I had been thrown into. My bloody fist clinched a hand full of tile fragments and crushed them into powder.
That didn’t go as expected.
My hands shook as they slowly lifted my body back to an upright position.
Once on my feet, I scanned the empty room quietly. There was nothing significant about it; the room looked just like the hundreds of others in the abandoned hospital. The paint on the walls was cracked and peeling from years of neglect, along with a floor covered in a thick layer of grime. However, I wasn’t scanning the room to look at the scenery; my eyes were looking for something far more—sinister. My legs quivered as they tried to keep me from doubling back over.
Then I felt a presence in the room with me.
It wasn't something tangible that I could see with my naked eye, but I knew that something was there. My breath remained slow and steady.
The fall must have been harder than I thought.
My hand rubbed the back of my head as I tried to get my bearings. Then it happened, coming out from the wall in front of me, the specter emerged.
It looked like a man in shape only. Truly, it was more like a cadaver that had been charred in an unholy fire. I gazed in horror at the creature, black as pitch. As I stared into the blackness that comprised it, the darkness seemed to swallow me up, almost like falling through space with nothing to grasp onto. Flesh from the specter's body was peeling away, matching the paint on the walls. Its eyes, if you could call them that, were as black and deep as the ocean depths. It moved closer to me, with a twisted look on its face that seemed to say, "You, you're screwed, and there's nothing you can do about it."
With my fists balled tightly, readying myself for an attack. I could feel the color draining from my clenched fists as the creature leapt at me, its arms opened wide, ready to take me to the ground. I instinctively ducked, letting my body slam against the hard tile floor, causing my assailant to vault over me. I rolled forward—creating more distance between the creature and myself—and then sprang back to my feet.
The specter landed softly, only a few feet behind me.
I spun around to face the creature.
It turned to face me, but before it had time to attack; my fist was already rocketing towards its face. The power encapsulated in my closed hand crushed itself against the creature's face and as the two forces made contact, a thunderous boom erupted in the room.
Take that you piece of—
The specter recovered quickly, and before I knew what was happening it had latched its arms around my waist and we were tumbling towards the ground. We slammed against the floor, rolling a few feet. When we stopped, my legs heaved upwards with all their strength, breaking the specter's grip on me, hurling it across the room.
The creature hit the floor as I quickly found my way upright. Using the confusion to my advantage, I ran for the door. I made my way through the door and immediately turned right, heading down the long hospital hallway. My breath was stuck in my chest, as if my lungs refused to work. My heart thumped quickly inside me as I ran. I felt the side of my body begin to burn as the pain the specter had inflicted became apparent. Halfway down the hallway, I found a room and ducked into it to avoid the specter. My hand met my mouth to stop myself from breathing too heavily. My heart pounded so loudly in my chest I thought that it would give me away.
From down the hallway, I could hear the specter moving closer towards me. My eyes shut tight as the sound of footsteps came closer towards me. Closer and closer the footsteps of the creature passed by the room. It breathed heavily as it searched the hallway for me.
My muscles tightened.
I could feel the creature as it passed by the room.
One, two, three.
I counted in my head and then took off down towards the opposite end of the hallway. I ran back down the hallway, leaving the specter behind me. I had only fooled the creature for a moment, because almost immediately after I emerged from the room the sound of heavy footsteps running towards me echoed down the hall. I would have looked back, but I knew what chased after me, I knew the unending horror of what a monster like the specter could do to a man. I tried with all my might, to will my legs to move faster, but with no success. The noise from the creature behind me grew closer, and closer. Each step that I took down the hallway the creature gained another few feet on me, I knew that within a few seconds it would be on top of me again.
So in a split-second decision, I stopped to make a stand.

By G
I do not normally read fiction, I more often read for facts. That being said, I gave this book a chance and I was not disappointed. The book is filled with action and adventure. I was sad to see it end, fortunately the end DEFINITELY leaves room for sequel(s)! I am excited to see what happens in future both for this series and this author.

