There’s a number of famous paranormal investigator duos with some truly great chemistry and banter – Mulder and Scully, Sam and Dean, Ryan and Shane, Geralt and Jaskier – and now Ronan and Byron from Improbable Press’ latest novel by author G.V. Pearce, Strangest Day So Far.
What’s it all about?
“A close encounter with a surface-to-air-missile is going to ruin anyone’s day.”
And so begins the story of one of the strangest days in Major Ronan Cox’s life, though it’s hardly going to be his last. When Ronan’s helicopter is shot down in a war zone over Iraq, he certainly doesn’t expect to survive, let alone land on a jar containing a naked, winged man made of flames that offers him three wishes. A wish to survive is logical enough when you’re already dying. A wish for the survival of everyone else is a no-brainer too. His last wish though – “I don’t want to be broken anymore,” – that one’s going to be the game changer.
Half a world away, Ronan’s going to awaken in a hospital in Washington D.C. next to a man who will irrevocably alter the course of his life. Ronan’s new roommate, one Byron Slain, aka Benjamin Williams- who has the ink of a Hell’s Angel, the humor of a 12 year-old boy, the psychic powers of an X-man and the body of an Adonis- is plagued by his own supernatural being problems. Despite an immediate almost epoch-making connection between the two men, the werewolf outside their hospital room door isn’t going to give them much time to question how they ended up together.
These two characters, thrown together by fate, and little bit of mystical intervention, will find their opposites attracting in more ways than one; Ronan with his nebulous otherworldly past experiences and Byron with his powers and habit of attracting both supernatural beings and metaphysical trouble.
Aren’t you forgetting something?
Usually this is the part in the review where I go, this book has some great LGBTQ representation but it’s definitely not a love story. This time though I’m happy to inform you this book absolutely IS a love story! Along with being a horror, comedy, and urban fantasy. Ronan and Byron aren’t just partners in supernatural shenanigans, they’re also lovers who get to try to work through all those new relationship jitters while helping cryptids sort out their problems and maybe thwarting a few evil spirits along the way.
Imagine two kids from different horror movies who managed to grow into functioning adults but never had a chance to deal with their childhood traumas. They can relate, sympathize, and most importantly, believe each other’s struggles. Which really makes them perfect together.
A fireside chat with author G.V. Pearce
Your first book, Ghost Story, a modern day Sherlockian mystery, also had elements of the supernatural. What is it about the supernatural that you enjoy writing so much?
I enjoy looking at the world through different lenses, and the supernatural provides a kaleidoscope of viewpoints. It’s fun to consider the mundane through the eyes of something amazing, things often turn out to not be so ordinary after all. I have to admit that the world building possibilities are another major draw for me as a writer, there are a lot of preconceived ‘rules’ about ghosts, werewolves, vampires, etc but there’s no spook police to make me stick to those rules. What if everything you thought you knew about the supernatural was wrong? Or just good advertising?
I feel like there’s an overlying theme of healing in your book: not just for Ronan and Byron, but for the supernatural entities they met as well. Is that something that’s going to continue to be important in future Eldritch Roads stories?
Absolutely. There are many kinds of healing, and not all of them are about going back to exactly how things used to be. Healing is just another form of growth. So much media around the supernatural is about how terrible it is – vampirism is a curse, ghosts have unfinished business, monsters only do harmful things. Why? Not all humans are awful, not all dogs bite – so why should every ghost be stuck moping around for a hundred years?
What kind of books, music, or movies gave you inspiration for your book?
Where to start? One of my first loves as a child was the old black&white Addams Family and Munsters shows (I’m not that old, they were on TV a lot). They were strange, but they didn’t care because they loved each other and they knew that being strange was fun.
As an adult there has been so many influences, but I have keep going back to artists who can have fun with the unusual – directors like John Carpenter and Guillermo Del Toro whose love of their genres comes through in every frame; or writers like Terry Pratchett and Tad Williams who aren’t afraid to twist tropes into new forms.
For Strangest Day So Far there was a very eclectic soundtrack. If you’d like to get an idea of how the book feels in my head, check out ‘Black No. One’ by Type O Negative, ‘Ghost Story’ by Charming Disaster, and ‘The Logical Song’ by Supertramp.
Without giving too much away, where are the boys going to be headed next?
Like myself, Ronan grew up in the UK & Ireland, and although he’s travelled with the army, it can be hard to translate the sheer size of the United States into the sort of distances we’re used to on our little islands. Which is to say that I think he’s going to be underestimating how long they’ll be on the road for, or where they’ll end up along the way. Byron will make sure they stop for waffles regularly though. Perhaps at that diner that just appeared on the road up ahead. Was that always there?
Do you have any tips for other horror writers that are looking to get their own original works published?
Have fun with your stories. Experiment to find what you really love so that telling your stories can be a joy. Even if they’re terrifying stories. Share your stories with others so you can find your people, your audience who will love the specific stories you have to tell. There are a lot of routes to publishing, but there are even more ways to get your stories to readers. Having an audience behind you can open doors you never knew existed.
Final Girl Thoughts
A great big thank you to both Improbable Press and author G.V. Pearce for allowing me to enjoy such a fantastic book a little early. My only complaint, I have to wait for the next book to find out even more about these captivating and hilarious characters! Strangest Day So Far (An Eldritch Roads Novel) is available now for pre-order on the Improbable Press website and available everywhere starting January 31, 2021. Five out of five Cathulu. I can not wait to read the next one.(5 / 5)