Interview With the Author
Hi Matthew, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, The Shade.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
This book was intended for readers 15 and up. It's not an adult book, but it has some foul language at times and a bit of violence, nothing one wouldn't see in a PG-13 movie though.
What sparked the idea for this book?
What sparked the idea from this book was Dante Alighieri's The Inferno. I started out making a modern day adaptation of his work but it eventually morphed into what it is now.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
For me, definitely the idea and the novel's overarching story. The characters fall into place after I've decided what's going to happen to them and how they will react. I then shape a character around those scenarios I have created; making sure their personalities will fit a given situation.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The beginning. I for one hate exposition. It seems when starting a book (a new series especially) there is a mountain of exposition that you have to climb when establishing a new world, and for the author it can be a bit dull. While I believe The Shade has a great beginning it has a few chapters of set-up before getting into the real grit of the novel.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope this book makes you think, I want to challenge the reader to think beyond the normal scope of their imagination, and hopefully when they end the book they've learned something new. This book has overarching themes of redemption and responsibility. I wanted the reader to finish the book and be able to reflect on it, and possible apply it to their own life.
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me about a year and a half to finish The Shade, it was a slow process at first, but once the ball got rolling, it became very fluid.
What is your writing routine?
Well, I write in my living room. I'll go to my computer, turn on some music (usually a playlist I've created for my book) and then begin writing, editing, etc. I need it to be loud, and I always have to have music. It helps me focus my thoughts better when all the other distractions around the house are gone.
How did you get your book published?
I self-published The Shade. Originally I wanted to try a more traditional publishing route. However, as time wore on, I realized that I could self-publish, and if someone really liked the book, they could pick me up later. What I really wanted to do was get this story out of my head and onto paper; the book didn't need to be the next Harry Potter. I had created something for people's enjoyment; I wanted to entertain, so I published it myself.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
I'd say it's a lot easier than you think, that it can only start when you put your ideas down on paper, and to not be scared of what other people will think. Everyone who writes puts himself or herself out for the world to see, you can't be scared of the criticism that will inevitably go along with that.
Great advice, Matthew. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
In my spare time, I'm either doing home repair projects or spending time with my wife and stepson. Going to the zoo or parks is one of our family's favorite things to do. I really enjoy the outdoors, biking, and hiking; I could do almost every day.
What does your family think of your writing?
My wife is my biggest supporter, along with my parents (who kept pushing me to finish the book). My family has been really helpful for encouragement and an invaluable resource for ideas and information on publishing.
Fantastic. Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
Well, I was born in Ohio, on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. My father was in the US Air Force so we moved around a lot. I've lived all around the United States and we also did a tour of four years in Okinawa, Japan. Never staying in one place more than four years is hard on a kid, having to make friends then say goodbye so often. We finally settled back in Ohio after my father's retirement in 2003, which is where I've been ever since. I've spent the last eleven years in Ohio and couldn't be happier living in the same place.
I know what you mean. I moved around a lot as a kid, too. Did you like reading when you were a child?
Absolutely not, I hated reading when I was in school. After I got into high school, however, I started to read more and more. I think that was when books started becoming more relevant to me, so I identified more with them.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I never really wanted to be a writer, I'd written before but never as more than a hobby. Even when I started The Shade, it was more of a recreational outlet than me seriously creating a novel. It was about halfway through my novel when I realized that I could publish the story.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Probably, who knows what's buried under layers of psychoses. But seriously, I've not explored writing anything remotely parallel to my life, so I'd say no. I do like deep-rooted characters, ones that have always lived somewhere, so I suppose you could attribute that to my moving around so much as a child.
Could well be! Which writers have influenced you the most?
I really enjoy anything by Orson Scott Card; despite his world views I believe him to be one of the greatest science fiction authors of all time. Enders Game and Speaker for the Dead are two of my favorite books.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do hear from my readers. Although the book was only published in March, I've gotten a lot of great feedback from those who have read The Shade. Some tell me it opened up new ideas for them, but mostly they say it was a good quick read and they can't wait for the second one.
That's great, Matthew. What can we look forward to from you in the future?
As of right now, I am completing the second book in The Shade Trilogy. I'm hopeful that I will be able to publish it sometime this fall. Along with that, I've also started creating a detective/mystery novel, because that's another genre I've always wanted to write.
Sounds good. Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Matthew, and best of luck with your future projects.

From the Author
I am currently a part-time writer and full-time government employee. Reading and writing books is one of my favorite hobbies, as I enjoy every part of the story telling process. I have been working on three full-length novels for the last three years. I grew up all around the world because my father was in the United States Air Force. The past ten years I have lived just outside of Dayton, Ohio, which is where I now reside with my wife and stepson.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebook copies of The Shade by Matthew Tallman.